In the last issue we began telling the story of the great sailor, aviator, writer, Ernest K. Gann, who converted the steel schooner Albatros (Dutch spelling with one s) into a brigantine sailing the South Pacific on and off for three years in the early 1950s. He was writing successful novels and movie scripts that were made into blockbuster Hollywood films. Of his sailing adventures, of which there were many, he wrote a book titled Song of the Sirens, an overlooked classic. Similar to the writings of Bernard Motissier, Gann is a master of the lyrical and poetic when writing about the sea. While Motissier retired from the world, Gann never gave up the hurly-burly.
An example of Gann’s adventures: After sailing to Hawaii from San Francisco, Albatros went as far west as Tahiti and then was on her way back to Hawaii. The weather had been deteriorating for a few days, but Gann and his crew hadn’t been paying the necessary attention. As often happens, things came to a head at night. Gann was awakened in his bunk by the crew, the weather had suddenly worsened. As the crew looked to him for instructions, he wrote: “Few men can awaken with their courage instantly at hand … I would like to retreat to my bunk and place a pillow over my head, but such thoughts are not permitted a master, whose crew waits so confidently. The omnipotent you who will and can solve all things.”
They began dousing sail, no easy task on a square-rigged ship in a heavy wind in a building sea. Gann regretted that he hadn’t reefed the big mainsail earlier and now the crew had to wrestle the wheel to keep the ship steady. After hours of struggle and good fortune, they were able to reef down and reduce speed to 7.5 knots. The storm was so bad that it destroyed dwellings on the northern coast of Oahu and “crushed the windows on the bridge of the 15,000-ton liner President Cleveland.”
For our nav problem we’ll be using HO249, Volume 1, Selected Stars, 2020 Epoch. The day in question is October 26. We will be using the 2023 Nautical Almanac. Albatros is approaching Fatu Hiva in the Marquesa Islands. The dead reckoning at the time of the observation is 8° 3’ S by 141° 45’ W. Height of eye is 15 feet. Gann is doing morning sights of the stars.
A. Find the time of nautical twilight in GMT. Note: use this time as the sight time for both sights.
B. Gann observes Regulus with an Hs of 39° 57.8’. What is the Ho of Regulus?
C. Gann also observes Canopus with an Hs of 44° 28.8’. What is the Ho of Canopus?
D. Find the GHA of Aries and find LHA of Aries.
E. Plot intercepts and fix.
Note: We will use precession and nutation at 3’ with a ZN of 95°.