A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Position-Finding
From: Rommel John Miller
Date: 2015 Oct 20, 18:16 -0700
I never got this in my inbox, and I have searched for it,
From: Sean C
Date: 2015 Oct 20, 00:25 -0700
Thanks for posting this. As I mentioned in a previous message, I live only a stone's throw from Lake Maury in Newport News, Virginia. I became mildly interested in the life of Commander Maury after researching the naming of the lake. As to why he got the credit as opposed to Spooner...I can only speculate that people were more likely to attribute the discovery to someone whose name and achievements were already well known, as opposed to a "quiet, unpretending" Nantucketer.
But thank you Sean!
Being an old sailor of US Navy enlistment and steel ships (wooden men and iron ships times) I know all too well how the well-known and best liked and appreciated can get more recognition than an underdog.
The Maury / Spooner debate broches that comparison because the pictures of Commodore Perry you see on the internet and NOTHING of poor Bill Spooner remind me that life at best is back stabbing and undermining.
Skeptical and cynical way of seeing he world, but for the most part it really is all about the amounts of money you have more than anything else.
Reading the article reminds me too that a good man can’t be put down for too long without his becoming riled and acting up. The time of Maury and Spooner was more restrained and refined and well men other than lunatics or madmen only acted out. The Victorian and Edwardian ideal of the man was that he was authority and ruled and king of his own private castle.
Hog wash to the downhome practical minded New Englanders like Bill Spooner and my favorite good old Joshua Slocum and his Spray.
I am rereading “Voyage for Madmen” by Peter Nichols and I am taken with each of the stories told, and how much like they were like Slocum and yet so far beyond him it is uncanny to think of anyone sailing nonstop just for a rest as Chichester had done.
Slocum had limited and old technology and knowledge when he liberated the rotting hull of Spray from the barn and farm. He used what was a nice mantle clock of his day for a chronometer and if he had anything like a sextant no one really knows.
But the men who tried the Southern passage in the globe’s race in 1969 were simply mad all of them, because only a few had any real sailing experience. Look at Crowhurst he was just coming off the hoped for success of his Navicator and this really is one! An RDF of his own design!
Funny how Garmin and Tom Tom the GPS people produced their own units of small personal GPS called Navicator too. $$$$$
Weird how people just dream up somewhat decent ideas only to have someone bigger come along who is more powerful and influential, and Maury was a Mr. showmanship, and to just take an idea and turn it into the mousetrap of the millennia.
Crowhurst was the ultimate madman, only to be foiled some years later by Garmin the biggest and most recognizable name in personal GPS today.
And I think the power of the GPS Lobby had more to do with the USNA abandoning Celestial Navigation as well.
Maury had the backing of the US NAVY behind him too. Spooner had maybe a bunch of New Englander Fishermen and the people he was traveling with.
Maury was also a football star when he was an Academy Midshipman. So he had power, poise, experience, prestige, he was a Naval Officer at a time when being one really SAID something.
In the end power and prestige win. And for those of us like Spooner we can slow burn and stew till the day we die and it will never change.
Anyone want challenge my idea that life ain’t fair? It’s what we do with the broken eggs and spilt milk that makes a difference.
I like crying in my beer and maybe Spooner did too, but I just hope he didn’t drink himself to death like so many do when they realize life and hope has passed them by.
Thanks and take care.
Rommel John Miller
8679 Island Pointe Drive
Hebron, MD 21830-1093
410-219-2690 (Land and Home)