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As the name implies, calm was the name mariners gave to the sea when there was no wind and the surface of the sea was smooth.

The Calm latitudes was the name given to that part of the Atlantic between the Tropic of Cancer and latitude 29°. This was because the sea in these latitudes was relatively unaffected by the Atlantic trade winds and currents, and ships could experience longs periods of being unable to sail.

A long calm could be extremely dangerous as vessels risked exhausting supplies of food and water.

In his Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1797), Samuel Taylor Coleridge drew upon eighteenth-century accounts of the suffering of becalmed mariners in vivid portraying of the horrors resulting from the Mariner’s slaying of the Albatross.

Online Sources
  • Falconer, William, Online edition of William Falconer's Universal Dictionary of the Marine, or, a Copious Explanation of the Technical Terms and Phrases employed in the Construction, ...of a Ship...derived from the text of the London 1780 edition published by Thomas Cadell, 2004 edn, South Seas, http://southseas.nla.gov.au/refs/falc/contents.html. [ Details ]

Prepared by: Turnbull, P
Created: 4 October 2001
Modified: 11 October 2001

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000054

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