Bound for South Australia 1836Blowing in the Wind Week 17 Sunday before a hard gale. Edward Snell, 1849
Overview Between February and July 1836 nine ships left Britain bound for the newly created province of South Australia. On-board the ships were passengers who over many long months braved the perils of the ocean, including some of the most treacherous seas in the world to begin a new life on the other side of the world. This resource uses the stories from these nine ships as recorded by the passengers and crew in their personal journals.
Contents • Introduction • Journal entries • Inquiry Questions • Glossary of terms
Introduction Our three ships are making steady progress this week and all three captains’ report favourable wind conditions. We will take a closer look at the role the wind plays in our journeys and how it is measured, described and harnessed to keep our ships sailing in the right direction.
Journal entries Sunday 12 June 1836 Captain Robert Morgan, on board the Duke of York wrote: This 24 hours the wind vearing from North towest and squallyto a close reeft top sail breese with heavy rain and thunder and lightningwe shipedquantitys of water on deck the hatchesperfectly batned down the ship makeingverrylittle water No ObservationIn the morning read a portion of scripturedureing the day employdsecureing things about the decks our cabin on deck floating withwater our beds and most of our wareing apparelwet…
Wednesday 15 June 1836 Boyle Travers Finniss, on board the Cygnetwrote: 15th. Saw Cape Frio bearing N.W. by distant 14 miles Wind from the S.W. hazy.Difference of Long. between Rio and Lat. place where we tacked360 miles, nautical.
Wednesday 15 June 1836 Captain Robert Morgan, on board the Duke of York wrote: This 24 hours moderate breeses and cloudy but plesentweather all possable sail set below and aloftpeople employd variously LattdObsd36.41 SouthIn the morning blessed God for a quiet night withall other mercyes attending it to day beds blankets andwareingapperil have bingdryed …
Saturday 18 June 1836 John Pirie journal writer, on board the John Pirie wrote: There has been a clever Breeze from the N,Westwardsince Thursday, during all which time we have nevergone less than from 8, to 9, Knots an Hour , but this Evengthe Wind has increased to a strong Gale, putting us undersnug Canvas , _________
Saturday 18 June 1836 Captain Robert Morgan, on board the Duke of York wrote: Most part of this 24 hours strong winds from thesouth PM duble reeft the top sails and took in themain sail found that the water had got into oneof our tanks of bread and spoiled abot 50 poundno Observation….
Inquiry Questions • Find evidence in this week’s journal entries of the important role the wind plays in the voyages? • How is language used to describe and measure the wind? • How do the captains of all three ships measure the wind direction and speed and use this information to sail their ships?
Glossary of Terms clever Breeze • A gentle wind, which can be described fancifully as ‘clever’, ‘smart’, ‘fine’ or ‘fresh’. dublereeft • Where there is more than one line of reef points, a sail is double reefed when the second area of sail is gathered in. Knots an Hour • The speed of ship or wind in nautical miles per hour. A float is dropped overboard and the speed is indicated by the rate at which the ship sails away from it. Spacing of knots in the log-line connected to the float is in same proportion to a mile as the half-minute sandglass used is to an hour, thus the number knots counted off in the time is the speed in knots. Lat • Latitude is the distance of a point north or south of the equator as measured in degrees. The poles are at 90 degrees north and south. Long. • Longitude is the distance, measured in degrees, of the meridian on which a point lies to the meridian of Greenwich. On the other side of the earth to Greenwich is a point with a longitude of both 180 degrees east and 180 degrees west. Return to Journal Entries
nautical • Miles at sea are nautical miles, equal to 1.15 statute miles or 1.85 kilometres. The nautical mile is the length of a minute of latitude, or of longitude at the equator where the earth rotates at the rate of one nautical mile per minute of time. Reeft • Seafarers reduce sails in strong winds so that ships can move more safely and comfortably. Sails are made with rows of small ropes attached to them and these are tied around spars to reduce the amount of sail exposed to the wind. The amount of sail taken in by securing one set of ropes is called a reef. The action of reducing sails is called reefing and the knot that is used to tie the ropes is called a reef knot. In light winds all the reefs are taken out and the full size of the sail is exposed to draw full power from the wind. snug Canvas • Under suitably reduced sail in preparation for expected conditions, such as meeting a gale. Squally • A squall is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed. tacked • Ships cannot sail directly into the wind but they can progress towards wind direction by sailing obliquely to it. To tack is to present the other side of the ship to the wind by sailing through it, taking advantage of forward momentum as well as an adjustment of sails. Return to Journal Entries