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  1. #11
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    Oct 2005
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    Dunno, lost the plot.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelleSerene View Post
    A genius observation (OK, sorry, that was sarcastic.) So you learned about astro but couldn't get past the second chapter of TC's book which is notable for its simplicity - but you blame the author not yourself for your incomprehension?!

    And you point to an alleged error in the book (most have at least one) to support your theory that the problem can't lie with you?!

    I'm sure your English teacher in primary school once made a spelling mistake too.
    It's a pretty basic error in the book and to spot it you have to actually know someting about astro. It refers you to the wrong table.

    If you are trying to learn astro you are unlikely to spot it and will be thoroughly thrown.
    Orrabest
    Duncan

  2. #12
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    Sep 2009
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    Gibraltar, RGYC.
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    Quote Originally Posted by duncanmack View Post
    It's a pretty basic error in the book and to spot it you have to actually know someting about astro. It refers you to the wrong table.

    If you are trying to learn astro you are unlikely to spot it and will be thoroughly thrown.
    Yes, I agree. But as you get more and more proficient with practice, so any error is immediately spotted as you go along.

    Finally, when you become super proficient you can fix your position at sea at night just by looking at the heavens and working things out in your head.

    When you can do this, then you know you have really arrived as a skilled navigator.

  3. #13
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    Aug 2009
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    Scotland.
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    Phew - this post and the other post really kicks up some verbal warfare on astro. Lets all chill out here.

    I never thought that GPS or astro was such a contentious issue! Why?

  4. #14
    timbartlett Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlowingOldBoots View Post
    I never thought that GPS or astro was such a contentious issue! Why?
    I can't explain why there seems to be so much animosity involved, but the fact that there are two fairly lively threads on Astro strikes me as a good thing. Maybe it's a sign that a few people are at last beginning to come out of the woodwork and admit that "simple" and "easy" can very quickly become "boring" or "tedious".
    Maybe sailing really was more interesting in the days when changing down a headsail involved dragging a sailbag along a sidedeck, and fumbling with piston hanks, rather than pulling a bit of string in the cockpit; and when finding the right bit of France -- more or less when you expected to see it -- felt like a personal triumph.
    Aye, we were lucky ... but tell that to young people today and they'd never believe you.

  5. #15
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    Aug 2005
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    Here, yah fule
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    Quote Originally Posted by timbartlett View Post
    I can't explain why there seems to be so much animosity involved
    The animosity never helps those of us that can't decide if it's worth learning this ancient art, it would be so much more pleasant if people just gave advice without some of the sniping seen here. Only recently developed an interest in the subject and so far I've seen nothing that helps decide what to do in this thread I'm afraid. It's similar to the latest one about anchors, where I can't take seriously any advice from someone only interested in selling his own brand. Not aimed at anyone promoting any book even if it is their own, just in case anyone takes offence. All I want to know is how to do it, the cheapest possible way

  6. #16
    timbartlett Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixpence View Post
    The animosity never helps those of us that can't decide if it's worth learning this ancient art, it would be so much more pleasant if people just gave advice without some of the sniping seen here. Only recently developed an interest in the subject and so far I've seen nothing that helps decide what to do in this thread I'm afraid. It's similar to the latest one about anchors, where I can't take seriously any advice from someone only interested in selling his own brand. Not aimed at anyone promoting any book even if it is their own, just in case anyone takes offence. All I want to know is how to do it, the cheapest possible way
    Definitely NOT promoting any particular book, not even my own.
    Personally, I would suggest that to get going, you use a metal sextant (because although they cost about twice as much as plastic ones, they are much nicer to use, and a much higher resale value if you decide not to pass yours on as a family heirloom.
    Use Air sight reduction tables because they are readily available, and are more compact and user friendly than nautical ones. And they are the ones that most instructors will teach on.
    Use either the official Nautical Almanac or the Reeds Astro Almanac. The Reeds one is cheaper and more compact, but slightly more difficult to use.
    If you've got a modern quartz watch, you don't need a chronometer.
    Personally, I don't like Sight Reduction Forms, but its a matter of personal choice. And any old bit of paper makes a perfect plotting sheet -- just copy the scales of lat and long from any nautical chart that covers the same latitude.
    Does that help?

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Thanks for the feedback Tim, and yes it does help. However the cost of any half decent sextant is enough to put me off as they are quite simply, too expensive. There is no way I could afford one. Did find this site which shows how to build one with readily available components though
    http://www.tecepe.com.br/nav/CDSextantProject.htm
    So whilst it may be worth making one to give it a go, and maybe look at sticking a good one on my xmas pressie list, even if I had the cash for one now I couldn't justify the expense.
    Realised it was your book mentioned too, which is why I clarified that no offense was intended. Others seem to like the book enough to suggest it as good reading material so may well add that to my pressie list too.
    Feedback on the cd sextant idea would be good

  8. #18
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    Sep 2009
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    There are two versions of The Nautical Almanack, one is published in the UK by HMSO and available from Kelvin Hughes.

    The other is an American version, identical, but it is smaller and the print is very small.

    Of the two, I have always subscribed to the British version, as it is larger and much clearer.

    As the data does not significantly change from the past year to the current year, in some cases you can use last years copy with very little difference.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Grey Havens Marina - Elves pontoon
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    All I want to know is how to do it, the cheapest possible way
    Dave, I've been there - and I still AM there.

    The cheapest possible way to learn astro - if you really have that bug - is to crew for someone else who has the kit on board, but can't be bovvered.

    I'd recommend that approach to you anyway, not just for astro, 'cos there's lots you can learn when someone else is doing the fretting. And being on the East Coast ( sort of ), there will be lots of local boat owners with traditional vessels, traditional kit, and traditional know-how.

    You'll still have to wipe the cobwebs off the sextant box.

    Most marine cadets learned the art during a several years' apprenticeship at sea. They used the battered old ship's sextant to learn Vertical Sextant Angle Distance Off, using all the headlands and lighthouses they passed in the coastal trade, then Horizontal Sextant Angle Fixes. By the time they got out of sight of land, they knew how to keep the device in good nick. That took time and a fair number of 'clipped ears'.

    By the time they were getting ready for their Third Mate's Ticket exam, they had months if not years of practice under their belts. Getting the observations was then the hard part. Reducing them was comparatively easy. Plotting them was not an issue. They did that kind of stuff all day, every day.

    Today, it seems we have it mostly the other way around....

    Astro is not the most significant issue around. Weather forecasts are .....


  10. #20
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    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by VO5 View Post
    There are two versions of The Nautical Almanack,

    As the data does not significantly change from the past year to the current year, in some cases you can use last years copy with very little difference.
    Oooooh!

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