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    Re: book - the complete on-board celestial navigator
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2003 Mar 24, 14:32 +1100

    HGWorks - Phil Guerra wrote:
    > First, I'm not a professional navigator, just very interested in learning
    > all I can about the subject of celestial navigation.  To that end, I began
    > researching information and collecting books on navigation.  I was drawn to
    > the book you mentioned for the same reason, inclusion of an almanac for
    > 2003-2007, and hoped that this book would allow me to learn the process of
    > sight reduction.
    > I received the book, and briefly read through it.  On page 8, the author
    > states "Before studying celestial navigation, the reader must be conversant
    > with such basic navigational quantitative as latitude, longitude, azimuth,
    > etc., and be able to plot the passage of a vessel and fix its position in a
    > coastal situation.
    > Well, gee, that means I bought the wrong book, because I thought part of
    > studying a subject included not knowing something about it in the first
    > place.  While I did know the basics regarding latitude, longitude, and
    > azimuth, I am more than a little fuzzy on the etc. and plotting methods.  I
    > thought that this book would clear it up, but I was mistaken.  It is more a
    > book for an experience navigator.
    It has been said that CN is one subject most people find very difficult to
    learn from a book and I think this is broadly true. The assumption with this
    book is that the user is at least familiar with coastal nav. which includes
    plotting; essentially advancing a position across a chart or plotting sheet
    according to direction and speed. The rest you seem to have.
    Perhaps 'briefly read through it' has not done it justice. As in an earlier
    reply to Gerard Mittelstaedt (which has not been delivered to the list, there
    is a problem here) I think the best way to learn to use the book is to take it
    a little at a time and work through the examples given. Having done that, the
    Silicon Sea series (available through the archives of this list) offers much
    more practice, its a wonderful resource.
    On learning CN in general, in the 'good ole days' (which were, of course,
    anything but) essentially uneducated sailors who may have been barely able to
    write learned to navigate because they had to, and learned by rote, and did
    manage to find their way about. In these enlightened ( ! ) days, the emphasis
    is on understanding the process. This does take some mental work, and many
    people (myself included, I determinedly, but perhaps too briefly, read books
    about CN before taking a course) find this easier in a classroom situation with
    an instructor to guide the group through the process of learning and take the
    effort to make clear concepts that can be difficult to grasp.
    But having done this, what you need to practise CN is an almanac and a few
    other bits'n'pieces. What I find so great about this book is that everything
    you need has been put together in a handy format.
    There is more in my earlier reply which hopefully will appear at some time.

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