A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2020 Feb 9, 16:25 -0800
A few quick comments...
For those of you considering joining the forum at celestialnavigation.info who are worried that it might be something "shady", no, it is not. Those emails you received (if you did) were legitimate albeit somewhat misleading. It's a legitimate offering from Celestaire. Its purpose is to help grow their business. It's a marketing function. It may well develop into something more, and given Celestaire's large mailing list that may happen quickly.
People who get started in celestial navigation often have no idea where to turn. Some of them would certainly start in an online forum run by the people who sold them their tools. Others find their way to the NavList community, which is, of course, by far the world's most successful celestial navigation community. There used to be a group on yahoo, but message traffic there faded to low levels years ago, and yahoo recently closed public groups (or rather turned them all into private groups).
Where else might one turn to learn more? Naturally people look for local classes, and the folks I see in my celestial navigation classes include a few people I have met first online, but mostly they are an entirely distinct set with no overlap. Other new students/fans of celestial navigation look first on standard social media, and for this subject, the only choice seems to be Facebook. There are a few different celestial navigation groups on FB. I have managed one since 2011. It has grown steadily, but it's nothing like NavList communication. There's value in the lighter chat that happens there, but it's a different animal. And yet many Facebook members would never even consider venturing outside the walled garden built by Mr. Zuckerberg (which is why it's so easy to con people on Facebook... safety is an illusion).
I wouldn't discourage anyone from joining Celestaire's new online community, as long as you understand what it is.
I said something that I would like to apologize for in my original response on this topic. I said that Ken Gebhart, Jr. (son of the founder of Celestaire) has no background in celestial navigation "by his own admission". He did say something to that effect in an email, but that was maybe two or three years ago. Of course, as we all know, in a few years of hard work anyone can become quite knowledgeable in the subject. Celestial navigation can be challenging, but it's not rocket science. For all I know, he's now an expert! Even if he's only half an expert, that's plenty good enough to manage an online community.
Clockwork Mapping / ReedNavigation.com
Conanicut Island USA
PS: Speaking of classes, just to update everyone, I have a session of "Modern Celestial Navigation" in Boston in two weeks which is very nearly sold out (I expect it to be sold out by Wednesday). After that I have "Celestial Navigation in the Age of Sail" (historical 19th century) at Mystic Seaport, "Traditional Celestial Navigation" (intercept method, Pub249, standard Nautical Almanac, etc.) in Boston, followed by two more sessions of "Modern Celestial" (one each in Mystic and Boston) and "Lunars" at Mystic Seaport in May. All of these are weekend workshops. Details on my website as usual. Other workshops will be added at other venues later in the Spring.