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Modern Celestial Navigation

This is not your grandparents’ celestial navigation! Celestial for the 21st-century navigator: a fast-paced introduction to celestial navigation from a modern perspective, designed especially for yachtsmen and recreational boaters. If you are thinking about bluewater sailing, celestial navigation stands as the only autonomous backup to GPS and electronic navigation. Celestial is also a tradition that connects us with maritime history.

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to adjust and use sextants available on the market today. Students will learn how to analyze and clear sextant observations using modern tools, including calculators and software apps. Weather permitting, participants will have opportunities to experiment with sextant observations as well as artificial satellite observations to determine latitude and longitude. Students will also learn how to use the sun and stars as a highly accurate compass, a technique valuable in near-shore waters as well as bluewater sailing.

This is real navigation, celestial navigation for the 21st century, not just a class about navigation. Fast and intense, students who complete this weekend workshop will have the basic celestial navigation skills necessary to double check a GPS position or to sail entirely by the sun and stars using a sextant, a handheld calculator, and a few other simple tools. Good addition and subtraction skills are required for this workshop as well as a basic familiarity with angles, as well as latitude and longitude.