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    Emergency navigation
    From: Mal Misuraca
    Date: 1997 Dec 10, 10:33 AM

      It's November 24, 1997, and you are enroute across the South Pacific to
    Papeete via the Tuamotus.
    
      An hour ago, one of your crew was on deck with the handheld GPS, your
    sole means of navigation, and dropped it overboard.  You've spent that
    hour rummaging around in the boat, but have found no sextant.  You have a
    1977 nautical almanac, a short wave radio, and some vague recollections
    about celestial navigation.
    
      You look in the log and are ashamed to find very little.  GPS lulled
    you; you'd turn it on, note course and distance, and turn it off.  The
    last fix you wrote down put you about 1200 miles northeast of the
    Pallisers, part of the Tuamotu chain, where a friend told you that he
    would leave some casks of fresh water at Tahanea, 16 deg 50 min South,
    144 deg 45 min West.  For the past few days, you've been pushing south,
    then a little west, trying to get a comfortable ride in the swell, and
    you are not quite sure of where you are except that you must be about 700
    miles northeast of Tahanea.  You don't know the course and distance,
    except to say Tahanea lies southwest.
    
      You're at a loss for the moment, with no sextant.  As you idly leaf
    through the almanac, trying to remember enough to jump start you to what
    to do, you come across something in the back of the book that catches
    your eye, then has you sitting up straight and thinking that this might
    work out after all.  Within a few hours, you are on your way to Tahanea
    with a course and rough distance and are busily looking forward to that
    water your friend left and to figuring out how to go on to Papeete from
    Tahanea.
    
      What did you find in the back of the almanac that gave you a means of
    emergency navigation to Tahanea?  (Hint:  Take this seriously.)
    
      Please send in your ideas or proposed solutions.  A solution will
    appear here in about seven days.
    
      Mal Misuraca
      Passage East, Sausalito
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