Saturday, 26 April 2014

Natural Navigation Mystery

The office buildings round Lloyd's of London tend to be occupied by insurance companies who like to exhibit a bit of nautical swagger even though underwriters rarely go sailing as it is far too dangerous. This very odd-looking sailing ship is one of a series on the facade of a dull block in Fenchurch Avenue.
Question: Is she sailing east or west?

13 comments:

Tillerman said...

Fenchurch Stree runs EW and these are on the S side so they are sailing south.

Bursledon Blogger said...

Tricky, despite Tillerman's architectural positioning, you could argue pictorially with the sun behind and sailing downwind defines the direction? But that depends on latitude, so down in the tradewinds below 12 degrees heading west, further north at about 30-40 degrees heading east, then again I might have completely the wrong end of the stick -

Port-Na-Storm said...

I'll play. I reckon she has the rising sun behind her so can only be sailing west.

JP said...

It does look like either the rising or setting sun behind the boat. I'd guess rising and the boat heading west but it could be the other way round.

Chris Waite said...

So the answer is 'Yes', then; she's sailing East or West

Chris W

Tillerman said...

Another way to look at this is to guess that that building used to occupied by some broker or underwriter who has quit the City and has sailed East to some godforsaken place like Basildon.

Chris Partridge said...

There's a coincidence - Tristan Gooley's new natural navigation book gets a glowing review in today's Sunday Times. Oddly, however, Tristan doesn't seem to mention how to work out the headings of ships in stone. Perhaps because, sadly, it can't be done. Not only is the ship so stylised it is impossible to say if the bit you see is the bow or the stern, the whole building is covered with identical carvings that face towards all points of the compass.
Thank you all for playing!

O Docker said...

There looks to be a bow wave at the waterline.

A stone in her teeth?

Tillerman said...

But did you examine the carvings on all four sides of the building to see if there was any differences in them - the amount of erosion, any mosses, any stains from rain or soot? Maybe they do hold clues to navigating the city streets?

Chris Partridge said...

I did indeed, and the deep insight I got was that the whole building had been cleaned very recently. You can see the scaffolding in Google Street View...

JP said...

I have just received Tristan's latest book and will let you know if I read anything that might help solve this particular mystery.

Chris Partridge said...

JP - Looking forward to your review!
O'D - that 'bow wave' could be anything from a kiss curl to a sausage roll.

doryman said...

Definitely running downwind, Chris. That had better be the bow.
Very clever of you to keep us awake all night trying to deduce the answer to an unanswerable question.