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    Re: Celestial Navigation on the wane?
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2006 Dec 31, 11:44 -0800

    I think these two points of view do not contradict to each other:
    
    > On 12/29/06 10:51 PM, "Frank Reed"  wrote:
    > > There is very little interest
    > > today in "nautical astronomy" or "traditional marine navigation"...
    > > It's only a small exaggeration to
    > > say that it's "just us".
    
    Ken replied:
    
    > We (at Celestaire) are
    > seeing sextant, nautical almanac, sight reduction tables and CN calculator
    > sales all up over previous years.
    
    I think that Cel Nav is really practiced very little now.
    The sales of Celestaire (and Navastro and Freiberger etc.)
    are due to "education". I mean that various Naval Academies
    and sailing schools mostly buy the stuff. Like the Almanac or Astra
    sextants.
    (More affluent sailing schools buy Freibergers and C+P's, less affluent
    buy Davis and othe rplastic sextants.
    
    The reason why sailing schools and Naval academies buy this stuff is
    that there are examinations everywhere in the world in the Cel Nav.
    Well, as a professional educatror, I know that the purpose of most
    examinations
    is NOT to test any practical skills needed for some particular
    profession.
    The purpose is very different... (this discussion may lead us very far
    away from the
    list stated topic, so I do not go into it).
    
    In the middle of XIX century, they did have examinations in Lunars,
    though
    Lunars had already no practical use. (If they EVER had any practical
    use,
    I think this can be still a subject of research:-)
    
    Cel Nav in XX century is like the Lunars in XIX century, it
    is probably only "practiced" by very few people like some members of
    this list, and maybe by few other enthusiasts who have no convenient
    access
    to the Internet and thus to this list. I would be very surprised if the
    number
    of practitioners is more than 50 in the whole world.
    
    Again, this does not contradict the fact that sextants and almanacs are
    sold in 1000's.
    Some people pay $1000  and more on e-bay for a XIX century sextant of a
    famous maker,
    and many of them probably even to dot know where is the up side of a
    sextant,
    and what exactly you do with it.
    
    This does not apply to Astras and SNO's and almanacs of course.
    These items are bought by schools, for training for examinations.
    
    Almost every summer I sail with a German sailing training schoool.
    Most of my ship mates are training for some examination for some
    certificate. They are taught some
    practical skills, true. But they are also taught some completely
    obsolete subjects
    like Cel Nav, or tide prediction from the "Admiralty tables",
    or compass adjustment for deviation. So I am sure these
    Admiralty tables are also sold well, though they are as out of date as
    the Lunars.
    
    Alex.
    
    
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