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    Re: Role of CN at sea
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2004 Oct 15, 11:09 +0000

    Carl Herzog wrote:
    > As the editor of Reed's Nautical Almanacs for North America and the
    > Caribbean, I was forced this year to make the decision to stop publishing
    > celestial data. In 2000, we eliminated the tables from our books, but
    > continued to offer them as a free separate volume to any Reed's reader who
    > asked for one. Of the tens of thousands of books we sell from Alaska to
    > Trinidad to Nova Scotia, our request for ephemerides slipped to about 150
    > this year. How many of those folks were actually using them is a figure I
    > could only guess at.
    That is very sad news. If only 150 of us were asking for the supplement,
    it cannot be economic to produce it and the end of the publication is
    inevitable. Still, it was the only option I know of that provided a
    complete and self-contained set of ephemeris and sight-reduction tables
    that could be slipped into a reasonably-sized pocket. I could (and have)
    taken plastic sextant and Reeds ephemeris in airline checked baggage
    when flying to a sailing vacation and then entertained myself with a
    celestial fix. That is going to be much more awkward to do after this year.
    Carl also wrote:
    > I expect that the practice of celestial navigation at sea will increasingly
    > be constrained to sail training vessels. Like learning square-rig
    > seamanship, celestial's math requirements and the discipline of the day's
    > work will continue to offer young people valuable lessons that go beyond
    > practical results.
    I would like to think that that was true but I have made three trips on
    sail-training vessels, including one on "Kruzenshtern" with her full
    complement of cadets in training for professional careers at sea, and I
    have never seen a sextant in use on any of them.
    I fear that, in the modern world, much of the tradition of the sea will
    only be kept alive by amateurs for their own amusement.
    Trevor Kenchington
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus{at}iStar.ca
    Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
                         Science Serving the Fisheries

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