Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ancestors Traveling Around Cape Horn

     For the last few weeks I have been following six sailboats as they make their way around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race. There were seven boats but one ended up on a reef in the Indian Ocean.   Recently they have been making their way across the Southern Ocean from New Zealand to Cape Horn.  The Southern Ocean is considered the toughest stretch of ocean to cross.  Cape Horn is considered the Mount Everest of ocean sailing.  The Internet carried live coverage of four of the boats as they made their way around the Horn on a 'good' weather day.  (The two other boats include one which lost a sail and is limping along several days behind and another boat which lost their mast and had to withdraw from the race.)
     These modern racing yachts are among the best boats made.  Equipment is top notch. Their positions are sent to race headquarters every fifteen seconds.  Satellites give them weather information and the positions of icebergs.  The crews are the most experienced sailors in the world.  And yet three of the seven have been or are in serious trouble.

     Shortly after I watched the four boats pass Cape Horn, I was reading a digital book about the genealogy of one branch of Jayme's family1.  Joseph Libbey Folsom (the founder of Folsom, CA) was the half-brother of Jayme's great-great-grandmother, Olivia Ann Mead Sargent McKie.  Captain Joseph Libbey Folsom was sent by the army from the east coast of the United States around  Cape Horn to California in 1846.  The trip took six months. WOW. I admire the inner strength of these people to undertake such a journey.  Thousands died attempting to travel to California by traveling around South America.  (In the nineteenth century alone over fifty boats were documented to have sunk while rounding the Horn.  Countless others were lost at other points in the passage from east to west.)

1. Chapman, Jacob. A Genealogy of the Folsom Family: John Folsom and His Descendants, 1615-1882. Concord, N.H.: Printed by the Republican Press Association, 1882. (Google E-Books)

1 comment:

  1. Well that puts the trip in 1846 in perspective! Seems it was even riskier than overland. Thanks David!