A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2018 Dec 20, 10:38 -0800
Yesterday, Robin Stuart wrote:
"I hear it stated from time to time that Worsley was just doing Parallel Sailing. This is complete and total BS and let it never be uttered again! "
Today, Ed Popko wrote:
"had to hit the exact latitude of South Georgia Island for their landfall"
Old myths die hard. Even though other sources have published basic charts showing that the Caird took a northeasterly course to South Georgia, there has been a persistent myth that they got there by "hitting the exact latitude" or some other variant of latitude sailing. The analysis in the new paper demonstrates this again, as Robin notes. They did not aim to hit the "exact latitude". They did not employ "latitude sailing". Rather they were targeting a specific point. Both the latitude and the longitude were the target. They were sailing to a point on the chart, just as any modern navigator would do, and just as any "western" navigator had done for the better part of a century. That notion of "running down the latitude" is a key element in "cartoon histories" of navigation --the sort of thing found in the introductory chapters of navigation manuals-- but it was far less important in real history than they would have you believe.