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    Re: Patrick O'Brian characters discuss time and longitude
    From: Don Seltzer
    Date: 2016 Jul 1, 09:15 -0400

    On Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 10:53 AM, Bob Goethe <NoReply_Goethe@fer3.com> wrote:

    (While doing blockade duty,) Hornblower himself found mental exercise in working out navigational problems. Conditions were ideal for taking lunar observations, and by their aid it was possible to arrive at an accurate determination of longitude — a subject of debate since the days of the Carthaginians — at the cost of endless calculations. Hornblower was determined to perfect himself in this method, and his officers and young gentlemen bewailed the decision, for they, too, had to make lunar observations and work out the resulting sums. The longitude of the Little Girls was calculated on board the Hotspur a hundred times that summer, with nearly a hundred different results.

    Hornblower and the Hotspur
    C. S. Forester

    The very first HH novel was Beat to Quarters, or The Happy Return (although chronologically it takes place a few years after Hotspur).  Just about the first thing we learn about Hornblower is his skill as a navigator.  Making a perfect landfall on the west coast of Central America after seven months without touching land, the last eleven weeks not even in sight of any land, and using lunars to correct his chronometers.  The only false note perhaps being the multiple chronometers.  In 1807, a frigate would be fortunate in being issued a single chronometer by the Admiralty.  An additional instrument would have been purchased by the captain.  Captain Hornblower was notoriously unlucky in prize money and had barely enough money to fund his own pantry.

    Don Seltzer
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