Re: Circumnavigation without instruments
If anyone really wants to feel bad, consider that the survival of nearly the entire westernized population on Earth depends upon electricity. Most people have very little actual ability. What we call knowledge today is really based upon the application and use of technology.
Can you grow your own food- if there were no stores to buy seeds?
Can you store your food over the long term, when the seasons don't allow for fresh food?
Can you hunt? Preserve the meat?
Can you build shelter that is more than a pile of branches?
Can you navigate with dead reckoning, over land as well as water?
If the power went out and never came back on, the vast majority of the population would revert to Caveman status in a year's time. And that is only true if most aren't killed for their food in that first year.
In the not too distant past, the loss of all of these modern conveniences would be called.... Tuesday. What we would call Survival Mode today is not at all about actual survival. It is about losing our crutches, without which we realize how truly helpless we have become as humans.
It is not surprising that a man who would sail around the world with no instruments is called crazy, because most people believe the correct thing to do in any situation is to call for help. I'm not saying it isn't: what I'm saying is that people do amazing things when there is no help to be had. People who have no expectation of relying on others instead learn to depend upon themselves and they gain the skills necessary to do so.
And yes, lots more people died in the old days which is why modern crutches were invented, but that does not make them necessary. "Necessary" is based on your own skill set. When they are merely redundant, they become Nice To Have conveniences.