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» Online Classroom   » Tech Support   » Frequent Questions About the Courses   » Which course should I study first, coastal or celestial?

Author Topic: Which course should I study first, coastal or celestial?
David Burch

 - posted February 08, 2006 03:54 PM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
It does not matter from a content point of view. Both start from the basics with no pre-requisites. There is some plotting work in the celestial course, which might be a bit easier after doing plotting in the coastal course, but this is not crucial — it would equally help coastal taking celestial first. The techniques are fully explained and illustrated in both courses. Also we must do speed-time-distance problems in the celestial course work, but again, this can be learned on the wing if it is not known. In short, you could do either course first.

But most definitely one needs both courses for an ocean passage, not just the celestial for offshore. It is the coastal parts of the voyage that offer the biggest navigation challenges, not the celestial part, offshore in the ocean. Celestial nav is easier and requires less new knowledge than good coastal nav does. Celestial is the same from day to day, season to season, ocean to ocean, now and 10 years from now, but coastal nav problems are always different and usually more dangerous if done wrong. There are many many examples of vessels which have safely navigated an ocean crossing and then went lax on the nav and ran a foul on the coast, or on a river bar, or tropical reef. Never relax the navigation till the vessel is securely moored or anchored.

The main issue in selecting course sequence is what you are doing right now. The inland & coastal course will provide immediate benefit for your daily sailing near shore. The celestial, on the other hand, is rewarding to learn and can be practiced inland, but its limited accuracy (about 1 mile) and time it takes for a fix (about 30 minutes) is not often of any practical value for inland or near shore navigation. Hence if you don't plan to go offshore for some time, it is likely best to start with the inland course because you can use what you learn right away.

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA

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