I've been told that build, buy and make ready or buy used and refit/upgrade it's a ten year project
more often than not. 1997 to 2010 I've managed to do it twice. But the individual job time estimate is spot on!
From my exalted position on the bridge of freighters or tankers we can see roughly 12 miles to a hull
up target much further on a 'good' day to see the mast
and house of another commercial
ship. Occasionally the othr ship or boat rises a a mirage, changing color, appearing and disappearing, even upside down.
Most, the vast majority of the time what we see is the apparent horizon. The real one is rarely seen. And when the sun goes down what you see as the sun setting is always a mirage the real sunset has already occured.
The enjoyment is chasing green flash and it's more elusive cousins (mulitples, blue or violet and those in the morning and other such atmospheric phenomena. Moon Bow for example.
As for the five degree error there are several good books
the best of which is Emergency Navigation
by Dave Burch on the subject. Relying on only one method of navigation
be it GPS
is the Being able to navigate without either of those two instruments is the stuff of good sailors.
I'm off to 7 degrees south roughly 76 degrees East home of the 777 band which plays at a local seaman's club. Where? You've got 65 or so days to figure it out. And thanks for all the good posts.