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    Re: Precision of lunars
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2007 Apr 29, 13:37 +1000
    George wrote:

    No, the remnants of the "lunar brigade" would have been the small trading
    vessels, making port-to-port passages under sail across the oceans. Brigs
    and schooners of 100 tons or so, parish-rigged, which still existed in
    profusion in the second half of the 19th century, scraping a living in the
    slowly-dying days of sail. Vessels which kept going by avoiding any
    unnecessary expense; when one chronometer might have been afforded, but
    backups would be out of the question. Those are the vessels where a lunarian
    might still be found on board. And those are the vessels that tended to be
    neglected by museums and by history. I wonder how many, from that category,
    are represented by logs in the Mystic collection. Perhaps there are indeed
    many, in which case Frank's evidence from those logs carries some weight.

    It seems to me that this is little more than speculation and wishful thinking on George's part, and thus tends to detract from the other valid points he makes. My own readings about such vessels, written typically by crew members, indicates a general dearth of much sophistication when it came to navigation. Often they seemed to make their way via little more than some form of dead reckoning, assisted by experience and instinct. Lunars were far beyond them.

    Either they were too difficult or they were perceived to be too difficult. Same thing, really, in terms of the practical effect.



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