Reccomended book for beginner on celestial navigation?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Corley, May 10, 2012.

  1. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    Recommended book for beginner on celestial navigation?

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to a good reference on celestial navigation. Also curious as to recommended basic sextants to use as a learning tool (apologies found the sextant thread that question is answered)
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  2. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    Mary Blewitt's

    Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen is on my bookshelf and often recommended.
     
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The nautical almanac has the tables with explanations.
     
  4. wallabycreek
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    wallabycreek New Member

    The American Practical Navigator

    The absolute best book ever written is "THE AMERICAN PRACTICAL NAVIGATOR"
    I have seen it at Amazon.com as a kindle edition for around $7 and paperback for $20.
    Start with this and you will learn everything you ever need to know and you will be sure that the information is correct.
    Happy sailing!
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I really depends on what you want. If you want the full bells and whistles approach, there are many texts on the subject. But if you want to learn how to find your way, with the sun and moon and a simple tool, skipping all the fuss, try George Buehler's book "How to find where you are . . .", as it does away with the technical stuff and just shows how to use a sextant.
     
  6. wallabycreek
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    wallabycreek New Member

    The other yon need is "Around The World Sailing Guide" at Amazon .com
     
  7. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    Thank you for recommending this book I've been reading and taking it in over the last week. A really excellent reference for all navigational methods.
     
  8. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I started with a Davis plastic sextant, It came with real simple instruction even a idiot could understand.

    I found it a bit difficult at first.
     
  9. pcfithian
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    pcfithian Junior Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A few weeks ago I decided to learn celestial navigation to determine my location without the use of a GPS or electrical power. Here's what I used, check it out if interested in this fascinating subject.

    These tools and reference materials will allow you to take sextant sights, reduce them to lines of position, and plot them to figure out where you are.

    I'm getting more practice, but it really is not that hard. It's amazing that all this information is available for free on the web.

    Celestial Navigation Learning Tools
    - Davis Mark 15 sextant
    - Davis Artificial Horizon
    - Long Term Almanac (Geoffrey Kolbe), showing sun and stars GHA & Dec until 2050. Includes sight reduction tables to determine Hc and Zn without a calculator
    - Plotting tools and sheets (http://celestial-navigation-course.c...6/page1613.php)
    - A good watch (Casio Wave Wave Ceptor with atomic time updating)

    Of all the reference materials I have found, these three have been the best:

    http://mysite.verizon.net/milkyway99/id1.html
    http://celestial-navigation-course.com/start_course.php
    http://www.celnav.de/

    The iPhone apps Timestamp and Sight Calc have been very helpful in the learning process as well.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    You need a stop watch . set your sextant angle to an appropriate non fraction number. say 27 degrees 13 minutes, no fractions. With a rising sun... waite until the lower limb is on the non fraction number ... then click the STOP WATCH. Waite for your chronometer to advance to an even number. 9 h 27 min 00 sec or whatever .. then click the stop watch..subtract the stop watch time 45sec or whatever from chronometer time to get time of observation. Dont chase the sun with sextant adjustments. Fix the sextant and let the sun rise or fall onto your setting. This procedure eliminates math and recording mistakes

    Do three quick sets of observations. Say three minutes apart. Then reduce the sights.

    Learn how to make plotting sheets on standard lined paper so that you can keep all your LOPs in a workbook

    HO 249 air sight reduction tables are easiest to use. They were designed to use on the pilots knee. Compact HO 208 tables also work well.

    Long time since Ive used the sextant in anger.
     
  11. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Plotting sheet construction. Creating latitude and longitude on standard lined paper.

    http://[​IMG] image ru
     
  12. pcfithian
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    pcfithian Junior Member

    Good point on making up the plot sheets on plain paper. I've got a pad of graph paper in my navigation kit to do that.

    My plan would be to use the iPhone app Sight Calc or by scientific calculator for the reductions. But I am also learning also how to do the sight reduction manually via the NAO Sight Reduction Tables in the Kolbe Long Term Almanac.

    The advantage of Kolbe's book is that it is a single, compact reference with sun/star almanac good to 2050 along with the sight reduction tables. With it, a sextant, and a watch, lines of position can be developed without any further reference. My intent was to learn this one system, elimintating the need for futher references to be carried on board, keeping in mind also that all of this is for GPS backup anyway.

    And if Local Apparent Noon sights are used, there is no need for any of these references to determine Lat/Lon.

    Here's a link to the Kolbe LTA: http://www.amazon.com/Long-Term-Alm...97021&sr=8-1&keywords=kolbe long term almanac
     
  13. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Its probably HO 208. These are the classic small craft tables. One book...70 or 80 pages .

    Nothing wrong with Ipad reduction. Its very fast. This speed will improve your sight taking technique. Repeatable Technique is everything

    You will always need celestial navigation books onboard. Ive done hundreds of sights but still manage to forget something...ie the perpetual almanac or time and day by lunar distance.

    As a student or navigation a fantastic book is John Letcher , " self contained celestial navigation with HO 208 ". Get a copy...You will keep it with you always.
     
  14. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    When sailing with a sextant you rarely get a FIX..you will get a dozen LOPs each day. Noon sights are nice...no sun due to clouds ? then you must fall back on LOPs.

    An LOP shot when the sun is east or west gives longitude.
     

  15. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    And with your artificial horizon. If you experience any frustration with the mirror style, use a can filled to the brim with olive oil as an artificial horizon. Self leveling and versatile. This is how I learned in school
     
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