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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 05-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
If I wanted to show off technology I guess I'd show him Google Earth.

If I wanted to show off boat equipment I think I'd show him the auto-pilot.

If I wanted to show him sailing technique I'd take the boat to weather and beat at 8 knots.

I wouldn't waste time with Pussers (other than maybe sharing some) because nothing has really changed there.
Google Earth would probably give him a heart attack rendering the rest of the discussion pretty pointless, but otherwise.. ("Vaat? The earth is round?!?" )

+1 from me.
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  #12  
Old 05-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley18 View Post
Google Earth would probably give him a heart attack rendering the rest of the discussion pretty pointless, but otherwise.. ("Vaat? The earth is round?!?" )

+1 from me.
Gong !!! Hartley loses points for historical inaccuracy.
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  #13  
Old 05-17-2011
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I could have sworn that calculating longitude at sea wasn’t possible until the advent of accurate chronometers in the 1800’s. A while back, I read the account of the whale ship Essex, and in it, most captains couldn’t calculate longitude until their second or third voyages (if at all) and some captains left on their first voyage without the skills to accurately determine latitude. No real knowledge of global weather or current patterns, primitive navigation tools, quill pen and long division for calculations… Yes, I think that 17th and 18th century navigation is fascinating.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
I could have sworn that calculating longitude at sea wasn’t possible until the advent of accurate chronometers in the 1800’s. A while back, I read the account of the whale ship Essex, and in it, most captains couldn’t calculate longitude until their second or third voyages (if at all) and some captains left on their first voyage without the skills to accurately determine latitude. No real knowledge of global weather or current patterns, primitive navigation tools, quill pen and long division for calculations… Yes, I think that 17th and 18th century navigation is fascinating.
Well.. If that were true, Captain Cook, for example, would never have found Tahiti (and he wasn't the first there) and could never have accurately charted New Zealand and the east coast of Oz - in 1770/1771.

You probably quite correct that most captains couldn't calculate longitude correctly and hence approached a lee shore at their peril - but that's only because they couldn't do the math, not because the knowledge wasn't there.

It's extraordinarily easy for us thesedays to just decide "I'm going to take a few weeks off and sail across the Pacific", forgetting just how much heavy duty research over hundreds of years has gone into making it a safe trip.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Did a little sleuthing. Per Wikipedia, Harrison didn’t invent his H5 chronometer until 1773. The Royal Navy didn’t widely distribute them amongst the fleet until 1825. Up until that point, navigators were using the very much less accurate lunar method for determining longitude. That is why I find the navigation of those times to be so interesting. Imagine to “hit” something like Hawaii or Tahiti, you sail until you cross a certain latitude, then head west until you make landfall. How those early explorers ever found the islands is amazing. The design of square rigged ships haven’t changed much in the last 300-400 years but navigation certainly has.
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Old 05-17-2011
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He might be impressed with something as simple as doublebraid and certainly amsteel.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Refrigeration.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
Did a little sleuthing. Per Wikipedia, Harrison didn’t invent his H5 chronometer until 1773. The Royal Navy didn’t widely distribute them amongst the fleet until 1825. Up until that point, navigators were using the very much less accurate lunar method for determining longitude.
Terribly minor nit-pick, but just to correct the record here: The Lunar Distance Method is a far more accurate way to determine longitude than using the chronometers of the day - after all, once they were invented, it was the Lunar Distance Method they used to adjust the chronometers!

..the only downside is it takes a few pages of extremely complicated (at least they are to me!) maths calculations to get a result. But then I was never very good at maths.
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Last edited by Classic30; 05-17-2011 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Hartley, I think we are both trying hard to agree with each other on the skills and daring these mariners must have possessed in order to cross oceans in their day. It is interesting comment about the lunar method. Was it relatively more accurate because the chronometers of the time were such poor keepers of time as to make them impractical to use in a marine environment? And why was the Royal Navy offering such a big prize for the invention of a practical chronometer if they already had a better way of determining longitude? Imagine a skipper of that time working out logarithms in longhand using quill and ink by the light of a whale oil lamp. I read once that they would calculate their equations until they two answers that matched. I remember reading about the clipper ship Swordfish’s attempt at breaking Flying Cloud’s New York to San Francisco record of which they were set to break handily until they chose to head up the California coast instead swinging out 400-500 miles to the west. All because they didn’t understand (or comprehend?) the North Pacific High weather phenomenon.
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Old 05-17-2011
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Getting an accurate fix from the rise time of the sun or a star has got to beat calculating the moons relative position to other steller bodies. A good watch reduces finding longitude from hours of work to a few minutes sighting.
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