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    Re: Ocean swells for direction
    From: Gerard Mittelstaedt
    Date: 2004 Feb 17, 22:56 -0600

     I think the "feel" phenomena is most easily used in smaller
    vessels. If one is at sea for any length of time, far enough
    out to be away from the confused reflected wave patterns near
    the coast one will, when on a course, feel the motion of
    the hull.  If the helmsman changes course much at all the
    feel is different.  Its rhythm.
     One time when I was dead tired, and the only crew member
    who could stand watch (aboard a 30 ft. Tahiti ketch in the
    Gulf of Mexico) was a young and inexperienced hand.
    I just handed him the tiller and asked him to continue
    on the existing course while I got a couple of hours of
    sleep.  I just flopped down on the deck, so as to be
    immediately available in case of need.  Well, the first
    thing he did was to gauge the swell wrong and take the
    top of a swell and "slush" it down the side deck, where
    I was laying.  I could tell he did not have the rhythm
    worked out yet... and the warm Gulf water in a wave about
    an inch high on deck surged past me... and I went back
    to sleep where I lay.  He eventually either got the
    rhythm or not.... probably did as I can't remember
    getting soaked a second time.
     Concerning the feel using sensitive parts of male
    anatomy... What I remember was that the navigator/helmsman
    felt the subtle rhythm with his privates leaning against
    the stern post!  That's a lot of trust that a rogue wave
    won't be coming past!
     I expect that that level of sensitivity is not really
    needed to hold a position relative to the primary swell.
    I also guess that a real master could feel secondary
    swell from another direction.
    Renee Mattie wrote:
    > Keith Williams says
    > > > Dr David Lewis gave details of traditional navigation
    > > > in the Pacific in several books  ... the best way to
    > > > sense swells is to stand up and let the swing of your
    > > > testes tell you...
    > Seriously -- can anyone report first-hand experience
    > with this (so to speak) seat-of-the-pants method?
    > Or quote a primary source?
    > This is the first time I have ever come across a
    > LITERAL claim that one must "have balls" to get
    > the job done. As an aspiring navigator, should I be
    > concerned about the lack of this valuable piece
    > of navigational equipment? :-)
    > Perhaps I'll do OK.  I came across this article:
    > http://leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu/org/pvs/navigate/navigate.html
    > stating that a Polynesian master navigator by the
    > name of Mau claims he can sense the orientation of the
    > canoe to the swells even while lying down inside a hull.
    > Renee
    Gerard Mittelstaedt    mitt@hiline.net
    McAllen, Texas

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