Celestial Navigation

Presented by Ocean Navigator School of Seamanship at sea aboard SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, this seminar is a hands-on course covering basic celestial theory, sight reduction of sun, moon, planets, stars, and specialty sights of certain bodies, such as the noon sun sight and latitude by Polaris.

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 class and sights are taken at sunrise, sunset and during the day as each student’s watch schedule allows. The emphasis is on practical use of celestial navigation, with plenty of pencil and paper work. You will get to reduce and plot dozens of your sights during the voyage, 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 25 years, Ocean Navigator School of Seamanship 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.

Students should bring with them: (1) current Nautical Almanac (either blue or orange version), (2) Volumes 1 and 2 of H.O. 249, (3) parallel rules and dividers. Optional is Volume 1 of H.O. 229. Students are welcome to bring their own sextants or they can use the ship’s sextants.

Your instructor is Tim Queeney, Editor of Ocean Navigator magazine.

By Ocean Navigator