Ocean Navigator’s Celestial Navigation Seminar

Celestial navigation has an undeserved reputation for being difficult, but can be learned in a weekend. It provides sailors with a great deal of self-reliance — a big part of offshore sailing — and can be a lifesaving skill when your power or instruments fail.

It’s time to improve your fundamental seamanship skills. Join the Marion Bermuda Race Team for an Introduction to Celestial Navigation Seminar Presented by Ocean Navigator School of Seamanship at the Sippican Women’s Club in Marion, MA on May 4 – 5, 2013.

This seminar is a hands-on course covering basic celestial theory, sight reduction of sun, moon, planets, stars, and specialty sights of certain bodies, like the noon sun sight and latitude by Polaris. The seminar goes hand in hand with the Celestial Navigation Division of the Marion Bermuda Race starting June 14th and is perfect for any sailors contemplating an ocean crossing or a cruising adventure.

The class covers related topics such as time and time zones, sight planning, sextant accessories and offshore navigation plotting techniques, especially dead reckoning. Practical plotting of each kind of sight, as well as celestial running fixes, is covered in detail. Sextant use is discussed during one session, but no sights actually are taken during the class.

The emphasis is on practical use of celestial navigation, with plenty of pencil and paper work. (Up to a dozen sights are reduced and plotted during the weekend, with numerous additional exercises.) using H.O. 249 and H.O. 229 in conjunction with the Nautical Almanac.

Students will find the Introduction to Celestial Navigation seminar to be a comprehensive, yet fast-paced, celestial navigation course. Over the past dozen years, alumni have navigated in Marion-Bermuda Races (even won on occasion!) and have made numerous celestial-only ocean crossings.

A review of basic navigation concepts such as chart work, plotting, true to magnetic course conversion, DR, time/speed/distance, etc. is recommended.

For those who have had no previous exposure to the subject reading one of the following books before the seminar would be helpful: Celestial Navigation in a Nutshell by Hewitt Schlereth or The Celestial Navigation Mystery Solved by David Owen Bell (Landfall Navigation 203-851-3176 http://www.landfallnavigation.com www.landfallnavigation.com). For sextant use and care, try “The Sextant Handbook” by Robert Bauer.

Students should bring to class: (1) Current Nautical Almanac (either blue or orange version) (2) Volume 2 of H.O. 249, (3) parallel rules and dividers. Optional is volume 1 of H.O. 229.

The Sippican Women’s Club is located on Front Street near Tabor Academy in Marion Massachusetts Hours are  8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Your instructor is Tim Queeney, Editor of Ocean Navigator. The cost is $295 per student, $450 per couple payable by April 22nd by check or credit card. Navigators under the age of 19 may attend for half-price.


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