Why The Chinese Could NOT Have Sailed Around the World in 1421
1. They were sailing large clumsy vessels needing to spot hazards at a great distance in order to avoid them.
Fluid Mechanics of the Chinese Fleet
Why the fleet would have had difficulty navigating in narrow channels such as the Mozambique Channel.
Even at 300 feet long, the Chinese Treasure Fleet lacked the manuverability of the smaller vessels Portuguese shipbuilders successfully pioneered in the fifteenth century. Dutch, French, and English copied these swifter, smaller vessels and improved upon them. Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe relied upon these smaller vessels as well.
2. In 1421 Chinese sailors lacked experience in the Southern Hemisphere oceans where winds and currents flow counterclockwise (opposite direction from the Northern Hemisphere where they flow clockwise). Their southern hemispheric experience was limited to coastal trading along the coasts of what are now Indonesian islands and the northeastern coast of Africa.
3. Many professionals in the fields he covers do not think he has sufficient evidence for his claims. See a collection of references on-line.
4. Europeans did in fact map the Atlantic and elsewhere without Chinese help. The Cantino map is a well-documented copy of a Portuguese chart made in the second half of the year 1502. The Duc d'Este authorized a substantial reward to a cartographer willing to copy the Portuguese map. Copies of his instructions remain in the archives of his palace.
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