$140

Celestial Navigation in the Age of Sail

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Community Boating, Inc.

21 David G Mugar Way

Boston, MA 02114

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Implementing 19th century celestial navigation in the modern world and looking in detail at the history of celestial navigation.

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A fast-paced introductory TWO DAY workshop in the history and the actual techniques of celestial navigation as it was practiced aboard American vessels in the Age of Sail. We'll learn how to take sights and work calculations, especially as done aboard New England whaleships in the 19th century. Examining original logbooks and navigational calculations from voyages of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan, we'll apply these same methods to modern navigation.

In this class, we'll learn how to use and adjust sextants and octants, both historical instruments and their modern equivalents, and we'll learn the classic method of finding latitude by "Noon Sun". We'll also cover in detail the math of the "time sight" for finding longitude. Throughout, we will compare what we're doing with actual logbook entries and calculations in the collections of Mystic Seaport, bringing historical documents to life. We'll also discuss celestial navigation options for upcoming ocean races with celestial classifications including Annapolis-Bermuda, Marion-Bermuda, and others.

Weather permitting, students will have opportunities to make actual sextant observations. This is real navigation, not just a class "about" navigation. Fast and intense, students who complete this class will have the basic celestial navigation skills to cross any ocean using the Sun, a sextant, and a few other simple tools, drawn directly from the 19th century.

  • Taught by Frank Reed, a gifted teacher and a recent guest expert in celestial navigation on Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk science talk show on The National Geographic Channel.
  • Saturday & Sunday, 10am-4pm both days.
  • Requirements: Basic addition and subtraction. A good understanding of latitude and longitude on the globe.
  • Recommended for ages 18 and up, students as young as age 13 welcome.
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Community Boating, Inc.

21 David G Mugar Way

Boston, MA 02114

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