A comment posted by one of my readers put forth an interesting suggestion (thank you Linda Zambanini), which I copy below:
I was just reading your excellent blog about Phoenicians in South America after searching for more info about the Paraibo stone. I was fascinated by the horned Halaháches creature which was painted with broad red and white stripes. It came to my mind that the Phoenician sails were composed of broad red and white stripes. (The stripes were vertical but it would be difficult to paint a person with broad red and white stripes). Could it be that they were emulating the sails that they saw on Phoenician ships? Just a thought. Not sure if their “horned fish” it this conjectured to have been based on had red and white stripes.
Striped sails, true or false?
So I wondered: do we know if Phoenician sails were striped red and white? So... I did a bit of reading and I did not manage to find anything mentioning red and white striped sails. But, I did find some other remarks about Phoenician sails:
"The sails were made of strips of woven flax or of papyrus, bound at the edges with strips of raw hide”
So perhaps "white" (is flax or papyrus white? or brown?) in strips with their edges of a reddish brown color (raw hide). So this could be taken for red and white stripes. But there is more:
The Holy Bible  mentions the Phoenician city of Tyre and her riches, and talks about;
“Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; 'blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee
It seems that the Egyptian linen, embroidered, would be too luxurious or maybe even too heavy to be used as a sail, so some Bible translations (i.e. Vulgate) interpret this not as sails but instead, as flags.
However this description seems to refer to the luxury boats of the nobles of Tyre and not the usual run of the mill commercial ships. But, if the snobs used embroidered sails, could the traders have used sails with red and white stripes?
The reference to "blue and purple" from the isles of Elisha may sound mysterious, but actually Elisha was one of the sons of Javan (which means Greece) so Elisha is a part of Greece. And, the purple from Laconia (where Sparta used to be) was a very fine dye, nearly as good as the Phoenician dye but cheaper and thus used to cover the awnings of their ships.
The biblical text is:
So, maybe they had colorful sails, blue, purple or flax and raw hide. But I have not found any reference to red and white sails (though, if you google images of "phoenician sails" the boats depicted have red and white sails!
Why? I will keep on reading.
 Astley John Hilary, (1937). Communication has been established Author Goodwin Publisher Methuen, pp. 135.
 Ezequiel XVII : 7. The Bible.
Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall ©