What is a prime meridian, latitude and longitude?

A prime meridian is a meridian (a line of longitude) in a geographical coordinate system at which longitude is defined to be 0°. Together, a prime meridian and its antimeridian (the 180th meridian in a 360°-system) form a great circle. This great circle divides the sphere, e.g., the Earth, into two hemispheres. If one uses directions of East and West from a defined prime meridian, then they can be called Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere. (Source Wikipedia)

Latitude and longitude are a coordinate system by means of which the position or location of any place on Earth’s surface can be determined and described.

Latitude is a measurement on a globe or map of location north or south of the Equator. Technically, there are different kinds of latitude—geocentric, astronomical, and geographic (or geodetic)—but there are only minor differences between them. In most common references, geocentric latitude is implied. Given in degrees, minutes, and seconds, geocentric latitude is the arc subtended by an angle at Earth’s centre and measured in a north-south plane poleward from the Equator. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)

What is Isle Trindade and Martim Vaz?

Isle Trindade and Martim Vaz is an archipelago located about 1,200 kilometres east of Vitória in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, belonging to the State of Espírito Santo, Southeast Brazil. The archipelago consists of five islands and several rocks and stacks; Trindade is the largest island, with an area of 10.1 square kilometres; about 49 kilometres east of it are the tiny Martim Vaz islets, with a total area of 0.3 square kilometres. The islands are of volcanic origin and have rugged terrain. They are largely barren, except for the southern part of Trindade. They were discovered in 1502 by Portuguese explorer Estêvão da Gama and stayed Portuguese until they became part of Brazil at its independence. From 1895 to 1896, Trindade was occupied by the United Kingdom until an agreement with Brazil was reached. (Source Wikipedia)

What are the doldrums?

The doldrums, also called equatorial calms are equatorial regions of light ocean currents and winds within the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), a belt of converging winds and rising air encircling Earth near the Equator. The northeast and southeast trade winds meet there; this meeting causes air uplift and often produces clusters of convective thunderstorms. They occur along the Equator in the Indian and western Pacific oceans and slightly north of the Equator off the African and Central American west coasts. The crews of sailing ships dreaded the doldrums because their ships were often becalmed there; the designation for the resultant state of depression was apparently thus extended to these geographic regions themselves. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)

What is the Equator?

The Equator is a great circle around the Earth that is everywhere equidistant from the geographic poles and lies in a plane perpendicular to the Earth’s axis. This geographic, or terrestrial, Equator divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres and forms the imaginary reference line on the Earth’s surface from which latitude is reckoned; in other words, it is the line with 0° latitude. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)

What is the Guinea Current?

The Guinea Current is a surface oceanic current of the Atlantic Ocean, the eastward continuation of the Atlantic Equatorial Countercurrent, off the western coast of Africa near the Gulf of Guinea. Always north of the equator, the southeastward-flowing Guinea Current changes position with the seasons so that its northern limit lies at approximately latitude 7° N during the winter and latitude 15° N during the summer. The warm, highly saline Guinea Current reaches a depth of less than 660 feet (200 m). (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)

What is the Tropic of Capricorn?

The Tropic of Capricorn is a latitude approximately 23°27′ S of the terrestrial Equator. This latitude corresponds to the southernmost declination of the Sun’s ecliptic to the celestial equator. At the winter solstice (Northern Hemisphere), around December 21, the Sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn and lies within the boundaries of the constellation Sagittarius, having reached its southernmost declination in the ecliptic. Previously, however, it appeared in the constellation Capricornus at the winter solstice, hence the name Tropic of Capricorn. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)

What is the Argos system?

The Argos system on the yacht carried a transmitter that radiated a code signal at 60 second intervals. The satellite Noah 9 carried the receiver for the Argos system and the signal data was downloaded every few orbits to a computer in Virginia, USA. The data was then sent to Toulouse, France, and from France to the Centre for Marine Science & Technology (CMST) in Bentley, WA. The signal was guaranteed accurate to within three kilometres, but was usually more accurate than this, being reliable to within 100 metres. If Sanders had to abandon ship, he could activate the alarm button on the transmitter platform to alert scientists in Toulouse who would in turn notify the French Coast Guard, CMST and the Sea Safety and Surveillance Centre in Canberra. If the transmitter stopped sending the signal, the CMST would also be notified.

At 11.35am on 25 November 1987, the Argos satellite reporting system on the yacht went into distress mode and an alarm was relayed to John Penrose and his assistant, Tim Pauly, at the CMST. At the time, Sanders was off the Falkland Islands. Penrose telephoned the Canberra Sea Safety Centre, Parry Corporation, the Falklands Governor in Port Stanley and the Port Stanley Harbour Master, Captain John Jackson. By 10pm, Penrose was notified that a Royal Navy Sea King Helicopter had made an aerial sighting of Sanders on his yacht and all was well. The false alarm had ceased after 100 minutes and it is still not known what caused the malfunction in the ARGOS system. At 3.15am the next day, the Canberra Centre phoned John Penrose to inform him of another mayday message, calling back some 15 minutes later to report that it was an error. The message was actually from the previous day’s false alarm. (Source Project Endeavour)

Where is Storm Bay?

Storm Bay is an inlet of the Tasman Sea, indenting southeastern Tasmania, Australia. It is about 16 miles (26 km) long and 25 miles (40 km) wide, is bounded by Bruny Island (west) and the Tasman Peninsula (east), and opens into Norfolk and Frederick Henry bays to the northeast. The River Derwent estuary enters the bay from the northwest by way of Hobart. It was named by the Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642 when a storm forced his ships out to sea before they could anchor there. The British explorers George Bass and Matthew Flinders sailed its waters in 1798–99. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)