Ancient Sumerians, also known as Mesopotamians, constructed their sailboats from wood and used cloth sails. The design of the Sumerian sailboat was basic and featured sails that could not be manipulated and a wooden hull created from roughly shaped planks. The static, square-shaped sails of the Sumerian sailboat limited the boat's usability, as effective travel was highly dependent on favorable winds.
The Sumerian sailboat was used for fishing and water transportation. The sailboat itself was a refinement over earlier boat designs, which lacked control and navigation. The invention of the sailboat helped the Sumerian civilization flourish through the creation of water trade routes as well as provided a method for fishing. Early Sumerian fishing involved using the sailboat to travel downstream before casting a net and waiting for fish to get caught.
The same basic principles of sailboat design used by the Sumerians remain in use as of 2014, with sailboats still constructed of wooden planks and sails, even though many boats in 2014 no longer use sails. Aside from the sailboat, the Sumerian civilization also invented many other objects and processes that provided great advances to the ancient world, including wheels, different glass-making techniques, textile weaving and the cuneiform.