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» Online Classroom   » Celestial Navigation   » Public Discussion of Cel Nav   » True Sea Stories on Celestial Nav techniques

Author Topic: True Sea Stories on Celestial Nav techniques
Dwayne Clark

 - posted May 03, 2007 11:58 AM      Profile for Dwayne Clark           Edit/Delete Post 

Just a general question:

Do you know of any non-fiction books/novels telling stories of ocean passages where celestial navigation techniques are explained in detail?

For example, I am reading Joshua Slocum s book now and he references sights and finding latitude but does not go into his methods much. I have read other sailing and sea survival books where the authors talk some of navigation but don t really get into the details or methods. For example Callahan's and Dougal Robertson's books (on survival) reference navigation but not much in the way of detail.

I would like to read a book that tells a true sea story that explains more about how the author used celestial to get there and back. Do you have any ideas??

Also, is there any one person in the 20th Century that is known to be the best or most talented celestial and emergency navigator?? Or are there too many to name?? Is there a way of measuring this skill.

Thanks for any feedback!!


From: Jacksonville, FL

 - posted May 03, 2007 02:33 PM      Profile for rick           Edit/Delete Post 
from the 20th c you might look for a primary account of shackleton's famous run from elephant island to south georgia - i think that was all cel nav

ditto bligh's journey from the bounty to new guinea in the late 18th c

sobel's little book "longitude" re: john harrison in the early 18th c has many interesting factoids, but not what you're interested in


From: boston
David Burch

 - posted May 03, 2007 03:01 PM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
I am sure we have readers here who know more of this than i do. You might look into some of Cook's journals, and i should mention our 1851 Bowditch, which has detailed, day-by- day navigation of a voyage from Maderia to Boston. Actual times, sextant heights, log readings, etc. We have this as an ebook that we prepared very carefully, but there is also a chance you can download a free version from Google Books that is quite legible (i have not seen it just heard of it).

As for best in cel nav, there is a limit to its accuracy of about ±0.5'. Anyone can learn to achieve this in normal conditions. Individuals might stand out who can achieve this in less than ideal conditions, or even do well in very bad conditions (ie Shackelton's navigator, mentioned above). Beyond that one might start looking at those souls who contributed to the field, such as Summner, Harrison, etc.

A good place to ask such generic questions would be in the newsletter of the Navigation Foundation. This is a very worthwhile organization whose very goal is to preserve the practice and knowledge of celestial navigation. Most of the world's experts on the subject are members ($35 per year) and many would i guess respond to your questions. [insider tip: if you join now you can send your question to [email protected] and make the next issue coming out in about two weeks] --david

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA
Dwayne Clark

 - posted May 03, 2007 03:28 PM      Profile for Dwayne Clark           Edit/Delete Post 
David and Rick...thank you both very much. I will join the Foundation and keeping digging on the sources you have named.


From: Jacksonville, FL

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