Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sorenson’s Impossible Route – Part II

Continuing from the last post regarding the route John L. Sorenson feels Lehi took across the Pacific, the capability necessary for an endeavor as he states, would have made such a trip impossible. A stated in the last post, both the capability of men, ships, and seamanship simply lacked such capability until into the 17th century. This is because Sorenson takes Lehi about 15,000 miles continuing against the winds and currents of the seas.

Even in the 16th century, Saavedra (Alvaro de Saavedra Ceron) could not sail from the Philippines to Central America after trying for three years. He was sent as the captain of three ships to the Philippines from Mexico by order of Hernan Cortes on 28 May 1527. As late as 1531, he was unable to broach the winds and currents to retrace his steps eastward back across the Pacific. After three years of trying and dying in the effort, one of the other captains took the ship westward around the globe.

It is simply not possible to give Nephi and his cantankerous brothers a sailing ability that seaman over two thousand years later did not possess. Nor is it possible to provide sailing routes into winds and currents that limited trade across Europe, Asia and the East for more than a thousand years. Not even the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Portuguese and Spanish—experienced seaman all, could accomplish such sailing achievements.

Nor the Europeans, who were limited to coastal cabotge (trade or navigation in coastal waters), using the barge-barca (fishing boat) or the balinger-barinel (shallow bottomed oar-driven vessel), until the 15th century. These boats were fragile, with only one mast with a fixed square sail that could not overcome the navigational difficulties of Southward oceanic exploration, as the strong winds shoals and strong ocean currents easily overwhelmed their abilities. Thus, trade for many centuries were inland routes and coastal voyages.

Thus, the economically important and famous Silk Road (red lines) and the Trade Routes (blue lines) were the way merchandise and products, especially spices and silk goods, were moved across the eastern world. The above map shows these routes as late as 1453 A.D.

Not until the Caravel ship design was developed based on existing fishing boats under the sponsorship of Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal in the mid-15th century, was sailing away from coastal waters and into deep water feasible. These caravels were agile and easier to navigate, with a tonnage of 50 to 160 tons and 1 to 3 masts, with lateen triangular sails allowing beating—a zig-zag course close to the wind. And after the deep ocean square sails were added, it was very fast, and with its economy, speed, agility, and power, made it esteemed as the best sailing vessel of its time. However, there was a limited capacity for cargo and crew, and though very successful sailing around Africa and into the Indian Ocean for the spice trade, were simply not deep ocean vessels. Eventually, the caravel was replaced by the larger Nau, a more profitable ship for trading.

All of this is important to understand because when we start reading where Lehi went in the ship Nephi built, we need to know how practical such a suggestion is. In the case of all Mesoamerican and Great Lakes theorists, their glib remarks about Lehi moving across the ocean violate the very nature of ships “driven before the wind” in the B.C. era and more than a thousand years into the A.D. period.

No comments:

Post a Comment