Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Need for Deep Hulls in Ocean Sailing Part III

Continuing from the last two posts where both Nephi’s ship and the ships of 600 B.C. was introduced. Following is further information on the three directional choices Lehi had away from Bountiful to the land of Promise, and the reason we know which he chose and the path of Nephi’s ship to the Land of Promise. The second direction Lehi could have chosen was:
2) Southeast toward Australia. This is not a plausible route since it crosses two opposite currents and wind systems of the Indian Ocean gyre. It also crosses through the storm center low where currents tend to swing around in a circular fashion, making crossing difficult if not impossible for a weather driven vessel. The center of this area is also known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which originates roughly every 30 to 90 days and is considered the world’s greatest source of atmospheric variability, and drives tropical weather and climate variations outward from the center, with cyclones predominant in this central area.
Top: Tropical Storms continually hit this area off western Australia; Bottom: Dust clouds many miles high blow out from western Australia over the Indian Ocean, making this course extremely dangerous and difficult to navigate
3) South toward the Indian Ocean. This is the direction the winds and currents move off the southern Arabian peninsula—south into the Indian Ocean, curving toward the southeast along the western curve of the Indian Ocean gyre. This route would take a sailing vessel southward, past the western edge of the central weather front mentioned above, and with the emphasis of the gyre, swing the vessel toward the southeast and into the Southern Ocean, where the vessel would pick up the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, a strong ocean current that flows clockwise from west to east around Antarctica, and is the dominant circulation feature of the Southern Ocean.
This current has been known to mariners for centuries and called by them the West Wind Drift. The current is driven by the westerly winds, known as the Prevailing Westerlies, and speeds up any voyages from west to east, while at the same time making sailing extremely difficult from east to west. This was the Clipper route, which took those early sailing vessels around three continental capes, and allowed those clippers to set speed records in the late 1800s.
The Clipper ships were originally built to ply the tea trade and passenger service to Java beginning in the 1843, and ended in 1869 with the opening of the Suez Canal
The westerly winds, called the Prevailing Westerlies, imparts a momentum to the West Wind Drift that is not constrained by continents, but flows in a circular path completely around the globe in this Southern Ocean. Once in the current, a ship moves swiftly in an easterly direction south of New Zealand, across the Pacific and through the narrowing Drake Passage south of South America. However, the northern portion of this current is turned northward by the continental land mass and up the western coast of South America. Nor is this northern part of the Southern Ocean current colder than further north as one would suppose. The current is the same temperature as the Pacific Ocean from December through mid-May at Balboa, Oceanside, San Clemente, etc., in Southern California; and warmer year round than the Oregon coast, Washington coast, and from Morro Bay northerward in California.
All that is needed is a strong vessel, for the current is strong and forceful, with winds up to 25 miles per hour driving the sea, though they do not slam into the ship’s hull like movement across waves and currents, and pushes the vessel forward, with a strong wind behind that drives a sailing vessel more swiftly than any other current on the planet—a current that brings the waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans together and carries up to 150 times the volume of water flowing in all of the world's rivers. It is the only current that flows completely around the globe, is considered the mightiest current in the ocean, and the distance around the planet at the Southern Ocean is almost half the distance around at the equator. Thus, any vessel traveling this route across the Pacific would do so in about half the time.
Knowing this simplest route from the Arabian coast to the Western Hemisphere, the Lord had Nephi build a ship that would withstand the speed of this passage, a ship stronger than those of his day, with a deep-V blue water design that would be unknown for another 2,000 years.
It is always interesting to find Mesoamerican and other Theorists claiming Lehi sailed due east, through the thousands of islands of Indonesia, across the Pacific and hundreds of more islands, all within a tropical paradisiacal setting, stopping along the way to replenish their supplies without Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael causing any problems, though they were certainly of an ilk to do so. And not to mention the fact that all the ocean currents are against this direction of travel all across the Arabian Sea, through Indonesia, and all across the Pacific.
Driven forth before the wind means that the winds fills the sails from behind and drives the ship forward
Personally, I have always thought when Nephi said they were “driven forth before the wind,” that he meant it. And for a sailing ship to be driven forth before the wind, it means, without question, that the wind was behind them, filling their sails, and pushing them forward through the water--a fact that substantiates the course of his ship in the West Wind Drift being driven forth by the Prevailing Westerlies. This "driven forth before the wind" would not be possible eastward through Indonesia and across the Pacific.

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