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Old 12-08-2016, 13:46   #16
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Re: Nav without electronics book

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Originally Posted by whatknot View Post
Any know of a old (or new) on how to navigate without electronics like in the old days? I would like to learn how it was done.

"Piloting and Deadreckoning" by Shufeldt et al is the best I've found for inshore and coastal navigation.

Offshore there's a whole list of potential books that teach the various different forms of celestial navigation. The most popular form of small boat sailors seems to be HO249 and Mary Blewitt's book describing how to use it seems to have a plurality of proponents if not a majority.


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Old 12-08-2016, 15:28   #17
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Re: Nav without electronics book

Compas and sextant? Ok, add somebooks. And without the sextant, a leadline, and a trailed log, a watch and papercharts. And some tools to work the chart.. Pencil paralel ruler or triangles, dividers
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Old 12-08-2016, 16:26   #18
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Re: Nav without electronics book

get hold of Mary Blewitt's book; celestial navigation. You will also need reduction tables. We carry air navigation versions - and the last time the GPS was turned off, that I recall was the first Gulf War and we had just bought our first electronic version, a Furuno Navigator that displayed Lat/Lon, SOG and heading. Times have certainly moved on.
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Old 12-08-2016, 22:32   #19
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Re: Nav without electronics book

Simplified navigation by the sun Bill Belcher is a very good book. Hard to find copies these days.. El Pinguino on here has an excellent series of PDF's from an old article he wrote years ago. Might be worth a PM

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Old 12-08-2016, 23:54   #20
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Re: Nav without electronics book

I had an online look for this book as I think someone mentioned it before - I couldnt find anything unfortunately.
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Old 13-08-2016, 01:43   #21
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Re: Nav without electronics book

What is the value of a calculator to a child that was never taught calculus?
What is the value of electronic navigation if you don't know the first thing about navigation?

Dead reckoning isn't old school, it is basic knowledge any blue water sailor should master. Navigating using your primary instruments only is a basic skill, you should try it.
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Old 13-08-2016, 01:53   #22
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Re: Nav without electronics book

Couldnt agree more. Those of us that carry a sextant and tables just need to ensure we continue to use them to keep ourselves in practise. I tried using my Tamaya NC-77 about two years. It was fine previously by entering the date as day 99 of month 99 for the year 1999 as the unit was only programmed until 2000. I have now discovered from the website that that since 2007 it cannot be used. It really should be replaced with an NC-2100G or revert to basics.
Regardless, it shows when I last used my sextant and I now need to knuckle down and refresh myself.



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What is the value of a calculator to a child that was never taught calculus?
What is the value of electronic navigation if you don't know the first thing about navigation?

Dead reckoning isn't old school, it is basic knowledge any blue water sailor should master. Navigating using your primary instruments only is a basic skill, you should try it.
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Old 13-08-2016, 14:00   #23
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Re: Nav without electronics book

Polaris (or S.X ... ) and a good log. Most of the time, a precomputed single heading will make a reasonable landfall.
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Old 13-08-2016, 15:03   #24
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Re: Nav without electronics book

.....and a good log! Spot on. We still have a boxed Walker taff rail log - never used cos Ive worried that something big shall scoff the spinner - and come to think of it Im not sure where the box is. Time to think about testing myself again. It shall probably take hours to reduce a sight.



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Polaris (or S.X ... ) and a good log. Most of the time, a precomputed single heading will make a reasonable landfall.
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Old 13-08-2016, 15:24   #25
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Re: Nav without electronics book

Nice to see so much interest in this! Both from new sailors, & more seasoned folks.

Bowditch's was one of the primaries at the US Naval Academy for quite a while. Not sure if they still are. But I've still got mine from when I was there, circa late '80s.
https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ANathaniel% 20Bowditch

Most of it's just common sense, well, the position finding bits anyway. And I can't honestly see serious sailors not knowing the stuff. Especially consistently keeping a good DR plot, regardless of what electronics you do or don't have.
Celestial's a bit tougher, but it's good to know the basics of that too. The biggest sticking point with it is staying in practice.

One other thing which you might find of interest is the way that the ancient Polynesians used to (& still do) navigate, sans instruments, while doing trans-oceanic voyages.

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You can download a copy of Bowditch's American Practical Navigator here: United States. Hydrographic Office | The Online Books Page
Also useful pubs.
A am a navy trained navigator and still practice. A sextant takes some skill to get an accurate fix and then is nowhere near GPS. On a stable ship, a really good fix is within a mile. Also, it's a series of fixes, morning stars, morning sun, local apparent noon, afternoon sun, evening stars, and moon shots if available. Previous line of positions brought are forward like a running fix and added to current fix.
Taking a course would probably give better results. Many colleges have night courses and business that sell sextants often have classes.
Thanks for this link! And I'd concur with most of what you said above. Though getting a sextant fix down to a mile speaks of real expertise to me. But I've only used them on sailboats, not shipboard.
Also, yes, taking a class does tend to make learning celestial easier... if, you have a good instructor.

As, for example, they made us learn all of the theoretical stuff first. Such as how to do the calc's the long way, by hand, sans calculator. Where one tiny mistake destroys 15min+ of work.
Only after doing this for a couple of months did we even see a sextant live. Ugh!

The insanity being that I can, & have, explained the basics to people in a couple of minutes. So don't let it intimidate you. It's basically geometry, if one distills things down.
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Old 13-08-2016, 16:00   #26
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Re: Nav without electronics book

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Simplified navigation by the sun Bill Belcher is a very good book. Hard to find copies these days.. El Pinguino on here has an excellent series of PDF's from an old article he wrote years ago. Might be worth a PM
...
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Old 13-08-2016, 16:05   #27
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Re: Nav without electronics book

Great question....and I agree with others...learning the basics is not "old school" but just common sense!

From teaching navigation at a sailing school to studies at Marine College up to Master Mariner level, I have acquired a whole library of navigation textbooks.

However, if I could recommend just one book to take .... both as a navigation Primer and a tease into all topics a Captain should consider.

It would be this thin book written in layman's terms by a seasoned commercial mariner:

http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/2106171...ersion=NBD3946
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Old 13-08-2016, 16:16   #28
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Re: Nav without electronics book

I took CYA Coastal Nav maybe 5 years ago - this is their entry-level nav course - and (besides the buoys and markers stuff) it was just about all maps and plots and DR, even in this age of GPS. I imagine just about all decent sailing school (US Sailing, RYA etc) nav courses would do the same.
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Old 13-08-2016, 16:32   #29
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Re: Nav without electronics book

You can take the NauticEd Navigation course online for either cheap or free... covers all the details with a practical exercise and recommends the plotters, dividers, compass, etc. tools that you need.

Best and cheapest intro to manual marine navigation I have seen, the hard part is integrating tides and currents with traditional navigation.
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