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Old 06-03-2008, 14:49   #1
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Celestial Navigation Primer?

I'm starting from scratch, can anybody recommend some good books? Where I live an actual class is impractical.
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Old 06-03-2008, 15:10   #2
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Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen by Mary Blewitt is a simple text and a good place to begin.

The full Bowditch is available online, courtesy of the US Government.

If you'll send me your email address, I'll send you (free) some simple forms for noon sights for both latitude and longitude, and a few other goodies, to get you started. My email is bill at wdsg dot com

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Old 06-03-2008, 15:50   #3
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wow - beautiful Beoona Vista!

My favorite Colorado town - I spent time there when I was climbing in CO a couple of years ago - never thought of it as a sailing town, but seems like there perfect Colorado town.

I also like the Blewitt book and used the "One Day Celestial Navigation" book by Otis Brown.

Where do you sail?
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Old 06-03-2008, 16:12   #4
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We keep our boat at Dillon on a mooring. It's about an hour north. In the winter we trailer to warm destinations. This April we will be going to San Carlos MX.
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Old 06-03-2008, 19:13   #5
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I say good for you for wanting to learn celestial navigation!

Bowditch is good because it has everything you could possibly want to know but as a learning text it is not very good for that.

I learned in a classroom setting so I could not recommend a specific book but I just looked through Amazon and came across quite a few textbooks on celestial navigation. Be sure to order yourself a Nautical Almanac as well as whatever sight reduction tables they recommend. A star finder and plotting sheets are also helpful. Avoid the temptation to use a sight reduction calculator when learning...you won't learn it as well and you will be dependent on the calculator working.

Amazon.com: celestial navigation: Books
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Old 06-03-2008, 22:00   #6
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Blewitt, absolutely. But she's very tightly focused and that may be too tight by itself. Bowditch, also absolutely. It covers way more ground and can be found free online, too. Hewitt Schlereth's books, if you can find them and I haven't totally butchered his name. And Mixter's Primer of Navigation for a very nice classic textbook (a primer) that covers the whole background and puts everything together very clearly.

You'll also find some web sites dedicated to celestial, they'll give you a good start too. Often, any one author will not make sense to you, or gloss over something that stops you--but another one will be exactly what you need. So it pays to read more than one source.
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:56   #7
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Holy crap that's a lot of math. Better get brushed up first.
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Old 07-03-2008, 11:37   #8
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Math?! Math is donkey work, best left to donkeys.

Used Palm IIIxe, $35. Sight reduction software (John Manson's "Sights") $25. Total $60 for a reliable donkey that knows many other tricks. Or, free sight reduction programs to run on any PC.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:03   #9
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I'm with using all the sight reduction shortcuts and software you can get. Hated math as a kid and found out I had to learn spherical trig when I went to sea. Ugh!!! In those days real sailors has to know all the principles. At least that's what they told me!
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:12   #10
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I hear you.[g] I can do the math. Arithmetic and trig, too. Still use my "perpetual motion powered calculator" aka sliderule in the nav bag, because it never will need batteries.

But on the whole, I find that with sight reduction software there's a whole lot less chance of me making math errors, even if I'm dizzy or drugged at the time. Funny thing, the software gets the answer FASTER every time, too.[g]
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:23   #11
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Try This One

"Celestial Navigation for the Clueless" at NCsail.org

This guy wrote a very entertaining book that will get you up to speed in no time!

I've read some of the other texts out there and I liked his "this is how you do it" approach as opposed to some of the others that went way too far into the theory for my liking.

You can download a sample to see if you like it before you buy.

Good luck and good on ya for learning the way cool art of celestial navigation!

Nick
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Old 07-03-2008, 14:27   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seadogg View Post
... This guy wrote a very entertaining book that will get you up to speed in no time!
I've read some of the other texts out there and I liked his "this is how you do it" approach as opposed to some of the others that went way too far into the theory for my liking...
Notwithstanding my proclivity for understanding the theory, one should first learn/memorize the facts.
First, memorize the "times tables" (which seems to have gone out of fashion), then learn the underlying mathematical principles of multiplication & division.
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Old 07-03-2008, 14:42   #13
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I have used this in the last three classes I taught for doing a meridian passage sun sight and think it is the easiest to understand: "Celestial Navigation by H. O. 249" by John E. Milligan. If you use a simple form that you understand then all you need to do is transfer figures from the tables to the forum and do addition and subtraction.
Good luck in finding what works for you.
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Old 07-03-2008, 14:47   #14
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I agree with Gord that it does help to learn the theory. It becomes more intuitive and more interesting this way. It beats just knowing how to grind numbers which make absolutely no sense as to why. If you are going to do celestial it may as well me interesting...right?
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Old 07-03-2008, 14:59   #15
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I just received a copy of the late Bill Buckley's video on celestial navigation. He gives a nice, simple explanation of how to take sun sights and how it works. I'd recommend it.
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