Circumnavigation – literally, "navigation of a circumference" – refers to travelling all the way around an island, a continent, or the entire planet Earth.
In principle, if a person walks completely around either Pole, they will have crossed all meridians, but this is not generally considered a "circumnavigation." A basic definition of a global circumnavigation would be a route which covers at least a great circle, and in particular one which passes through at least one pair of points antipodal to each other. In practice, different definitions of world circumnavigation are used, in order to accommodate practical constraints depending on the method of travel. Since the planet is a sphere, a trip from one Pole to the other, and back again, would technically be a circumnavigation, but practical difficulties generally preclude such a voyage.
For the wealthy, long voyages around the world, such as was done by Ulysses S. Grant, became possible in the 19th century, and the World Wars moved vast numbers of troops around the planet. However, it was later improvements in technology and rising incomes that made such trips relatively common.
The map on the right shows, in red, a typical sailing circumnavigation of the world by the trade winds and the Suez and Panama canals; overlaid in yellow are the points antipodal to all points on the route. It can be seen that the route roughly approximates a great circle, and passes through two pairs of antipodal points. This is a route followed by many cruising sailors; the use of the trade winds makes it a relatively easy sail, although it passes through a number of zones of calms or light winds. But sometimes the winds would pick up quickly, causing many deaths during this sail period.
In yacht racing, a round-the-world route approximating a great circle would be quite impractical, particularly in a non-stop race where use of the Panama and Suez Canals would be impossible. Yacht racing therefore defines a world circumnavigation to be a passage of at least 21,600 nautical miles (40,000 km) in length which crosses the equator, crosses every meridian and finishes in the same port as it starts. The map on the left shows the route of the Vendée Globe round-the-world race in red; overlaid in yellow are the points antipodal to all points on the route. It can be seen that the route does not pass through any pairs of antipodal points. Since the winds in the higher latitudes predominantly blow west-to-east it can be seen that there is an easier route (west-to-east) and a harder route (east-to-west) when circumnavigating by sail; this difficulty is magnified for square-rig vessels.
For current sailing records, see article : Around the world sailing record. For around the world sailing records, there is a rule saying that the length must be at least 21,600 nm calculated along the shortest possible track from the starting port and back that does not cross land and does not go below 63°S. It is allowed to have one single waypoint to lengthen the calculated track. The equator must be crossed.
Since the advent of world cruises in 1922, by Cunard's Lanconia, thousands of people have completed circumnavigations of the globe at a more leisurely pace. Typically, these voyages begin in New York City or Southampton, and proceed westward. Routes vary, either travelling through the Caribbean and then into the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal, or around Cape Horn. From there ships usually make their way to Hawaii, the islands of the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, then northward to Hong Kong, South East Asia, and India. At that point, again, routes may vary: one way is through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean; the other is around Cape of Good Hope and then up the west coast of Africa. These cruises end in the port where they began.
- United States Army Air Service, 1924, first aerial circumnavigation, 175 days, covering 44,360 kilometres (27,553 miles).
- Wiley Post July 1933, first solo aerial circumnavigation.
- In 1949, the Lucky Lady II, a Boeing B-50 Superfortress of the U. S. Air Force, commanded by Captain James Gallagher, became the first airplane to circle the world nonstop. This was achieved by refueling the plane in flight.
- Archie J. Old, Jr. was the leading commander of Operation Power Flite, the first non-stop round-the-world jet flight in January 1957, finished in 45 hours and 19 minutes.
- Jerrie Mock April 1964, first woman to complete a solo aerial circumnavigation.
- Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager December 1986, first non-stop, non-refueled, aerial circumnavigation.
- Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones were in 1999 the first to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the globe.
- Steve Fossett, 3 March 2005, first non-stop, non-refueled, solo circumnavigation in an aircraft, 67 hours, covering 37,000 kilometres.
- Barrington Irving, March–June 2007 (97 days), youngest person to circumnavigate the world solo in an aircraft.
Though no one has completed a true circumnavigation solely by human power there have been notable attempts. Guidelines issued by Guinness World Records in December 2006 state that a human powered circumnavigation must travel a minimum of 36,787.559 km (the distance of the Tropic of Cancer), cross the Equator, and each leg must commence at the exact point where the last finished off. There are no requirements to reach antipodal points. To date no one has completed a human-powered circumnavigation according to the guidelines set by Guinness.
People have both bicycled and run around the world, but the oceans have had to be covered by air travel, making the distance shorter than the Guinness guidelines. To go from North America to Asia on foot is theoretically possible but very difficult. It involves crossing the Bering Strait on the ice and around 3000 km roadless swamped or freezing cold area in Alaska and eastern Russia. No one has so far travelled all of this route by foot.
- Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano's 1519-1522 expedition was the first documented world circumnavigation. At the behest of the Spanish Crown Magellan led the first expedition to circumnavigate the world, sailing between August 1519 and April 1521. However, he was killed in a battle in the Philippine island of Cebu on April 27, 1521. His second in command, the Spaniard Juan Sebastián Elcano, from Getaria, completed the journey back through the Indian Ocean and round the Cape of Good Hope to Spain in 1522. The 18 survivors of this expedition including Elcano, on the Victoria completed the circumnavigation returning to Sanlucar de Barrameda on 8 September 1522 after a journey of 3 years and 1 month. (Seventeen more survivors later returned.) These were the first known navigators to circumnavigate the world.
- Andres Urdaneta, 1525-1528. He achieved in 1528 the second world circumnavigation after an expedition which lasted nine years (Loaísa Expedition).
- Francis Drake, 1577–1580, led the first English expedition to circumnavigate the world.
- Martín Ignacio de Loyola, 1580–1584 and 1585-1589. First person to circumnavigate the world twice, and first one doing so in each of both directions (westwards and eastwards).
- Olivier Van Noort, 1598-1601. First Dutchman to circumnavigate the world.
- Pedro Cubero, 1670–1679. First around the world including significant travel overland.
- William Dampier, 1679–1691; 1703–1707; and 1708–1711. First person to circumnavigate the world three times.
- John Byron in HMS Dolphin, June 1764-May 1766. First circumnavigation in less than 2 years.
- James Cook, between 1768 and 1779, made two circumnavigations and completed most of a third, though he died before the third could actually be completed.
- HMS Driver, first steamship to circumnavigate the world, in 1847.
- Argo, first steamship to intentionally circumnavigate the world, in 1853.
- Corvette Zaragoza 1896-1897 First circumnavigation by a Mexican vessel and crew.
- Joshua Slocum, 1895–1898, first single-handed circumnavigation.
- Vito Dumas, 1942, first single-handed passage of the three Great Capes. First successful single-handed passage of Cape Horn.
- USS Triton, 1960, first submerged circumnavigation.
- Francis Chichester, 1966–1967, first single-handed circumnavigation by the clipper route; fastest circumnavigation (nine months and one day).
- Robin Knox-Johnston, 1968–1969, first single-handed non-stop circumnavigation.
- CCGS Hudson, 1970, first circumnavigation of North and South America.
- Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz, 1976–1978, first woman to do a single-handed circumnavigation.
- Serge Testa, 1984–1987, circumnavigation in smallest boat "Acrohc Australis" (3.6m or 11 ft 10in long). While changing home ports from NAS North Island CA. to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, completed a global circumnavigation, via the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean.
- Kay Cottee, 1987–1988, first woman to circumnavigate single-handed and non-stop, i.e. without putting into ports on the way.
- Bj Caldwell, 1995–1996, youngest recognised singlehanded circumnavigation first under age 21 to complete solo circumnavigation with stops age 20 at arrival.
- David Dicks, 1996, youngest recognised single-handed circumnavigation, completed aged 18 years 41 days. Over all youngest 1996 to 2009.
- Jesse Martin, 1999, youngest recognised 'unassisted' single-handed circumnavigation, completed aged 18 years 66 days.
- Michael Perham, 2009, so far youngest male to circumnavigate alone, 17 years and 164 days at arrival.
- Jessica Watson, 2010, youngest ever single-handed circumnavigation; done non-stop and unassisted, completed aged 16 years and 362 days
- ↑ Definition of a Circumnavigation
- ↑ ISAF/World Sailing Speed Record Rules for individually attempted Passage Records or Performances Offshore, sec. 26.1.a, Record Courses
- ↑ ISAF/World Sailing Speed Record Rules for individually attempted Passage Records or Performances Offshore
- ↑ http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123006446 "B-52 Stratofortress -- Around the World Flight"], United States Air Force, January 14, 2008. Accessed September 8, 2010.
- ↑ . HistoryNet.com. http://www.historynet.com/jerrie-mock-record-breaking-american-female-pilot.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
- ↑ About Circumnavigations
- ↑ Category:Pedestrian circumnavigators of the globe
- ↑ Magellan's Voyage: A Narrative Account of the First Circumnavigation.'Magellan's Voyage' By Antonio Pigafetta, Raleigh Ashlin Skelton. Published by Courier Dover Publications, 1994. ISBN 0486280993, 9780486280998
- ↑ . Bedford Institute of Oceanography. July 15, 2009. http://www.bio.gc.ca/vessels-navires/ccgs-hudson-eng.htm.
- ↑ HoloHolo Hawai`i: Brian 'BJ' Caldwell's solo circumnavigation.
- ↑ Ludovic Hubler's Travel Travel Around the World
- ↑ . Guinness World records. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/mediazone/pdfs/news/070327_Earliest_Run_around_the_World.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-29.