Originally Posted by boatman61
I guess folks were more intuitive back then. also they were not as obsessed with pinpoint accuracy... one made as accurate a general direction as calculably possible then made adjustments as/when visble marks appeared to confirm ones position on the chart... working within errors was a way of life
Pretty much how I sail today... when GPS dies...
Well I think not just intuitive but using many more tools than most modern navigators.
First, navigators in Slocum's time kept really good DR plots, knew the tides and currents and allowed for set, leeway, etc. so good sailors in that time could keep a better DR position than the average sailor today.
They also used a lot of indirect clues for landfall like observing bird species and time and direction of flight, cloud formations, blink (reflection of light or color from ice, land or shallow water
banks), sea weed, water
Then there were a lot of practices to allow for uncertainty in navigation
like heaving to or standing off at night or in poor visibility, allowing wide berth to hazards, a lot of heaving the lead, etc.
All in all, a lot more work that modern sailors who can sit back and look at the plotter.