Glorious Shipping and Trade Winds (Defined)

Day 161/39

Noon Position: 02 22S 153 08W

Course/Speed: NNE6-7

Wind: SE14-18

Bar: 1011, falling

Sea: E6

Sky: Cum  20%

Cabin Temperature: 89

Water Temperature: 84

Sail: All plain sail, reaching

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 148

Miles this leg: 4,795

Avg. Miles this leg: 123

Miles since departure: 21,900

Wind has veered into the SE and lightened up a bit. Finally Aeolus’ idea of a practical joke aligns with mine. This is grand. Full sail; wind abeam; speeds consistently over 7 knots, and I can move about the deck, even to the mast, without getting a face and chest full of water. I get the joke. It’s really, really funny. Man, you can tell me this joke every morning for a thousand years.

A day of shipping. The GLORIOUS SAKURA made the alarms go off at ten miles just a touch after sunup. She must have been glorious at heart, because what became visible at five miles was a plain, old cargo ship, bound for “CN NTG.” Not sure where that is, but given her course (W), speed (13 knots) and ETA (June 16), it could be anywhere in the neighborhood of the Philippines.

Then this afternoon, the BBC MARMARA, bound Papeete. She never came over the horizon.

Though I’m pleased to get these confirmations that my AIS system is functioning properly, I am surprised to find shipping here. Seems to me we’re between middle of nowhere and nowhere still.

Where did these ships originate? Or, more properly, what great circle route puts them on an intercept with Mo?

Why are the steady breezes either side of the Doldrums called Trade Winds? My assumption: in the age of sail, such winds made for fast passages and we’re thusly good for trade.

But that definition has never been satisfying. Besides lacking corroboration, it has implied that the merchants who owned the ships named the regions, for certainly no sailor would apply such a flat, prosaic name to an area of such joyous sailing when the next region to the south he called the Horse Latitudes, and the one to the north, The Doldrums.

Here’s the scoop. “The name originated in the mid 17th century and is from the phrase ‘blow trade,’ which is to blow steadily in the same direction. Because of the importance of these winds to navigation, 18th-century etymologists were led erroneously to connect the word trade with commerce.”

“Blow Trade.” That sounds more like a sailor talk.

Source: The Dictionary (of all things).

Washed head and beard today. Finally calm enough. What a luxury, a clean head.

One Comment on “Glorious Shipping and Trade Winds (Defined)

  1. Courtesy of Google: the Glorious Sukura sails under the Panama flag. It’s a wood chip carrier designed to transport wood chips for paper. Its current route is Chile to China.

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