Norway Day 3: Flat Earthers392 views | June 19th, 2019
Our Norway sailing adventurers are currently less than 20 hours from making landfall in Stavanger with an ETA of 0930 (BST). They’ve been at sea for a few days now and, without the relentless distractions of technology, are starting to take in their surroundings and ponder deeply upon them – as you’ll see below in this profound blog by Steve.
Flat Earth Denial
Why did our ancestors insist for thousands of years that the Earth is flat?
We’re in the middle of the North Sea, the water is flat-calm and there is no wind. The engine on Challenger 4 is running to keep us moving, burning diesel that was refined from crude oil that was perhaps pumped from beneath the sea-bed here by one of the oil platforms we’ve passed. Their flares burn bright in the night like huge campfires lighting the clouds above.
Over a hundred miles from shore we could be almost anywhere. The horizon forms a perfect circle around a featureless landscape with the boat at its centre. If the Earth was flat, passing ships would recede slowly into the distance – but they don’t. Instead, they disappear beneath the horizon, clearly indicating a curved surface.
Above us the sun is a perfect disc, arcing through the sky to be followed by the perfectly round, full moon. At night the whole universe circles around us. Some simple geometric thinking is all that’s needed to see that the earth is clearly a sphere, so why did our forebears so dogmatically believe the earth was flat for so long? Once you’re at sea the evidence is plainly visible.
This is a barren landscape, but it’s also a wilderness. We’ve seen whales; and a pod of dolphins. Seals have popped-up their heads like meerkats to see what we’re doing. And a tar-soaked pigeon has landed, exhausted on deck.
Some plastic rubbish drifts slowly past the boat and I wonder what will future generations think of us? What are we failing to see, stubborn in misguided belief when the evidence is staring us in the face?
Challenger4 continues its journey steaming North at a steady 6kts, to date we have covered over 500NM in our first leg toward Stavanger and find ourselves in Danish Waters, around 100NMWest of Jutland.
Although the sunshine, clear skies and flat seas over the last couple of days have been nice, it has meant we have had to motorsail to maintain progress and I think we are all keen to start sailing again now.
Overnight the skies have closed in with a thick layer of low cloud and the warm sunshine has been replaced with a distinct chill and intermittent drizzle, which generally signifies an approaching weather front and hopefully some fresh winds to allow us to sail onward to Norway.
Challenger 4 OUT
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Posted by: First Class Sailing