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    Re: Navigation in Boats
    From: Richard B. Emerson
    Date: 1999 Aug 09, 7:05 AM

    TOM LEE writes:
     > Well, here goes. In about 2 weeks, I will have the opportunity to crew on a
     > boat from SF to Hawaii (not the navigator). I am just beginning to
     > understand the celestial process, but don't quite know how to go from the
     > sight to the plot, and don't understand the "plot yet - like how does that
     > angled line a piece of paper relate to my chart (I can see the smiles).
     > Anyway, knowing that I cannot become proficient enough in all that is
     > probably required, can anyone suggest a course of action to me that will
     > profitably use this opportunity to further my grasp of celstial. My goal to
     > be able to navigate offshore with GPS as my back-up. HF is availble on this
     > boat - anyone want to be availble for questions and help during the passage?
     > I have my own sextant and an Almanac and HO229; I am very dangerous with
     > them all. Ideas and thoughts anyone?
     > Tom Lee
     > trelee@hotmail.com
     > S/V Sea Salter
     > Alberg 37
     > OPPORTUNITY: "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take".
    I sincerely hope I'm not mis-reading your message and that there is a
    navigator with a little more experience on board, too.  The question
    you're asking is central to offshore navigation and not something
    picked up hurredly two weeks before stepping off on a major passage.
    If nothing else, you need a copy of Bowditch and ocean plotting sheets
    appropriate for the trip or at least a few pads of Universal Plotting
    There are actually precious few texts that pull together LOP's and the
    overall business of keeping a plot going.  If you're lucky enough to
    find a copy of John Budlong's "Sky and Sextant" (grab "Shore and
    Sextant", too, if you find it) from a used book dealer, grab it.
    Budlong's out of print but the books are seen occasionally in used
    bookstores that handle marine titles.  While you're hunting, a
    two-volume edition of Bowditch from the 80's (the stuff you care about
    is handled a little better in the larger edition - electronic nav is a
    little dated but that's about it; Bowditch was shrunken to one volume
    as a cost cutting move).
    For openers, rely on the GPS data and back it up with Sun lines.  If
    the data from the GPS and your shots agree within 5-10 miles, you can
    start to have more faith in your celestial work.
    Blue water sailing, however, involves far more than doing something
    with a GPS or sextant, announcing "we are here", and marching on.
    There are issues such as currents, weather systems, and so on that
    take some skill, too.
    If you're not the primary navigator, my apologies for the

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