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    Re: suggestion for a satisfactory celnav narrative
    From: Andrew Corl
    Date: 2005 Jun 1, 13:47 -0400

    Dear Frank, Courtney, Jim, and anyone else who cares to read this
    >How many books  constitute a plethora?  More seriously, which books have
    >you enjoyed?  Which did you find less satisfactory? Can you pinpoint any
    >features that worked  or didn't work for you??
    For me a plethora of books is over a dozen, and portions of a dozen more.
    Specific things that did or did not work out is hard to pinpoint.  I would
    come to a point where I was frustrated and throw a book across the room.
    What I need for learning is a sort of step by step process to do things.
    Once I have the process down and can reference one statement, I should be
    able to do fine with my navigation.
    Courtney wrote:
    >" I'd like to suggest a group project  of
    >composing a "minimal" narrative of the essentials of  celestial
    >navigation "
    Frank wrote:
    It's feasible but first you have to define:  what is the 'minimal' narrative
    of celestial navigation? Latitude and longitude by Noon Sun can be taught in
    one long afternoon. That's 'minimal' and you can sail around the world using
    it (if you're feeling reckless and choose to leave your GPS at home). But
    most navigators who learned the art of celestial navigation in the late 20th
    century would be repelled by this choice of 'minimal' cel nav because they
    learned, what I call, "apex celestial navigation"--the extremely stable set
    of celestial navigation tools and ideas that appeared c.1958 and lasted
    through the obsolescence of the system four decades later.  This "apex
    celestial" takes maybe 8 or 10 long afternoons to learn, and it's naturally
    much more involved. Do you need that? Does the student sitting next to you
    need that? And the one sitting next to him??
    My Reply:
    For Courtney, I am raising my hand to help with this.  Don't know what I can
    do but here is a list of techniques I feel should be in the manual:
    Dead Reckoning
    Latitude by Noon Sun
    Longitude using a shortwave radio and the noon sun
    Sextant operation and how to determine the elevation above the horizon of
    the sun, moon, star, and planet
    Sight reduction using H.O. 249 - method I am presently learning
    Sight reduction doing all the math (the "apex of celestial navigation"
    according to Frank)
    Feel free to add to it as any and all feel necessary.
    For Frank, I don't think we are attempting to come up with the definitive
    text on Celestial Navigation.  What I envision this being is a simple and
    accurate manual explaining what to do where numbers come from etc., and
    maybe not so much emphasis on the theory as to why things work, just that
    they do work. Again, I will echo Courtney's comments and operate on the
    assumption that we are adults and know something about safety.
    Frank wrote:
    Generally speaking, there are a thousand different students with a thousand
    different skill-sets and  educational backgrounds to bring to bear, and each
    of those has different goals,  too. For each of them, there is a unique,
    ideal 'minimal narrative'. Maybe we need an expert system that builds a
    textbook based on each student's answers to a dozen questions (I'm serious
    --that's a real possibility). In the absence of the perfect text for every
    student, there are numerous books that do an excellent job of reaching some
    large fraction of celestial navigation student 'population'. Three I can
    think of:
    Howell's "Practical Celestial  Navigation"
    Whitney and Wright's "Learn to Navigate" (by the tutorial system  developed
    at Harvard)
    Mixter's "Primer of Navigation"
    But that's just  three out of dozens and dozens of options...
    My reply:
    Yes there are a thousand different students with a thousand different skill
    sets, but let's see if we can come up with something simple and easy to use
    that is at least a start to wet the whistle of the interested novice and
    challenge the expert to help us all.  As to your suggestion of answers to a
    dozen different questions, yes I think that is a wonderful idea and should
    be put together by those of you who are experts, I am not.  The list of
    three texts you have suggested, I will look into to help me with my own
    problems, who knows maybe one of those will be a "Holy Grail" and suddenly I
    will see the light and all will become clear.
    As I said Courtney I am raising my hand to help with this and will attempt
    to come up with an outline for some of the problems I am having.  As I get
    things written I will post them somewhere (not that far yet) and let all of
    you "shred" I mean edit the document.

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