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    Re: Sight reduction method history
    From: Don Seltzer
    Date: 2013 Nov 5, 16:21 -0800

    I have researched some of the early 19th century logs for the Constitution. The earliest log is for the first crossing of the Atlantic by the Constitution in 1803, under the command of Edward Preble. As best I can tell, it was entirely by noon latitude sights and dead reckoning for longitude. By the time they reached Spain, their reckoned position was off by 213 nautical miles. After landfall, there were no further entries for latitude and longitude as they cruised the Mediterranean. Instead, there was the notation 'sailing by chart'.

    The next trans-Atlantic voyage was in 1810, with Isaac Hull commanding on a diplomatic mission to France, England, and Holland. Surprisingly, there are no notations of latitude or longitude.

    The first chronometer aboard Constitution may have been in 1813. There is a passing reference to Capt Bainbridge having one, but it appears that he did not utilize it for navigation.

    When Charles Stewart took command, he wrote to the Sec of the Navy that he was bringing the chronometer from USS Constellation. Beginning in February 1814, there are frequent entries for longitude by chronometer. There are also occasional entries for longitude by observation. These seem to be near times of first and last quarter moons, suggesting that they are lunars.

    Regarding HMS Rose, the late 20th century 'replica' frigate, it is probable that modern electronic have been the primary means of navigation.

    Don Seltzer

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