My Fourteen Year Project

on April 11, 2020, 4:41 am

Fourteen years ago I finished reading the twenty one novels by Patrick O'Brian set during the Napoleonic wars and on various ships commanded by the protagonist Jack Aubrey and his particular friend Stephen Maturin. I decided that interactive maps (built with the newly available Google Maps Javascript API) of the voyages could be a useful addition to the Internet.

Today I finished that project:

The slow, sometimes painful, progression through these twenty one volumes has ultimately been incredibly rewarding. Hundreds of thousands of people (492,902 at last count) have visited the site and many have contacted me with support and encouragement.

This site, dated, clumsy and so embarrassingly overdue for a re-write, has been a platform on which I have been able to do a lot of other fun stuff. It is something, despite its flaws, that I am very proud of.

I think it reinforces Jason Robert's assertion that "the amount of serendipity that will occur in your life, your Luck Surface Area, is directly proportional to the degree to which you do something you're passionate about".

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Mapping of Blue at the Mizzen Complete

on April 10, 2020, 11:57 pm

Blue at the Mizzen is finished.

I have developed symptoms of a cold and, as a result, quarantined myself inside our very small and already quarantined house. I am confident it is just a cold and not something more sinister but marvel at the tenacity of this particular rhinovirus that managed to circumvent the frequent handwashing, alcohol wipes and mask wearing to make it into my upper respiratory tract.

Thanks to this extra layer of enforced isolation I was able to finish this, the twentieth and last complete volume in Patrick O'Brian's wonderful series, in just 6 days. A new record, though perhaps one soon to be broken with my upcoming map of The, sadly truncated, Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey.

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Mapping of The Hundred Days Complete

on April 5, 2020, 12:56 am

The Hundred Days Map is finished. Only 11 days after The Yellow Admiral Map. Sadly this record run was entirely a result of staying at home during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Very odd to be so close to the finish line after fourteen years of chipping away at this series.

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Mapping of The Yellow Admiral Complete

on March 25, 2020, 1:14 am

The Yellow Admiral Map is done. Even with my increase in pace, this one took a while.

There were lots of references to places all over Europe and UK and some fiddly courses during the Brest blockade. I tried to keep the lines on the map to minimum for the and forth across that "fine spacious great bay" and I am pretty happy with the result.

Only three novels to go which is both strange and a welcome distraction from everything happening on the other side of my front door. On that note, I hope you and yours are all in the best of health.

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Mapping of The Commodore Complete

on February 27, 2020, 9:45 am

The Commodore Map is done. It seems if I spend every spare moment on this project I can get through a book every month. So "if things stand as they are" my plan to finish this year is in good shape.

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