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Old 09-18-2013
0verdrive 0verdrive is offline
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Learning navigation while land-locked?

I was recently reading the "21st Century Seamanship" thread, which got me thinking.

I've only sailed for a couple years, and those have been on a small lake in Kansas. So I've never bothered with navigation of any sort - gps or otherwise - since I never get far out of sight of the club. What's worse, with a two-year old, I haven't been able to get out at all for the past couple years.

But even if I can't be out sailing, I could spend some time building navigational skills. I obviously don't need them on a small lake, but when my daughter is old enough, I plan on getting a boat I can sail in the great lakes, and (in the far future) I'd like to go to the Bahamas. That may be years away, but I can keep the dream alive by learning everything I can in the meantime.

That said, I'm not sure where to start. "Dead Reckoning" doesn't mean much on land, since the sightings I'm likely to see are street signs rather than lighthouses, etc. But I could learn how to use the sun/stars to determine my location, which would be interesting and perhaps eventually helpful.

Is there a good resource (books or otherwise) that people would recommend? Even though I'm landlocked, I could still probably use the same equipment I'd use on a boat - what equipment would I need? (sextant, compass, charts, etc)? Since I'm on land rather than the ocean, could I use an atlas as a chart?

I know that because I'm on land, many of the aspects of navigation won't be applicable - "plotting a course" doesn't make much sense, for example. But just being able to figure out where I am might be a start. And the more information about what to do once you have your bearings (plotting a course, accounting for speed, etc) is always helpful, if not immediately applicable.
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Dean Wilson
Melges M20 - The Can-Do Girl
Lake Perry, KS
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