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    Re: Role of CN at sea, was Re: Averaging sights ...
    From: C.L. Holm
    Date: 2004 Oct 7, 18:21 -0400
    Re: Role of CN at sea, was RE: Averaging sights ...

    Reminds me:  In about 1980, I was the navigator on a Navy P-3A trans-lant from Rota Spain to Jacksonville Florida. The plane was an empty truck with no mission equipment an almost no long-range nav gear. No inertial nav, no doppler, a weak Tacan/Vor and an ADF receiver. It had an old Loran A (coffee grinder wheels) and a sextant. I was able to use sun lines for course corrections and later in the afternoon it swung around so I could also estimate arrival at the ADIZ without getting a flight violation. The actual ADIZ penetration happened to be down an almost constant Loran line so I wasn't more than about 5 miles off course at the end. I have never been as nervous or scared, even flying off carriers at night. The rest of the flight crew had no clue how hard it was, and of course being the $€¥£-hot naval aviator that I was, I never let on. 


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Jim Thompson <jim2{at}JIMTHOMPSON.NET>
    Sent: Thu Oct 07 18:04:24 2004
    Subject: Role of CN at sea, was RE: Averaging sights ..

    The posts by Doug and Trevor got me remembering.  I guess I must be entering
    that stage of life where one thinks, "when I was...", and begins to record
    life experiences before the data vanish with the person.  My navigating
    experiences are all coastal.

    1971-72: When I was a deckhand on CCGS Alexander Henry on the Lakes in
    1971-72, I recall the mates positioning the ship to drop navigational buoys
    using horizontal sextant shore sights.  I can't recall how they navigated
    across the open water, but I presume they used land-based radio systems like
    Loran or Decca, plus radar.  I doubt that they used CN.

    1976-81: We used Loran and radar when I was commercial fishing and later a
    biologist in the Pacific off British Columbia in 1976-81.  I don't recall
    seeing a sextant used on any of the commercial fishing or government ships
    that I sailed on.

    1987: My residency director and I flew his Lake Buccaneer from Alberta to
    California in 1987 using RDF methods, mainly flying VOR to VOR with radar
    flight-following.  The Loran system was becoming more reliable in that
    inland part of North America, and I recall him proudly showing off his
    receiver as we flew along.

    1995: I first played with a handheld GPS, on an ambulance in Alberta.  They
    were becoming popular with amateurs.

    1999: We removed the Loran system from our recreational coastal cruiser,
    leaving a GPS chartplotter that had been installed a few years earlier.  I
    later added radar.  GPS was expanding in the recreational and coastal
    fishing fleets.  Nobody I knew could use a sextant.

    2004: Every boat in the marina seems to have GPS now.  All the bigger boats
    have radar.  This summer we heard a position report for a Pan-Pan given only
    in Loran coordinates, but that's rare.  More often people read the Lat/Long
    position from a GPS.  I know only 3 people who practice backyard CN on
    Prince Edward Island, all of them having learned the art in the past year or
    two.  In the last 5 years I have never met anyone in person who has actually
    navigated by relying on CN. although I have talked with acquaintenances who
    tried a few sights on ocean passages in recreational boats.  They found it
    difficult to set up for sight-taking when other chores or rest times took
    priority.  A Coast Guard cadet at the College in Sydney learned CN from
    Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons before joining the Coast Guard, but says he
    is pretty rusty now. Most recreational boaters simply do not have the time
    it takes to learn CN, even if they are strongly motivated to do so.

    Jim Thompson
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