A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Byron Franklin
Date: 2010 Nov 29, 09:14 -0800
• I am happy to see the three Arm protractor and horizontal Sextant on Navlist. Piloting has always been my favorite subject. My opinion has always been that far from hazardous waters most navigators can shoot stars and navigate the ship, but in hazardous waters with a large ship and crew, and large amount of oil and possibly nuclear the very best experienced navigator must be used. He must be accurate and quick, even with the pilot on board he must safely control the ship (for the pilot is advice only to the ship, and controls the tugs as needed.) l like to tell sea stories of my experiences in various ships but one of my favorite sea-stories, is about GITMO Cuba and the exercises and training that happened there in the past. I know now that GITMO is largely storage for ememes of our country. At one time Gitmo was a training command for Naval ships that have been in the Repair Yards for a long time. While In the Yards the crew is greatly reduced in personnel and of course get no sea duty practice, after the yard period the ship will have a largely new Crew that have never worked together and many new to the sea . The idea is to send the ship to GITMO to ensure their readiness and ability to carry out their mission. In 1969 I was transferred to the aircraft carrier Intrepid after she had gotten out of the Naval Yards in Philadelphia. Intrepid of course was scheduled to go to GITMO for the underway training and inspection. On my first trip out, I found that the Intrepid had a one pt. Five degree gyro error (using my “Franklin Piloting Technique,) usually the gyro is reset in the yards by yard personnel and should not have the error. You're not allowed to run training in GITMO with the gyro in error. I ensure to the Captain that I could handle the gyro so that GITMO would even not even know that we had problems. I knew because of past experience they (GITMO) would have you get under way and navigate normally with bearings and chart plots and then they would state “ your Gyro is down” you would have to jump to another system to maintain your plot to their standard. The idea was they would teach you another way to safely navigate if you could not get a fix. I have been there many times before in various ships and I would be prepared for them to break my equipment and quickly shift to another way of navigating. Before leaving home port to GITMO I had prepared to use “Fry’s Table from CAPT Lecky’s. Wrinkes in navigation” to get my fix.
My luck was with me, I was reading a magazine to my daughter and I noted a statement and a drawing stating “an angle from the circumference of a circle is one half the angles to the center of the circle. This gave me an idea that I did not need Fry table, I hoped to show GITMO a new way and gain their confidence and high score for the ship's ability to handle any Navigation situation. Before leaving Rhode Island We trained and tried this new idea. We got underway for our trip to GITMO, At GITMO. The first underway test, we use the bearings and plot on the chart as normal. The instructor stated your” Gyro is down,” We jumped into using the Sextant and the three armed protractor. After several fixes, they stated your three armed protractor is broken we immediately jumped to our new system which was several diagrams on the chart between two sets of NAVAIDS, using a compass with lead I scribed circles that intersected for our position as we move out the harbor. They had never seen this before with the new design that I had placed on the harbor chart, they stopped the exercise and inspected and asked questions about the design on the chart, and gave us an outstanding grade... After the GITMO exercises we came back up to Rhode Island and I wrote to Mr. Brown “the head navigation sciences that is the editor Bowditch.”
• This was in 1969. As a reward for this and my “Franklin piloting technique” Both appeared in the 1977 Bowditch. I received a copy of HO.9 from the oceanographic Office with my name printed in gold, I thought this quite a deal. My old written correspondence with Mr. Brown has been lost but the pictures that I drew on board the Intrepid, I still have and will include with this message. I don't really expect anyone to use this but they may find it very interesting and those people who pilot ships need all the background and knowledge they can possibly have to safely bring ships into and out of dangerous hazardous waters. The 1977 Bowditch has lots of information on sextant angles and most important NAVAID selection.
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