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    Re: Joshua Slocum's navigational methods
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2005 Apr 17, 13:02 -0400

    On Apr 17, 2005, at 5:04 AM, George Huxtable wrote:
    > Frank Reed revisits the question of Slocum's navigation.
    > I was (somewhat reluctantly) convinced by his arguments, in that
    > earlier
    > correspondence in 2003, to the effect that there's no evidence of more
    > than
    > a single lunar-distance observation in Slocum's whole
    > circumnavigation. And
    > in describing that observation, Slocum showed such delight and pride
    > in it,
    > that if he had taken other lunars on other legs of the voyage, he would
    > surely have at least mentioned them.
    > So I now agree with Frank, that over Slocum's solo voyaging, there's no
    > further evidence of reliance on lunars than that one example.
    Yes, I agree the only evidence for a lunar in Slocum's book is that one
    observation in mid Pacific.  However, I believe the reason Slocum
    showed such delight and pride in it was that he also uncovered an error
    in his tables due to the strong disagreement between his initial
    calculated position and his DR position.
    Frank Reed responded to this argument claiming that Slocum had not
    uncovered an error in the table but rather had merely corrected a
    blunder.  I see no reason to suppose that Frank's claim is true, but
    rather prefer to take Slocum at his word.
    Given that lunars are a rather difficult observation and involve a
    different computation than usual, I believe that Slocum was performing
    them on a regular basis, which is what gave him the confidence to
    believe that the error he describes fell in the tables rather than in
    his observations or in his calculations, such that he could uncover the
    source of the error in the first place.

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