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The foundations of good seamanship

The foundations of good seamanship

In the 18th and 19th centuries, sailors who lived long, unscathed lives were thought to be blessed with luck. With good historical accuracy, Patrick O’Brian in his Aubrey/Maturin series of books has his characters follow his hero — the lucky Jack Aubrey — from ship to ship, partly because Jack seems to be imbued with this quality. Sailors today are not so superstitious; they know that good seamanship is often the source of much good luck.

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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?

Boat Beacon

I recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy Centura (an Android-powered smartphone) for my wife Thelma. They are truly amazing high technology devices, but what’s more amazing is the multitudinous apps that can be downloaded either free or for a nominal fee.

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