At sea , Maps

Change of course

The Furious Fifties

Following the instructions, Tasman's expedition headed South to the 50th latitude. In later days, the Southern Hemisphere would be notorious for its storms: there is no land mass to slow down the winds, so speeds of 80 to 100 kilometers per hour are very common.

The crew on board the Heemskerck and Zeehaen is suffering from the hailstorms and cold.  Pilot-major Frans Visscher hands in a written advice to Tasman that will eventually (two weeks later) lead to the discovery of new land.

Change of course

A Strong Wind (1874) by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky

From the Journal

Transcript of the original note to Tasman and the skippers by chief navigator FransJacobszVisscher, written on 7 November 1642. After he explains how he came to his conclusions, he gives the following advice: 

‘that one should stick to the 44th degree southern latitude until the 150th degree longitude be passed: then to go to 40th degree latitude and to stay there with an Eastern Course until we shall be in the longitude of 220 degrees: then to shape our course north so as to avail ourselves of the trade wind to reach the Solomons Islands and New Guinea by sailing from east to west. We cannot but think that if no land is encountered up to 150 degrees longitude we shall then be in an open sea again, unless we should meet with islands but this, time being the Teacher of all Experiences, will bring to light.’

Signed, Francoys Jacobs




 Photo accompanying an article on sailing the Southern Ocean, in  Yachting World

Photo accompanying an article on sailing the Southern Ocean, in Yachting World