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The Spanish Cruiser Reina Cristina Under Canvas

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The image below is of the REINA CRISTINA showing her canvas spread. The canvas was used to help shade the ship from the sun, since the vessels heated up while sitting in the sun, making portions of the areas below decks almost uninhabitable. This technique would, at least, create some areas of shade on the deck. Canvas sails could also help stabilize the vessel under certain storm conditions and were carried even though the warships of the period were generally steam-powered.

Spanish Cruiser Reina Cristina with sails 
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