Columbus’s Heilmeyer Catechism


July 19, 2016

I have no idea if Columbus had to have his “India Expedition” proposal peer-reviewed, but here is my interpretation of it according to the ever-popular Heilmeyer catechism.

What are you trying to do

I would like to sail to India and bring back gold and spices for the Crown of Spain.

How is it done today

Currently no one has sailed west. Everyone takes the trip east, around the Cape of Good Hope. Most of these people think the world is flat and that heading west would cause us to fall into space.

What’s new in your approach

I will head west. I’m pretty sure the Earth is round, and we can reach India from the west in less time

Who cares?

A faster trading route to India, monopolized by our mapping skills, would generate 1 million Real a month for the royal treasury.


There is a lot unknown about the middle of the Atlantic, including rumors from the Vikings that some colder land is in between. My math may be off in calculating the circumference of the Earth. I am not a great sailor. We may encounter fierce alien tribes.

Cost and schedule

For 1000 Real we can outfit four boats with sailors, supplies, and weapons (note: of course Columbus would never get all he requested, either!). We plan on a quick 1 year voyage to India, and one more year back.

Checkpoints for success

We plan to see India after 2000 nautical miles of sailing. While measuring distance at sea is currently impossible, after 3 months we expect to sight land. If not, we will head back.