Captain James Whitmore preferred to take the old admiralty route from Gravesend to Auckland. He sailed the Ashmore from the English Channel into the North Atlantic Ocean, and crossed the equator 3,275 miles (5,271 km) later on their twenty-first day. The average time if lucky enough not to get caught in the doldrums, which could add weeks to the journey. He then sailed her into the South Atlantic Ocean and east beneath the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. The Ashmore then sailed across the Southern Ocean into the Indian Ocean and beneath Tasmania, Australia. Then they headed north towards the Three Kings, called Manawatāwhi by Māori, are 13 uninhabited islands 55 kilometres northwest of Cape Reinga. This is where the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean converge. Then they turned south and sailed down the coast of the North Island to Auckland.
Captain James Whitmore chose to avoid sailing west under Cape Horn, South America. It was a new route and faster than the Old Admiralty, but many sailors and ships were lost there. Heavy seas and storms could hold up ships for weeks as they battled to cross rough waters where the South Atlantic Ocean converged with the Pacific Ocean.
The further he sailed the Ashmore into the Southern Ocean, the greater the winds. But he ran the risk of being exposed to icebergs.
Captain Whitmore pushed the Ashmore hard, but he knew the ship well having been her only captain since she was built in 1878. He'd sailed to New Zealand along this route one year earlier, so he was aware of the conditions and hazards he would face.
The Clipper Route taken by ships sailing from Europe to Australia in order to take advantage of the Roaring Forties.
After the introduction of steamships and the Suez and Panama Canals, routes changed. But this route to and from New Zealand and Australia is still used for several prominent yacht races today, such as the Vendee Globe and Around Alone.
Here's a video of Conrad Coleman's solo voyage across this route in his new generation eco-friendly yacht. The Vendee Globe race is also known as the Everest of the Sea. He finished the race with a jury rig after being demasted. Here are the highlights.
Footage: Conrad Coleman
For more detailed footage (in English) and to learn about his experience of racing the world alone, watch this:
Footage: Conrad Coleman
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