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    Re: Role of CN at sea, was Re: Averaging sights ...
    From: Lisa Fiene
    Date: 2004 Oct 13, 07:19 +1000

    We have on our yacht a GPS, spare hand held GPS, and yet we still value
    the practice of CN.  Personally, I feel it amazing that so many cruisers
    head off into the unknown relying totally on electronics.
    We're planning a passage to the Louisiades next season and yes, we'll be
    taking our morning noon and twilight sights also, plotting them on our
    sheets, checking our position against the GPS.  Our attitude is that the
    GPS is a backup, not the other way around.
    CarlZog wrote:
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Jim Thompson" 
    >> 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:
    > I spent the last week at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland,
    > USA.
    > I spoke with hundreds of recreational sailors, ranging from beginning
    > cruisers to offshore veterans. A few people exressed dismay at the decline
    > of celestial navigation, but they too admitted that they had not relied on
    > celestial as a means of navigation in decades, if ever.
    > 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.
    > While our publications primarily serve recreational sailors and smaller
    > commercial workboat operators, I would estimate that the practice of
    > celestial nav among the world's ocean-going merchant fleets is now also
    > zero.
    > As you've indicated, the only people using a sextant these days are
    > doing so
    > as a hobby, and it would seem that many of those hobbyists are shooting
    > from
    > locations ashore -- an activity whose entertainment value escapes me.
    > 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.
    > Carl Herzog
    > Providence, Rhode Island
    Kind regards
    Lisa Fiene
    CopyCare Pacific Pty Ltd
    Lizard Tunes
    ABN 93 101 046 888
    PO Box 314 Ourimbah NSW 2258
    Phone/Fax: (02) 43 627 583
    International: 61-2-43 627 583
    E-mail: lisa{at}copycarepacific.com
    Web: www.copycare.com/content/local/ccpaceng.asp

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