In the great Scilly disaster of 1707, several British naval ships were destroyed and more than 1400 men lost their lives. The reason... they did not know their exact location.
Location is determined by 2 co-ordinates: Longitude and Latitude. Latitude is measured by a series of lines parallel to the Earth's equator. Longitude runs vertically between the North and South poles.
300 Years ago, sailors only knew how to calculate Latitude. They did this by measuring the angle of the sun relative to the horizon and comparing it to their charts, charts which showed the angle of the sun at any point on earth relative to the date. Since the angle changed with the days of the year, one could determine with relative accuracy where they were, latitudinally speaking, on the earth. Basically they knew how far north or south they were depending where the sun was relative to the horizon.
The problem was they did not know how far east or west they were. While sailing, with no other points of reference sailors had no idea how far they had gone. One technique employed was called "Dead Reckoning". Sailors would though out a rope with knots tied at regular intervals. How many knots passed through their hands while an hour glass drained they would determine their speed in "knots". Using regular measurements of their speed they estimated how far they travelled and thus where they were East to West. How accurate was this? Well maybe that's why it was called "DEAD" reckoning.
In a previous post I talked about "The Stoke" ... What does it mean to feel stoked?
The Stoke is a natural high you get when you perform certain wind and water sports. While the stoke has typically been associated with Surfing I have seen a similar effect overcome sailors and kiteboarders. When you do these sports, when you are in harmony with the natural energies of wind and water, you begin to feel this euphoric high. Nothing else compares with it. All natural. Naturally pure. The Hawaiians call it the spirit of "Aloha". In Costa Rica it is called "Pura Vida". Surfers call it "being stoked". I call it being in harmony with the universe and feeding your soul.
Have you ever wondered about the history of sailing? Sailing dates back thousands, if not tens of thousands of years. We may never know how sailing was developed, but kiteboarding is a different story.
Kiteboarding can be traced back through the ages to the first times people used a kite as a means of propulsion. Sailors had experimented with ways of attaching kites to ships but there was always a fundamental problem, what happens when your kite hits the water? As a young lad I often sat back visualizing methods of relaunching a kite that hit the water. It seems I wasn't alone...