A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: suggestion for a satisfactory celnav narrative
From: Courtney Thomas
Date: 2005 Jun 1, 11:07 -0500
From: Courtney Thomas
Date: 2005 Jun 1, 11:07 -0500
Frank, Please see inserted comments: On Tue, 2005-05-31 at 21:32, Frank Reed wrote: > "As one who has struggled with a plethora of publications that purport to > convey the celnav gospel" > > 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?? In my case, a plethora is more than I own and remember examining, none of which was satisfactory in meeting what I have attempted to describe as successful in conveying a succinct and unified view of the essentials of celnav as currently practised by navigators whose motives are efficiency and accuracy suitable for their perceived notion of safety, i.e. avoiding historical or theoretical considerations [other than those necessary for comprehension of the minimal skill set], for example. > > " I'd like to suggest a group project of > composing a "minimal" narrative of the essentials of celestial > navigation " > > It's feasible but first you have to define: what is the 'minimal' narrative > of celestial navigation? When I used the word minimal in this context, [one reason I put it in quotes] was that the intent was not to define it but rather imply that it should meet the group's idea of minimal, not mine. I implied that... ONLY my idea of minimal would be inadequate, and anticipated your objections but apparently failed to accomplish even that :-) Anyway, I realize a "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" approach will never land, but...a landfall IS doable however, if objectives are initially set out that provide a suitable baseline, though am certain all will never be satisfied with even a baseline :-) That's the reason for the suggested bibliography and the disclaimer regarding being included in "theological" debate. > 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). I assume I'm talking to adults and therefore it's unnecessary to tout safety. > 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 initial email was addressed to those, such as yourself, whose knowledge and experience far exceeds my own, with the hope that such individuals would collaborate to minimally, meet my hoped for objectives avoiding an exegesis that would be excessive, daunting and so elaborate as to obscure the stated criteria, thus causing avoidable obfuscation for those, such as myself, whose desires and needs are defined in the project goal, as initially stated. > > 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). I'm most hopeful that you will actually contribute such a desirable mechanism to the group's formulation of a celnav project, as proposed. > In the absence of the perfect text for every student, That's another reason I propose creating a group defined and supported skill set that, at least, meets, in it's judgment and collective wisdom, the -> initially proposed minimal criteria and objectives <-. Anything more is fine, but let's at least and first, meet that standard and in the wiki tradition, and for other purposes, later, permit accretions to other ends. In that, to my knowledge, even this minimal objective hasn't been done, satisfying the stated criteria, I assume even it to be burdensome and therefore.... to initially exceed this relatively modest proposal... is counter productive and presumably over-ambitious,.. in that no one has even stepped forward offering to be group coordinator for this minimal goal. I hope it is not perceived as hypocrisy in my own case, as I am unqualified and will be gone for the summer besides. Volunteers ? > 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" ^ | Better than most, in my experience, but, for many, a mini-career, especially considering all the other material a competent sailor needs to digest. Cordially, Courtney > But that's just three out of dozens and dozens of options... > > -FER > 42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N 72.1W. > www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars