Learning from History

Sat 21 Jun 2014 15:43
Saturday 21st June 2014
Position 35:58.6N 49:55.6W
Another breezy day, beam reaching, and so wet in the cockpit. But the great thing, we are making good progress still, and Fleck and the vital bits and pieces are behaving well. This is the start of the second week, and we are approaching, albeit in a rather zig zag fashion, the half way mark to Flores, the most westerly of the Azores.
Have now finished Sleepwalking to WW1. Very glad that I persevered with the bulky first half of the book, detailing, yes in detail, the history of the Balkans from the regicides in Belgrade to the asassination of Franz Ferdinand. I guess it was necessary background, but as the Manchester Guardian famously put it: Manchester is as interested in Belgrade as Belgrade is interested in Manchester. The second half of the book is riveting. It is a remarkably non judgemental view of events; surely we can and must learn from history. Should be compulsory teaching in all schools.
An excellent vignette is described, reassuring me as an aside that collisions at sea do not just involve single handed sailors. Raymond Poincare (how do I do an e acute), the French President wanted to have a chat with the Tsar. With no suitable half distance motorway service station Starbucks availlable, he decided to take the 'France', the flagship of the French Navy, to see Nicholas over in Kronstadt. Entering the harbour the France colllided resoundingly with a Russian tugboat. Observed Poincare, ruefully, "this was a gesture lacking in both dexterity and elegance".