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    Re: sextant without paper charts
    From: Robert Eno
    Date: 2008 Nov 3, 00:30 -0500

    Frank wrote:
    > When I first wrote that post, I typed it with HO211 as a compact method,
    > but
    > changed it to the NA method thinking that HO211 would sound archaic. If
    > you
    > could compare 211 with the tables in the almanac, do you think one is
    > clearly superior for compact tables?
    Robert responds:
    In my opinion, yes. HO 211 is superior to the concise S/R tables in the
    Nautical Almanac.
    Having said that, I should admit to one and all that I am not a particularly
    brilliant person, nor a talented navigator.
    Allow me to deviate a bit by way of an analogy: up here in Canuckistan,
    where ice hockey is the national passion, we have hockey players who are not
    high goal scorers, not particularly talented and lack the finesse of their
    more skilled team members. Nevertheless they are valuable players in that
    they make up for this lack of natural skill by sheer force of will: by
    harrying, harassing and generally making life difficult for the talent on
    the opposing team and by never giving any ground. They just keep trying and
    trying. We usually calls these players "grinders".
    I am the navigational eqivalent of a "grinder"; not very talented, with only
    a rudiment of mathematical ability and certainly no inherent brilliance. So
    in terms of sight reduction methods, I am somewhat of an acid test for what
    works and what does not; what method lends itself to easy mastery and what
    is so complex that it breeds confusion and gross errors.
    When I first attempted it, I was able to master HO 211 within an hour. I do,
    however, acknowledge that HO 211 is best used with a pre-prepared form. It
    does not really lend itself too well to back-of-the-envelope calculations.
    Still I have never found this to be an impediment.
    Frank wrote:
    > Another issue: since we're talking here strictly about navigation in a
    > dire
    > emergency, we also need to consider the possibility that the single
    > sextant
    > aboard the boat has survived, but the three to five men with navigational
    > knowledge are incapacitated. This gets us back to real lifeboat
    > navigation.
    > What minimal instructions should be included in the sextant box to get the
    > vessel to a friendly port under the assumption that no one with proper
    > training is available? This, of course, is where I would recommend
    > something
    > like "latitude AND longitude by noon Sun". That technique can be learned
    > in
    > a day by a "well-motivated" student, and you can cross an ocean with it.
    Agreed Frank. This is the simplest method, however, I maintain that HO 211
    and a handful of forms will fit neatly into a sextant case. Furthermore,
    with the right form, you don't even need to read instructions. It is just a
    matter of pulling numbers from the tables and plugging them into the form.
    As for all of the navigators being incapacitated, this reminds me of the old
    George Carlin routine where the school kids try to trip up the visiting
    priest by asking him if they have committed two sins if they fail to attend
    church on Sunday, while on a cruise ship crossing the international
    dateline....and the only priest on board goes into a coma. You really have
    to be a Catholic to appreciate the humour in that one though.
    Navigation List archive: www.fer3.com/arc
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