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Old 12-05-2010, 06:53   #1
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Circumnavigation: Whole Earth

Hi,

I've recently been following these circumnavigation attempts and am still not clear on what the current problem is. I've read all available definitions of circumnavigations and still not clear about it all. Probably because I know nothing about sailing vessels.

My understanding so far is that, the circumference of the earth is at the equator, which is the fattest and widest part of the earth. The distance around here, the 'whole earth' is 21,600 nautical miles. Above or below the equator is less distance around than that. Like an onion. If you cut through an onion off dead center, that ring will be a smaller ring than than the one cut dead center.

Now obviously one cannot sail around the equator owing to land masses. So you sail below where there is none. The Southern Ocean. This is like the smaller ring of the onion which is much less distance around than the center or middle widest ring (the equator). The idea then is to add more miles to make up the difference, thus sail up and past the equator 'x' distance and back down again, so that your mileage adds up to a total of 21,600 nautical miles. The antipodal thing is where I'm stuck. Is this North South 'make up distance' equal to the distances of the land masses that you cannot sail across? From what I have read it's not fixed. Seems dependent on where you have started from?

My main puzzlement is are these onion rings. Is the whole issue about sailing around the whole earth compared to sailing around less than the whole earth? Come to think of it what about running or car racing tracks, if truly round wouldn't the person with the inside track be running or driving less distance than the person on the outside track, or is that why they are all oval, with straight-aways to compensate and allow the person to catch up?

If circumnavigating the whole earth is as simple as the onion rings, why would people not do that knowing it.

Sorry it's a bit late for me and I'm struggling (obviously).
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:11   #2
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Chuck Norris would sail over the land masses and not make wimpy excuses.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:20   #3
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Since it is not possible to sail around the equator, then record keeping organizations created a definition of sailing around the world that includes crossing the equator. The definition is somewhat artificial but it does create a structure that gives those that want to attempt the voyage "for the record" a set of rules to follow.

Yes, sailing around the Southern Ocean might be called sailing around the world, but more correctly it would be only sailing around Antarctica or making a circle around the Earth's axis of rotation.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:22   #4
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The problem may be that you're thinking of "THE" equator rather than an equator. The concept of rounding an antipodal point, even a virtual antipodal point, means that you would essentially have sailed the equivalent of an equatorial voyage. That virtual equator you would have sailed, however, does not bisect the geographic poles of the planet.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:16   #5
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Originally Posted by ZAR View Post
Hi,

I've recently been following these circumnavigation attempts and am still not clear on what the current problem is. I've read all available definitions of circumnavigations and still not clear about it all.
Its a bit like Ice Skating at the Olympics: You can show up in a Tu-tu and jump around a bit but the Olympic committee have made rules so your routine has to have a certain number of piroettes or something like that, oh, and a minimum number of times the girls have to do the splits on ice.

So just think of it that way: You may want a Gold Medal but you gotta play by someone elses rules to get one. Unless you make the medal yourself

Those gold medals they give away for gymnastic flag waving has gotta be the way to go. Anyone can wave a flag...




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Old 12-05-2010, 12:04   #6
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I've read all available definitions of circumnavigations and still not clear about it all. Probably because I know nothing about sailing vessels.
No it's not because you know nothing of sailing vessels. You have simply identified one of the 3 problems with sailing around the world in a manner which satisfies some set of rules:

1. Practically no one is satisfied with the idea that sailing a tight loop around Antarctica should qualify as sailing around the world. Just about everyone thinks you should have to do something more.

2. There are competing and conflicting "definitions" of what that "something more" should be.

3. Several notable solo circumnavigations were made before anyone seriously undertook to make any rules.

The WSSRC is primarily a racing rules organization, but about 20 years ago it decided to define RTW for all purposes. Including solo, nonstop, unassisted circumnavigations in ordinary boats where the sailors are not racing and pretty much don't care whether they do it faster or slower than someone who went before them. Except for racing purposes, defining sailing RTW nearly 500 years after it was first accomplished seems kind of silly.

Antipodes are simply the end points of an earth diameter. Per Sir Francis Chichester circa 1965, your course should cross at least one set of them. However, this simple idea is often morphed from "your course" into a requirement that one antipode be a waypoint that can be referenced to a nearby island or other land mass. All such rules are arbitrary and make little sense outside the context of racing.

A solo, nonstop, unassisted circumnavigation in a non-racing boat will generally involve "rounding" of Capes Horn, Good Hope, and Leeuwin. This is custom and tradition derived from the great London Sunday Times race of 1968. Custom and tradition are often easier to justify than the arbitrary pronouncements of self appointed rule makers.
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:20   #7
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"rounding" of Capes Horn, Good Hope, and Leeuwin. This is custom and tradition derived from the great London Sunday Times race of 1968.
The point on leaving (or includinng) the UK and/or Europe and doing the 3 capes is, of course, the great trade routes of the sailiing ships. To pop down to Australia from old Blighty to pick up the odd bag of wool involves the 3 capes and the spin as close to the south pole as possable cuts the distance... mind you some have noted it gets chilly down there so the seamen without shoes might not like Capn Queeg too much if they start seeing penguines
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:32   #8
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Further to slomo's excellent post, back in the days when these "Round-the-World Races" began gaining notoriety, and copycat versions began springing up, they always (or almost, anyway) started and ended in southern England, or France. Thus, the competitors, who knew full-well that the fastest way to cross all lines of latitude was to race down to the Southern Ocean, and bash their way 'round Antarctica, still had the necessity of departing from about 50* N., sailing well-south of 50* S. and circling Antarctica, then sailing back to 50* N to get back to where they started.

The closer a racer, or crew of racers, dared to venture to Antarctica, the shorter the distance required to circle that continent, but the greater the danger of encountering ice. It was the ultimate trade-off: You could gain an advantage by sailing closer to Antarctica, but you could die doing it.

Now that amateur sailors are trying to get their names in the record books, they too must cope with the realities of the distribution of the land masses on this planet. But the fact remains that a loop around Antarctica will always be the quickest "circumnavigation" possible. This gives sailors from the southern hemisphere a decided advantage.

By throwing in a leisurely shake-down cruise to the equator, then heading south again, their "circumnavigation" is less difficult in terms of meeting all the accepted definitions of what exactly that is. Jesse Martin, at least, voluntarily cleared the antipodal hurdle, so there is no doubt that his circunavigation was at least one earth-circumference.

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Old 12-05-2010, 12:38   #9
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Chuck Norris would sail over the land masses and not make wimpy excuses.
HAHAHAHahhhaha! You win the internet today.
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:40   #10
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The point on leaving (or includinng) the UK and/or Europe and doing the 3 capes is, of course, the great trade routes of the sailiing ships.
This was indeed the inspiration for the 1968 race even though the race was solo, nonstop, and unassisted. The race also contemplated that you would "round" the Capes in some conventional sense rather than simply sail south of them. Except for the substitution of crossing the equator x 2 instead of start/finish in England, the 1968 race rules remain the de facto standard for solo, nonstop, unassisted cricumnavigators using conventional non-racing boats.

In contrast the Jules Verne Trophy requires that you start/finish at a line between France and England, but you may sail as far south as you like to loop around Antartica (see TaoJones post above). The Jules Verne record for a solo multimillion dollar purpose built boat is an astonishing 57 days. For a crewed racer it is only 48 days - set just this year.
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