A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Zane Grey
Date: 2019 Aug 1, 12:33 -0700
There is an older saying 'knocked into a cocked hat' of unclear origins that meant to beat something out of shape, or create an unwinable situation... This is recorded in American papers in the 1830s. Certainly by the 1900s this was a standard phrase in English. It is possible that this is the origin of the navigation 'cocked hat' as if you get one you have messed up. I can imagine a more experienced officer looking at your chart and sneering 'you've beat that into a cocked hat!'