A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2014 Nov 19, 08:46 -0800
Jackson, you wrote:
"It would be possible -- and not imprudent -- for L'Hermione to make this transatlantic passage using 18th-century navigational methods while simultaneously using GPS to verify celestial lines of position and fixes, and radar and AIS for collision avoidance."
I am quite confident that there will be folks aboard who will practice "traditional" late 20th century celestial navigation including "celestial lines of position and fixes". And as far as the "cameras" are concerned, anything with a sextant, even one manufactured last year, is "oldy timey" and historical. But will anyone practice the type of navigation that would have actually been used in 1780? Maybe at least for a few demonstrations... I'm sure they've thought of it. It's all just for show, of course. The real navigation will be one hundred percent 21st century, given the value of the ship and her passengers.
When I introduced myself to classes and other programs this fall, I explained that I was the celestial navigator on the 38th voyage of the Charles W. Morgan last summer. After the "oohs" and "aahs" subside (one group even applauded!), I laugh and explain the limitations and qualifications of that statement. The ship was actually navigated using GPS and radar and there was a little office full of laptops in the stern. And of course, I was only aboard for a day and in that period we were never out of sight of land. Though I did shoot lots of sights of the Sun and some sights of Mars and Saturn and even a few lunars the night before, not a bit of it was used for navigation. It would have been irresponsible and more than a little silly to navigate the Morgan using celestial navigation and other traditional navigation methods.