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post #1 of Old 08-21-2006 Thread Starter
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Books on navigation and offshore passages

Hello everyone,

So I've been lurking for a while, as my boyfriend and I have been making decisions, getting ready to sail away south in about a month, and I finally have a question that I'm brave enough to ask. We've been trying to figure out this electronic versus paper charting and navigation thing. As newbie navigators, we obviously need paper charts and books on board. My question is: which ones?

We devoured the Pardey Seraffyn series this winter, and I've been using the bibliography in Seraffyn's Mediterranean Adventure as a jumping-off point, but my fellow crew thinks that I probably shouldn't be using a 30-year-old list. I disagree--the oceans have been around for a lot longer than that, and books like, say, the British Admiralty's Ocean Passages for the World have centuries worth of data in them.

The only problem--books like that cost about $300. I can find used versions for around $30, but they're the actual 1973 versions. Is it worth it to even look into books like this? Or should I just rely on my new-fangled GPS and mapping software? Does anyone have a shortlist of necessary book for long-term cruising, ocean-crossing, and eventual circumnavigating?

I read with interest the pages and pages of debate on celestial navigation, and I'm glad that our very first purchase for the boat, off eBay, was a sturdy plastic sextant. We don't really know how to use it, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I do want to make sure we have the books we need just in case. The 2006 Nautical Almanac is very definitely on our list, but other books are absolutely essential for figuring your position with a sextant? I want to learn more for my own sake--the whole close connection with the stars thing--more than anything.

Thanking all of you ever so much, in advance...
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