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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    6,684

    Default Cunliffe's star gazing book

    Has anyone had any experience with reading/learning celestial nav with Tom Cunliffe's

    "Celestial Navigation: Learn How to Master One of the Oldest Mariner's Arts"

    Is it any good?
    Alternatives?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Shotley
    Posts
    948

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    I have not found any individual books which have successfully informed me, step by step, what to do to plot my position.

    The TC book is ok, it starts promisingly but he veers off into unexplained waffle.
    I have found it neccessary to buy or borrow several different books and piece the method together.
    The main problem ( and I found this on the RYA Ocean Theory course as well) is that it is psychologically impossible for an experienced astro navigator to remember how baffling the method is, they are simply unable to explain it in simple enough ways.
    This problem is not confined to navigation of course.
    My advice is to do a seach on Amazon and cheaply buy a wide variety of the available books and find what suits you, because I doubt you will be able to hit on one particular author and go from zero to hero without getting stuck and needing things explained by another voice.
    The TC astro book is incorporated in his book Ocean Sailing or similar title, which has some useful bits about TRS strategy etc, better value for you perhaps.
    There are free online resources as well, a bit of googling should yield some free learning material.
    "Now shall the gentleman haul and draw with the mariner"
    John Hawkins

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlantic
    Posts
    21,781

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    Tom Cunliffe book is excellent and ive usedbit many many times to help students with their Astro exams.
    A similar book also excellent by Tim Bartlett has a slightly different approach.
    I use a combination of the two to give the best guidance.
    It is a completely different style of navigating and takes some longer than others to get hold of the concepts. In truth thougg
    Hits far from complicated and all instructors have their styles of helping. Everyone realises how this can be challenging in the beginning.
    I would advise against the often lauded Mary Blewitt book as for nearly everyone, its far too complicated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Home: North West, Boat: The Clyde
    Posts
    3,764

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    Quote Originally Posted by Ohlin Karcher View Post
    The main problem ( and I found this on the RYA Ocean Theory course as well) is that it is psychologically impossible for an experienced astro navigator to remember how baffling the method is, they are simply unable to explain it in simple enough ways.
    I can teach the theory course so thanks for your feedback 😢

    My preferred text book is “Ocean Yachtmaster” published by Adlard Coles. My background is mechanical engineering and I find that this book is written and presented in a logical and progressive way,

    There are many such books, of course. Not everyone can successfully self-learn Celestial navigation. I don’t think that the method is particularly difficult but it does take a bit of time and effort for the penny to drop. I don’t think on-line learning is the best platform for this, either. Most people need a helping hand in order to grasp the concept.

    The RYA has this year refreshed the Ocean course materials and they are a big improvement. The course content remains unchanged but the supporting materials have made a leap forward.

    The vast majority of yachtsman celestial navigation uses the sun. The full RYA course covers sun, planets, moon, selected stars and Polaris. It also covers other topics such as route planning, passage planning, weather, coms etc etc.

    In a couple of (day) sessions with an instructor, it should be possible to gain a good understanding of the method to take a sun sight and reduce it to a position line.

    If applying for YM Ocean CoC, the candidate must have the Shorebased course completion certificate or be prepared to sit a 90 minute (iirc) exam paper which could cover anything from within the course.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines
    Posts
    10,409

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    I learned using MR Rantzen’s “Little Ship Astronavigation”. It is certainly old fashioned now. Those of us who learned from this book can be identified as we tote round copies of the NP 401 / HO 229 tables.

    My son, a professional navigator, was taught from the Admiralty Manual of Navigation, Volume Two. It’s expensive but really excellent because it explains what is going on in a way that I can understand.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Emsworth Hants
    Posts
    12,682

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    I wanted an astro book because I had a sextant and wanted to use it over the Atlantic, I found Tom Cunliife's book difficult to understand but Mary Bloor's was much easier. Even easier is astro calculation software which I also had.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2,376

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    Quote Originally Posted by davidjackson View Post
    I can teach the theory course so thanks for your feedback ��

    My preferred text book is “Ocean Yachtmaster” published by Adlard Coles. My background is mechanical engineering and I find that this book is written and presented in a logical and progressive way,

    There are many such books, of course. Not everyone can successfully self-learn Celestial navigation. I don’t think that the method is particularly difficult but it does take a bit of time and effort for the penny to drop. I don’t think on-line learning is the best platform for this, either. Most people need a helping hand in order to grasp the concept.

    The RYA has this year refreshed the Ocean course materials and they are a big improvement. The course content remains unchanged but the supporting materials have made a leap forward.

    The vast majority of yachtsman celestial navigation uses the sun. The full RYA course covers sun, planets, moon, selected stars and Polaris. It also covers other topics such as route planning, passage planning, weather, coms etc etc.

    In a couple of (day) sessions with an instructor, it should be possible to gain a good understanding of the method to take a sun sight and reduce it to a position line.

    If applying for YM Ocean CoC, the candidate must have the Shorebased course completion certificate or be prepared to sit a 90 minute (iirc) exam paper which could cover anything from within the course.
    Are there any recommended "distance learning" sites for Ocean Yachtmaster theory?

    TS

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlantic
    Posts
    21,781

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    Quote Originally Posted by tudorsailor View Post
    Are there any recommended "distance learning" sites for Ocean Yachtmaster theory?

    TS
    Yes. Try Navathome. Their feedback is generally excellent.
    Declaring my interest......mrs sensible is one of their three online staff. Smiley.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Scotland.
    Posts
    14,511

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    Quote Originally Posted by KellysEye View Post
    ...... Mary Bloor's was much easier. .....
    Correction for anyone who wants to look it up, Mary Blewitt, yes it's a good book.
    "'...contradictions .... are deliberate exercises in doublethink." Orwell from 1984

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Atacama
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Cunliffe's star gazing book

    This may do the job for some ... https://www.dropbox.com/s/a5blh1rgvi...ation.pdf?dl=0

    Written by a simple sailorman for simple sailormen....

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