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    Re: celestial racing class
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2011 Sep 17, 20:29 -0700

    Patrick,

    The Marion-Bermuda race is the only one that I have noticed that has a celestial navigation option, but I have assumed that there must be others. Anyone know? I think it's a great way to promote traditional navigation --make a game out of it. From what I understand, though, the real "electronic" advantage in modern ocean racing is optimization for winds and currents. A vessel that cuts a little west based on satellite data on the Gulf Stream can ride the southbound current in an eddy and gain ten or twenty miles over a vessel that ends of in the northbound current on the other side of the eddy. I've been told that there are services that provide all sorts of information for racing optimization. Are the "non-electronic" vessels allowed to use weather and current optimization information? Or are they required to leave that all behind, too?

    By the way, as far as I understand (and I haven't spoken to anyone about it in four years), there's no requirement that the calculations be done without electronics --only the observations. So it's sextants and iPads all the way to Bermuda. :) As has always been the case with celestial navigation, it's not the methods that you have to worry about --they definitely work. It's the weather. With a voyage as short as Marion to Bermuda, you could easily find that you can't get a celestial fix for a couple of days out of the trip, even in June.

    -FER


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