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Old 03-10-2015, 12:17   #1
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Learning Celestial Navigation?

Best book for learning the basics of celestial nav? Preferably from actual experience...

Thanks
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:34   #2
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

Bowditch, or better yet take a course from your local United States Power Squadron, (ups.org)
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:49   #3
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

I bought a copy of Mary Blewitt's book Celestial Navigation for Yachtsman a nautical almanac and HO249 and learned it on my own with no problems.

Others have criticized Blewitt as out of date, difficult and recommended other books but I had no problems and that one worked fine for me.
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Old 03-10-2015, 13:22   #4
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

I can't agree with Bowditch though IT IS "The Bible". It is comprehensive but not easy for most novices to follow.
Self-Taught Navigation by Robert Kittredge. Described on the cover as 'Ten easy steps to celestial navigation' and it is. I used it in 1979 to learn the basics quickly.


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Old 03-10-2015, 13:50   #5
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

I learned from books written for bridge officers BUT later when sailing pleasure boats I found many less elaborate sources way easier to understand and apply.

I still have this one onboard: "The Complete Onboard Celestial Navigator" by George Bennett and if I were to start from scratch this is the book I would read first.

Important: learning celestial navigation is all about taking sights and calculating the LOPs. A book is just a book. As long as you know what you are looking for and how to get it, grab your sextant, your watch and your almanac and exercise, exercise then exercise even more. Same as if you were learning salsa, French or biking. It is the practical skill that counts.

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Old 03-10-2015, 14:06   #6
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

It is good to see there is still interest in learning Celestial Navigation. Celestial makes you realize there IS order in all this chaos we are in. I learned at an Ocean Navigator class some years ago, and also used Blewett. After learning, you need to keep practicing to stay proficient.
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Old 03-10-2015, 14:15   #7
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

Doing it now with "A Star to Steer By". ASA 107 course. So far, it's been great.


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Old 04-10-2015, 13:05   #8
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy View Post
I can't agree with Bowditch though IT IS "The Bible". It is comprehensive but not easy for most novices to follow.
Self-Taught Navigation by Robert Kittredge. Described on the cover as 'Ten easy steps to celestial navigation' and it is. I used it in 1979 to learn the basics quickly.
Kittredge is the other book I was thinking about that is often recommended. Seems like the majority of cruisers that taught themselves celestial back in the olden days IE before GPS, started with Blewitt or Kittredge.
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Old 04-10-2015, 13:14   #9
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by malyea View Post
Best book for learning the basics of celestial nav? Preferably from actual experience...

Thanks
You could have a looksee here.... Some Celestial Stuff
even I can understand it
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Old 04-10-2015, 13:26   #10
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

Great advice as usual, thanks to all!
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Old 04-10-2015, 14:34   #11
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

I second Randy's suggestion on "Ten easy steps." That was our primer when we left Seward, AK, for Seattle, none of us knew celestial on departure, but all of us were competent by the time we reach Seattle, for 6 crew.
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:42   #12
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

The simplest, and fastest way to learn to use a sextant is located here:
http://www.backbearing.com/files/Sex...sers-Guide.pdf
It's completely free to download.
You can also use the site reduction form, plotting sheet and Almanac also provided on the backbearing.com site.

You will be finding yourself in less than 1 hour. I guarantee it! (That's why I wrote it.)
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Old 06-10-2015, 05:14   #13
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foolish View Post
The simplest, and fastest way to learn to use a sextant is located here:
http://www.backbearing.com/files/Sex...sers-Guide.pdf
It's completely free to download.
You can also use the site reduction form, plotting sheet and Almanac also provided on the backbearing.com site.

You will be finding yourself in less than 1 hour. I guarantee it! (That's why I wrote it.)
Thanks, looks like a great product.
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Old 06-10-2015, 07:50   #14
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

In my case, it really made things simple to learn once I understood that it is all about finding the bearing and distance between two waypoints: the one where we believe we are (our Assumed Position: lat, long) and the one where the observed body "would fall on the Earth" (e.g. dec, GHA).

Making large scale drawings helps me heaps too ("so here WPT I think I am, here is the Sun WPT, here is my long lat and there is the Sun's long lat (GHA, dec), so now here is my bearing (Azimuth) and here is my distance, and what I measured on the sextant compared to the distance btw the WPTs gives me the distance from here I thought I was...). A piece of paper and a pencil, some imagination and the minimum of drawing skills suffice.

CN is truly a very simple thing. And not any worse than Sudoku to keep your brain sharp.

b.
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Old 06-10-2015, 08:34   #15
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Re: Learning Celestial Navigation?

Celestial Navigation by Tom Cunliffe and a 35 day passage worked for me.
I think most any book would work if you are actually taking sights and doing the math.In my case I had enough time to make every possible mistake and figure out where I went wrong. I think I'd need a 60 day passage if all I had was Bowditch.
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