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Article: Amazing Feat of Navigation

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    Amazing Feat of Navigation

    20 Comments by Brian Probetts (Site Admin) Published on 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.


    SS Warrimoo.jpg
    Brian Probetts (site admin)
    R760142

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    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.

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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    Good story!

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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    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
    Last edited by Richard Quartermaine; 18th July 2017 at 11:43 AM.
    Our Ship was our Home
    Our Shipmates our Family

  7. #5
    Lewis McColl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    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.

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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    I doubt the veracity of post #1 which is further frustrated by post #5. I'm totally lost, pardon the pun!

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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    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.

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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    Quote Originally Posted by David Pillinger View Post
    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!

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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    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

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    Default Re: Amazing Feat of Navigation

    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.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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