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    Re: the Shovell Disaster
    From: Ted Gerrard
    Date: 2007 Nov 12, 12:46 -0000

    Regarding my note 3740 relating to the Shovell disaster Nicolas wrote

    _Where did that number of "7 backstaff noon sights" originate from? It is

    not based on the article in the UK Times, neither did it come from May's

    work 'The Last Voyage of Sir Clowdisley Shovel'._

    To be honest I'm not sure of the question Nicholas poses. Is he asking whether the _7 observed latitudes_ reported by May (fig 3, p 330 - The Last Voyage of Sir Cloudisley Shovell) and illustrated on page 149 of my own recent book, and which were extracted from surviving log books, were really noon sights taken with a back-staff (Davis Quadrant)?

    Or is he asking if the sights may have been taken at some other time, or by some other sort of instrument or even not taken at all, but merely written into the 7 log books as _observations_ when they were merely DR estimates? Which might indeed be the case and would explain why all 7 were biased entirely to the south of the fleets true position.

    Unfortunately for nigh on 2000 poor souls, none of the fleet navigators had access to a Newtonian twin-mirrored octant, an instrument Shovell and the Admiralty were familiar with.

    Ted Gerrard

    www.samosbooks.org


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