Thursday 4 February 2016

38) “To quote Reverend Thomas Milner, “In the southern hemisphere, navigators to India have often fancied themselves east of the Cape when still west, and have been driven ashore on the African coast, which, according to their reckoning, lay behind them. This misfortune happened to a fine frigate, the Challenger, in 1845. How came Her Majesty’s Ship ‘Conqueror,’ to be lost? How have so many other noble vessels, perfectly sound, perfectly manned, perfectly navigated, been wrecked in calm weather, not only in dark night, or in a fog, but in broad daylight and sunshine - in the former case upon the coasts, in the latter, upon sunken rocks - from being ‘out of reckoning?’” The simple answer is that Earth is not a ball.”

First, even if most of this claim was true, the last sentence is a wild non sequitur. A ship was lost, so the best explanation is that almost all the physics we know is wrong? Well…. no. See point 36 above for a more rational explanation.

The whole thing seems very questionable, anyway. To quote: ``This misfortune happened to a fine frigate, the Challenger, in 1845.'' I have no idea who `Reverend Thomas Milner' is, and Wikipedia doesn't know. 

Eight ships of the Royal Navy of Britain have been called HMS Challenger. However, none was named thusly in 1845. The last one before it got wrecked in 1835, off Chile. The next one after was built in 1858. (From wikipedia and "Ships of the Royal Navy").

"How came Her Majesty’s Ship ‘Conqueror,’ to be lost?''. The only ship that could apply was the HMS Conqueror (1855), a 101-gun first rate which was launched in 1855 and wrecked in 1861. It was wrecked off Rum Cay, which is an island of the Bahamas. Also known as the Northern Hemisphere. It was due to a navigation error, apparently. [Wikipedia/HMS conqueror 1855)

In conclusion, it appears that the named events in this anecdote didn't exist. 

(Thanks to Daimonie again).

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