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Assumed position

Every now and then I receive a call from some soul who wants to learn celestial navigation. I don't usually teach the practice, but the theory is essential to understanding how it all works. Once we begin a course of instruction, I expect they will stay the course until they “get it.” This could be an arduous process both for teacher and student for any number of reasons.

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The foundations of good seamanship

In the 18th and 19th centuries, sailors who lived long, unscathed lives were thought to be blessed with luck.

Approaching the dock

For six months of the year I run a boat, spending a great deal of time at the dock. While there, I have the opportunity to see how others — both power-boaters and sailors — dock their boats. Sad to say that of every ten boaters tying up, perhaps 2 percent have any clue as to what they’re doing.

Predicting planets

The Nautical Almanac is full of so much information that it requires a Baedeker for the novice — and that includes those who have used the book many times. Most celestial navigators primarily take observations of the sun and become familiar with the daily sun pages and all the ephemera having to do with sun sights.

The ultimate Wi-Fi hotspot

With the technological leaps in modern transportation and communications we tend to think of our world as a pretty small place, however with the recent disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 souls on board it turns out this is only the case when we maintain an electronic communications leash. Cut that leash and the largest man-carrying vehicles can disappear into a figurative black hole. The latest Iridium product, known as GO, short for Global Online, aims to help with this problem.

The equation of time

Mention the phrase “equation of time,” and most people will probably think you are speaking of some obscure economic formula that has to do with life expectancy versus retirement income. But we celestial navigators we know better. Or do we?

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