Throughout history sailing has been instrumental in the development of civilization, affording humanity greater mobility than travel over land, whether for trade, transport or warfare, and the capacity for fishing. Sailing has contributed to many great explorations in the world. In 1889, Knight sailed to the island of Trindade off the coast of Brazil in a 64-foot cutter named the Alerte. He was in search of treasure. In The Classic Guide to Sailing, E. F. Knight, the soldier, journalist and war correspondent, relates some of his experiences and lays down the basic principles of sailing and boatcraft for the budding sailor.