The Ocean Navigator School of Seamanship and the Marion-Ber-muda Race have joined forces to help keep the tradition of celestial navigation alive. The Celestial Navigation Certificate, conceived by the Marion-Bermuda Race committee as a way to ensure a source of able navigators for the biennial race and developed by Ocean Navigator staff instructors, requires actual at-sea navigation that is then evaluated in accordance with a set of standards, according to Ron Chevrier, an administrator with the Race.
"The certification program will go a long way toward keeping the seagoing tradition of celestial navigation alive and healthy," he said.
To be considered for certification, candidates will submit original or photocopied logbooks, relevant charts, plotting sheets, documentation of at least five sights, two sight reductions worked out by hand using a printed Nautical Almanac and sight reduction table, a brief description of technique used for plotting celestial lines of position, and a description of any conditions during the voyage that modified any of these decisions. A grader will subsequently evaluate the documentation of each applicant, and a certificate will be awarded to anyone who achieves a satisfactory score. The program costs $75, but the fee is waived to any participant whose work is completed during a Marion-Bermuda Race.
"We still teach celestial in the classroom, but until now there’s been no way to get real at-sea celestial work graded by celestial navigation instructors," said Dave Jackson of the Ocean Navigator School of Seamanship.
The next Marion-Bermuda Race will be held June 22, 2001. Contact Jackson at the Ocean Navigator School of Seamanship for details on the new celestial certification program: 207-236-7014.