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    Re: Principles and Being Practical
    From: Doug Royer
    Date: 2003 Sep 4, 16:57 -0700

    Mr. Fogg,a very well stated position.I was wondering if it was only me who
    had similar feelings on this matter.I was going to post some of my recent
    experiances during a transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic but when I
    signed back in and read the posts I decided not to.What was being discussed
    at lenght,at least to me,a professional and practical sailor,was irrelivant
    as are most of the discussions concerning squezeing accuracies less than 0.1
    nm.Fine for land sailors but not an overrideing concern at sea.
    I've had people contact me off list from time to time,and continue to
    welcome them, with questions concerning practical,real life navigation
    procedures and practices.More than one stated they were intimadated by the
    answers they read to other questions asked on list.
    I will continue to monitor the discussions.Delete them when I feel they are
    irrelivant to me.Read them when I think I can glean a nugget of information
    from them.I will contribute to the topic when able.
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Peter Fogg [mailto:ffive{at}TPG.COM.AU]
    Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2003 15:49
    Subject: Principles and Being Practical
    People learning navigation need to absorb a number of principles, necessary
    building blocks. Here are a few:
    The earth is a sphere
    1 nautical mile = 1.852 kilometres
    The fix position lies at the centre of the 'cocked hat'.
    Then as the navigator becomes more proficient, he/she learns that each of
    these propositions (and others) is rather more complicated than its most
    simple expression. However, in terms of practical navigation the
    complexities are often irrelevant.
    Recently I've noticed a number of List members dropping out. I wonder why?
    Evidently they were not finding what they hoped to find.
    The present Nav. List seems to be dominated by crabby old men who seem to
    love the detailed complexities, and take great relish in arguing about the
    number of angels able to dance on the head of a pin to an absurd and
    mind-numbing extent, in the process flaunting their superior knowledge and
    understanding. I don't have any problem with this as such, to each their
    own. On the contrary, I remain grateful to the List and all its
    contributors, you have collectively taught me a lot and I'm still learning.
    But to the extent that the List has an aim of promoting and encouraging
    traditional methods of navigation I suspect that too much of this is
    damaging and counter-productive. What it does is reinforce what many may
    have suspected all along - that nav. is all too hard, too difficult, too
    complicated, too incomprehensible, and that they might as well give up and
    rely on their GPS. This, to my mind, is a far greater potential danger than
    not knowing a fix position to some nth degree. And its not true either,
    pretty well anyone can learn the basic skills. This was proven by so many
    uneducated sailors from the days of sail who did learn, often without being
    able to read let alone knowing much about numbers. As recently appeared on
    the list: 'What's struck me as so remarkable about (Columbus and his
    navigation) is how wrong he was
    on so many things, and yet how little that aspect of his story actually
    matters to history.' Well said and very relevant.
    What to do about it? Well the stated philosophy is fine:
    'PLEASE respond with your results and thinking on these exercises to
    the NAVIGATION list at large. If you have questions or problems, A
    lot of folks on the list are knowledgeable and willing to help. Any
    questions or doubtful areas will be responded to promptly. Let us
    hear from you soon!'
    but what has happened to its practice? Some weeks ago I posted my go at one
    current Silicon Sea exercise and then details of a problem I was having with
    the one before, and I have yet to hear a peep from any expert.

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