Since time immemorial, men have sailed the waters ways, rivers or the sea. For centuries the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Phoenicians used the arm strength to move their boats before using the wind. The Phoenicians were using silk cushions in order not only to use arms only but combining is with legs.
But even if the ancients considered an honor to row their boats and triremes, it quickly became a galley slave task. Sails and sailing use put an end to that slavery..
From half of the 19th century, clubs are started in Belgium too and regattas organized like the one on the canal at Terdonk and other cities.