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    Bass Strait, avoidance of
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2003 May 26, 13:20 +1000

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "George Huxtable"
    > Remember, the islands of New Zealand are slap in the way of that passage
    > ...passing either side of
    > Tasmania to aim for the Horn....etc
    
    Once through Bass Strait ships had a thousand miles to negotiate the
    potential problems of NZ in the way and, as Joseph Conrad reminds us, that
    is a respectable distance.
    
    >
    > Stretching a string on the globe..shows there's very little difference in
    distance travelled,
    > between passing North of Tasmania through Bass Strait, and passing South,
    > off Tasmania's Southern capes, ..etc
    
    The point is not the relative distances but the different mindset of the old
    dudes due to not expecting to know with any precision their position. Both
    routes have their advantages and disadvantages. To my mind that long dash
    to the south while being pushed ever closer to the rocky western coast of
    Tasmania would be a kind of slow nightmare, as it could take a week or more.
    Which would be worse, a typical roaring westerly or a rarer calm spell,
    drifting ever
    closer due to the current, but more slowly towards that lee shore? But its
    easier for me to prefer Bass Strait since I expect, one way and another,
    to always have a very good idea where I am. And a reliable motor.
    In the good'ole'days ships piled up regularly in both places, though
    probably
    more so in Bass Strait.
    King Island (in Bass Strait) was a notorious collector of ships. Now it is
    famous for its dairy products: fine cream and cheeses. The legend goes that
    the shipwrecks contributed the grains inside mattresses stuffed with straw
    from far-off places from which grew the rich grasses that now feed these
    cows.
    
    Not sorry to be hardly diverging at all from the original thread.
    
    Bibliography - such as it is ..
    
    This detour to avoid Bass Strait may have been mentioned, among others, by
    Francis Chichester in his book 'Along the Clipper Way' and by Eric Newby who
    sailed on one of the last of the sailing grain ships in the late 1930s  and
    wrote about that trip in his book with a title something like 'The Last
    Grain Race'.
    
    The chap who served a late apprenticeship under sail, in a variety of
    sailing trading boats, and who went on to become a sailing ship's master
    himself was Alan Villiers, title of his book forgotten. One of these boats
    was the James Craig, which has been splendidly restored and now sails,
    again, out of Sydney.
    
    Excuse me for being vague; I'm happy to read books but avoid collecting them
    (possessions are a burden).
    
    
    

       
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