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    Re: Slocum's lunars
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2003 Dec 14, 09:15 -0500

    The most parsimonious explanation is that Slocum was bragging about
    correcting the tables and bragging about doing so correctly, thus he
    mentioned the lunar and its close correspondence to his DR, which also
    allowed him to brag about that.  He doesn't mention sun sights often,
    but I bet he made them often.  I think it's a stretch to say he sailed
    half way round the world and then tried a lunar.
    Fred Hebard
    On Dec 13, 2003, at 4:37 PM, Frank Reed wrote:
    > Hello Jan,
    > Would you agree that Slocum was saying that he took only ONE lunar on
    > the run from Juan Fernandez to the Marquesas? Otherwise, why would he
    > marvel at the fact that the two positions (by DR and by lunar) were in
    > such close agreement... What would you describe as his motivation for
    > doing this sight at this time? What did you think of my speculation
    > that he was getting stir crazy (a little "cabin fever") from the
    > length and boredom of that passage. His description of the sights
    > appears to suggest that he sighted land almost immediately after doing
    > his lunar.
    > There are certain long legs in his voyage where we know by his own
    > words that Slocum did no lunars (crossing the Atlantic on the first
    > leg, for example). There are others where the evidence is strongly
    > against lunars. It appears, from my reading, that he did only one on
    > that 46 day run from Juan Fernandez. Where are the holes? When did he
    > sneak them in?
    > Regarding he word "science", here's another issue to consider: the
    > lunar distance method was intended to be almost a "rote" activity
    > --something that a navigator could be trained to do, robotically-- and
    > it would be IF he was in practice. By contrast, detecting an offshore
    > current and thus determining one's longitude requires a degree of
    > knowledge of the behavior of the oceans. Now here's the tough
    > question: at the close of the 19th century, which one would have been
    > called "science"?
    > Frank E. Reed
    > [X] Mystic, Connecticut
    > [ ] Chicago, Illinois

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