What defines a true circumnavigation?

A friend is flying from San Francisco to Delhi, India and then home via Newark.   He said "I'm circumnavigating, kinda".    And so we talked about that.  

Circumnavigating is a big deal to a lot of sailors, and I know that there is a difference between using the short cuts of Panama Canal and Suez Canal and going via Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.   

Assuming you went with the two canals route, you aren't going the distance of a great circle, so it seems less than a full circumnavigation.    If you sailed all the way around Antarctica you have circumnavigated Antarctica, and are a bad-ass, but you really haven't circumnavigated the world.  

So what are the easy to state rules that make for a true circumnavigation?   What are the rules for people seeking to break records in this category, and who maintains them? 

I read the Wikipedia article, and it's not that great.  In particular they show a route that includes two pairs of atnipodes?   Why two pairs?  Would not passing through a single pair of antipodes (while continuously moving in one general direction like East to West, be enough to ensure a full great circle length and legit circumnavigation? 

Are there even simpler to understand rules (like crossing and re-crossing the equator while starting and ending in the same location) that people commonly use that I am unaware of? 

 

Mid

Blues Rule
3 different ocean crossings combined with 2 equator crossings , returning to the start point in the opposite direction from which you left .

 
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Miffy

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It’s an arbitrary human endeavor and the definition only exists to ensure records are apples to apples. 
 

No records people who get caught up defining or working against the definition by arguing this and that are missing the point. 

 

Snaggletooth

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3 different ocean crossings combined with 2 equator crossings , returning to the start point in the opposite direction from which you left .
Soundes to easey...... thissa trick guestione?                                            :)

 

El Borracho

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If some official record is sought, then yes there would be a rule. I think if some Southern sailor sails around the southern oceans without crossing the equator they would get no argument from me about having completed a circumnavigation. 

 

weightless

Super Anarchist
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Depends but this is one definition for bragging rights:

https://www.sailspeedrecords.com/the-courses-offshore

a. RTW - Round the World, eastbound and westbound 21600NM. 2 separate records.
To sail around the World, a vessel must start from and return to the same point, must cross all meridians of longitude and must cross the Equator. It may cross some but not all meridians more than once (i.e. two roundings of Antarctica do not count). The shortest orthodromic track of the vessel must be at least 21,600 nautical miles in length calculated based on a 'perfect sphere'. In calculating this distance, it is to be assumed that the vessel will sail around Antarctica in latitude 63 degrees south.
A vessel starting from any point where the direct orthodromic distance is too short shall pass one single island or other fixed point on a required side so as to lengthen his orthodromic track to the minimum distance.
No starting point will be permitted more south than 45 ° south.
1 degree of longitude at 63 degrees south will be taken as 27.24NM

 

Snaggletooth

SA's Morrelle Compasse
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I thicke Sir Robie Knoxe saide ite three leftes and a ritte.                            :)

 
It’s an arbitrary human endeavor and the definition only exists to ensure records are apples to apples. 
 

No records people who get caught up defining or working against the definition by arguing this and that are missing the point. 
Ok, I'll stipulate to all your points.   
Still, there is this question then: what's the (generally accepted, arbitrary, human created) definition of a sailing circumnavigation?    
Because: apples to apples records are a good thing.   And a key part of almost every sport. 

I still think there is a big difference between going around the full circumference of a sphere, and just going in a circular route that crosses all the lines of longitude  (like my go around Antarctica  example).   

To be clear: I wasn't asking this because I'm trying to find some way to break the record for sailing around the world with rules trickery. 

Really it came up with my friends trip.   Neither of us felt that his  San Francisco to Delhi to Newark to San Francisco trip *quite* made it as a true circumnavigation.   I think the answer is: because it didn't cross and then re-cross the equator it falls short, using @Mid 's useful definition.  

 
Isn't "a sailing route that begins and ends at the same locaiton, goes in one general direction, and passes through at least one pair of antipodes"  a sufficient definition. 

I believe it will always result in a course that crosses the equator twice, and is at least the length of the circumference of the earth. (Great circle length). 

 

El Borracho

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Your true circumnavigation certainly includes simply circling Antartica.Or an island in New York Harbor. That is the definition. I think what you mean is a circumnavigation of the earth.

Passing thru a pair of antipodal points seems rather harsh by cruising standards, versus some record book rule. I'm siding with your friend. How many bars did he stop into?

 

LionessRacing

Super Anarchist
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sure, but we are stating the _minimum_ that will meet the requirement - you can always do more...
Ok, the Antipodal points on a practical minimum route may not be accessible, but presumable the fastest route would be something that started near equator in one Hemisphere (e.g. Recife) and going around a near antipodal (Guam) 

 

Not My Real Name

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Crossing every meridian, the equator twice and covering at least 25,000 miles.
So if you leave from Ecuador sailing west and come all the way around to the east side of the Panama canal, go through the canal and keep sailing due west all the way to the Philippines without re-crossing the equator it doesn't count as a circumnavigation?

Is re-crossing your original route critical?

 




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