thinking outside the tank

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: St. Felix and the Marquesas Group

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Follow Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World at:

Slocum sails from Robinson Crusoe Island on 05May1896 and first heads north to reach the belt of trade winds that will push him west to the Marquesas. The Juan Fernandez group lies between 33 and 34°S while the Marquesas group is closer to 9°S. After sailing 450 nautical miles the Spray reaches the island of St. Felix where she finally finds the trade winds and begins a long leg of her voyage, taking 43 days in all from Juan Fernandez to Nukahiva in the Marquesas.

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An old sailing trick in the trade winds to reach an island in mid-ocean, is to sail to the latitude of the island and then sail along that parallel until the destination is reached. This approach was taken because, in the early days of exploration, it was easier to observe latitude than longitude. If you were in the right latitude you would reach your destination sooner or later and the effect of any error in your estimate of longitude would be reduced.

Slocum uses this technique to reach the Marquesas.

The section of Joshua Slocum’s journey concludes Chapter XI of Sailing Alone Around the World, and this post is a trailer for the adventure that I am retelling in Google Earth at:

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

You might also enjoy Cook’s first voyage round the world at:


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