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Brian Probetts (Site Admin)
17th July 2017, 02:29 PM
Once in a century!!

Amazing Feat of Navigation


The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of the mid-Pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia.
The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought the result to the master, Captain John Phillips.
The Warrimoo's position was LAT.0 degrees 31' N and LON.179 degrees30'W.

The date was 30 December 1899.
First Mate Payton broke in....."You know what this means.....we're only a few miles from the intersection of the
Equator and the International Date Line"
Captain Phillips was crafty enough to take full advantage of the opportunity for achieving this navigational feat of a lifetime.

He called his navigators to the bridge to check and double check the ship's position.
He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on his mark.
Then he adjusted the engine speed. The calm weather and clear night worked in his favor.
At midnight the SS Warrimoo lay on the Equator at exactly the point where it crosses the International Date Line.

The consequences of this bizarre position were several.

The bow of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere and the middle of summer.
The stern was in the Northern Hemisphere and in the middle of winter.
The date in the aft part of the ship was 31 December 1899.
Forward it was 1 January 1900. This ship was therefore not only in two different days, two different months,
two different years and two different seasons, but in two different centuries all at the same time.

23641

Chris Isaac
17th July 2017, 03:28 PM
And would he have said anything if they had failed.
In the middle of the night how did they verify the position?
You can't take sights at midnight or had they managed to discover sat nav as well?

Not that I am being cynical.

Jim Dixon
17th July 2017, 03:52 PM
Good story!

Richard Quartermaine
18th July 2017, 11:42 AM
Here is the village of Warrimoo in the Lower Blue Mountains, NSW and the aboriginal meaning 'Place of the Eagle'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrimoo,_New_South_Wales
Richard

Lewis McColl
18th July 2017, 07:29 PM
Great story but in those days doubtful,
How accurate is GPS?
It depends. GPS satellites broadcast their signals in space with a certain accuracy, but what you receive depends on additional factors, including satellite geometry, signal blockage, atmospheric conditions, and receiver design features/quality.
For example, GPS-enabled smartphones are typically accurate to within a 4.9*m (16*ft.) radius under open sky (view source at ION.org). However, their accuracy worsens near buildings, bridges, and trees.

Jim Dixon
19th July 2017, 11:58 AM
I doubt the veracity of post #1 which is further frustrated by post #5. I'm totally lost, pardon the pun!

David Pillinger
15th September 2017, 03:49 PM
Hello Brian,

I publish a small free community magazine here in Bellingham, WA just 40 miles south of Vancouver and would love to share this story and image with our readers. Is it possible to use this with permission and credit? I'd be able to post you a print copy and a pdf of the edition - I was hoping to use this for our December edition.

Thank you.

David Pillinger.

Ivan Cloherty
15th September 2017, 06:22 PM
Hello Brian,

I publish a small free community magazine here in Bellingham, WA just 40 miles south of Vancouver and would love to share this story and image with our readers. Is it possible to use this with permission and credit? I'd be able to post you a print copy and a pdf of the edition - I was hoping to use this for our December edition.

Thank you.

David Pillinger.

It's probably in the public domain Google/Wikepedia etc, but as others have said treat the story with a bit of poetic licence, it was after all 1899, magnetic compasses and sextants only, and a run calculated from the last star sights before the horizon disappears into the blend of sea and sky (about six hours prior) and three star sights will only give you a 'cocked hat' anything from 2 cables to half mile wide depending upon clarity of horizon, correction of chronometer and how diligent the sextant owner is with his sextant's upkeep, a good story though!

Des Taff Jenkins
16th September 2017, 01:34 AM
Hi All.
Come on fellows this is a story that has all the excitement of being at sea, it's probably not going to make headlines around the world, then again it might have, the men on the Warrimoo must have thought all their birthdays had come at once,they probably thought this is as good as it gets.
Cheers Des

happy daze john in oz
16th September 2017, 05:57 AM
There is no way any one can prove or disprove the story.
So let it be what it is a good story which may well be true, and for the men on board as true as could be.

Manfar Tuck
25th November 2017, 08:48 PM
Yes it was well pinpointed, Once I hearing told about a man who made his circumnavigation just aid by an alarm-clock, was said there wasn't even the second hand in the clock.

Ivan Cloherty
26th November 2017, 09:11 AM
Yes it was well pinpointed, Once I hearing told about a man who made his circumnavigation just aid by an alarm-clock, was said there wasn't even the second hand in the clock.

Well that is possible, wouldn't need a second hand, as he was sailing an approximation would be good enough. Once navigated across the Atlantic on time from a wristwatch when someone overwound the chronometer (that is difficult to do), why he wound it fully one will never know, as it was always wound at the same time everyday with a certain number of turns so that the same part of the spring is used thus avoiding different tensions if using another part of the spring making for a more constant spring output for the balance wheel.

eric fisher
26th November 2017, 08:51 PM
Name of Joshua Slocum wrote Sailing Alone Around The World. Built the schooner, Spray. See my Photos for the Picture. Used an old tin clock pictured in his book, written late 19th century I believe. Cheers, Eric

Des Taff Jenkins
27th November 2017, 03:14 AM
Hi Eric.
I read his book a few years ago; one of the best sea stories i have read, wasn't the Spray built from an Indian canoe.
Cheers Des

j.sabourn
27th November 2017, 03:28 AM
#13... knew at one time Ivan how to rate a chronometer by another but was only in theory. was never on a ship with 2 chronometers. At one time the shipowner was loth to put one on board so I was told by older seafarers and the master had to carry his own. Forget one trick of finding think it was North , if had a wrist watch was pointing the hour hand at the sun and halfway between the two hands was what you were looking for. That is not the correct answer, but was something like to that. Forgot a long time ago. JS

Ivan Cloherty
27th November 2017, 09:13 AM
#13... knew at one time Ivan how to rate a chronometer by another but was only in theory. was never on a ship with 2 chronometers. At one time the shipowner was loth to put one on board so I was told by older seafarers and the master had to carry his own. Forget one trick of finding think it was North , if had a wrist watch was pointing the hour hand at the sun and halfway between the two hands was what you were looking for. That is not the correct answer, but was something like to that. Forgot a long time ago. JS

Heard the same about the wrist watch John, but also forget the exact know how, also never sailed on a vessel with two chronometers, but do remember sticking my head right above it trying to avoid refraction whilst waiting for the time signal from the radio room to get an up to date error reading, which on most chronometers was pretty constant. I was also told by older Masters they had to carry their own chronometer, it was bad enough when we had to carry our own sextants, never did sail with a company that provided a sextant, I think most of us carried our own binoculars as well, the first purchase upon reaching Japan (well maybe the second!) as shipowners only provided those beer bottle binoculars. The third purchase by nearly everyone was the translucent tea/dinner set with the Geisha Girl's face in the bottom of the tea cups and bowls when you held them up to the light

But according to some on here we will have got our experience from Wiki

Captain Kong
27th November 2017, 09:19 AM
I read somewhere, that a US Submarine also did it on the turn of the century 2000, but again can you believe some of the info from them?

j.sabourn
27th November 2017, 09:51 AM
#17... think those beer bottle things were what they grandly called night glasses, or was it Day glasses, plus the old telescope which think was a BOT requirement. Was on a Norwegian Seismic ship in the 90s and she had proper infra red night glasses two sets on the bridge was like daylight looking through them. Would have been a peeping Toms most cherished possession. My sextant was a 12 pound vernier ex naval QM stores. Sold for 15 pounds as soon as they put one on the ship. The reason for putting on board was to miss paying excess luggage when flying.
Sight reduction tables which were a US contribution for air navigation brought out during the war and saved an hours work, working out 5 Stars, had to buy yourself. The original supply of all heavy weather gear etc. was to also cut back on overweight on aircraft journeys. They now say it was their contribution to safety. Cheers JS

Ivan Cloherty
27th November 2017, 10:36 AM
#19 another useful little book was 'Bairnsons Ex-Meridian Tables' whose examples of how to use are in five different languages and the dates of examples of how to use are dated 15th March 1888, why I still have it I don't know because I will never use it again, and no I didn't use it when it was first published