The Horse latitude

Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

During those sailing days, when baggywrinkle and backstays were still understood, a time when the industry ran on the mercy of winds and gods, there was a dreaded zone called the horse latitude. Who won’t break a sweat when the very thought of being stranded in the middle of a big wide ocean, not knowing for how long, strike them?

Horse latitudes were cursed (at least they believed so) with low or no winds, leaving the ships dry for days or weeks, at times. Due to their location between 30 and 35 degrees between subtropical high and an area of high, clouds seldom form and thereby curbing precipitation. This was important trade route and often carried horses as a cargo to Americas. Being incapacitated to refill potable water and provisions, horses collapsed and were thrown overboard. Some were even thrown to prevent any further loss of drinking water. Hence the name horse latitude.

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