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The only celestial race trophy

Jun 27, 2014

The Marion Bermuda Race is one of the few offshore races that continues to award a celestial navigation trophy for race navigators who navigate by sextant. And now, in an effort to help more racers give celestial navigation a try, the Marion Bermuda Race Committee is offering teaching sessions at the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, Mass. The sessions will be run by Ron Wisner, past winner of the race's celestial trophy and a former Ocean Navigator celestial seminar student.

Ron Wisner commented via email on his Ocean Navigator seminar experience: "It was definitely the Ocean Navigator course that honed my celestial skills in preparation for the Marion Bermuda race last year and has been the inspiration for the promotion of the uniqueness of that race and of preserving that skill among sailors.
"I firmly believe anyone who calls themselves an offshore sailor must have celestial navigation as a core skill. The Ocean Navigator method of teaching with pencil and paper reductions is essential and supports my own belief that if you do celestial navigation it should be done by hand, without a computer. The point is to really master it, not be reliant on yet on other electronic crutch. Many thanks for your support, especially after the course was over when we continued our correspondence with emails."
Ron further added: "I have successfully persuaded the race committee to increase the scoring credit for celestial boats from the  original 2% to 3%, a 50% increase. If the race takes an average of 100 hours to complete, the celestial rating will now take three hours off your time. Many a cruising boat which considered itself too slow to be competitive in any other race should consider taking the celestial advantage. This is, in fact, the whole point of promoting the unique celestial aspect of the Marion Bermuda race. We hope to get boats to the starting line who might not otherwise compete. "

Ron is a personable celestial navigation enthusiast who will help you get a handle on this knowledge. Navigating by celestial is fun and very satisfying — it provides a great feeling of self-sufficiency.  

From the press release: The Marion Bermuda Race is the ONLY offshore race with an official celestial class and trophy. While the race officially sanctioned electronic navigation in the 70's, many of our new and returning entrants choose the extra challenges of navigating by the sun, moon and stars. 

Learning celestial navigation can be a bit daunting, but we're here to help. There will be informal celestial workshops held through the summer on Sunday afternoons, once a month at the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, MA from 16:00 to 18:00. The dates are 6/29, 7/27, 8/17 and 9/28. Future dates to be announced. These will be hands-on gatherings to help navigators with sextant handling, sight reductions, becoming familiar with the almanac and reduction tables, etc.

Please RSVP RSVP to Ron Wisner at hotspurii@yahoo.com for each session you plan to attend. In addition, the Marion Bermuda Race has made celestial mentors available for you. Please contact Ron Wisner or Editor@marionbermuda.com to be paired with an experienced celestial navigator who can help answer any questions or coach you through learning this incredible skill. 

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