“The Bear, surnam’d the Wain, that round doth move about Orion, and keeps still above the billowy ocean; the slow-setting star Bootes call’d, by some the waggoner. Calypso warn’d him he his course should steer still to his left hand. Seventeen days did clear the cloudy night’s command in his moist way…” are the verses from the Book V of Homer’s Odyssey, yet ancient navigators have been finding their way from the heavens since the beginning of recorded history, if not before.
This art fueled by human curiosity, ingenuity and the everlasting perseverance to explore and discover strange new worlds has been being perfected for thousands of years. Should you desire to learn this ancient and noble art and sail without any modern technological terror using only Sun, Moon, a star or a planet then this is course for you.
Endless star-spangled sky lies within your grasp and on any clear night… let the adventure begin!
- PACKING TIPS
- DATES AND PRICES
Celestial navigation – ancient art in the modern age
Celestial navigation, also known as astronavigation, is an obsolete yet continuing practice of position fixing by the utilisation of stars and other celestial bodies, enabling a navigator to determine their position at any instant in time and space.
Celestial navigation employs sights. More precisely, sight reductions, the processes of extracting the information obtained by sextant-measured angles (between the Sun, Moon or any other heavenly bodies and the visible horizon) required to establish a line of position.
This method, itself being ingenious and nearly perfect for an observer standing on the deck of large and stable vessel, had to be adapted and suited by seafarers to match the conditions on small sailing yachts, which appear to be generated in just the right fashion to make this method of navigation possibly the worst option. Rough sea state, sleep deprivation on a long passage, the need for brevity concerning the vessel’s position and swiftness of calculus on an unstable sailboat when any lingering away from tiller and below deck causes one to become seasick, are the main reasons amongst many others which affect the precision, the adjustment and the very application of astronavigation.
In a nutshell, it requires rather peculiar expertise and knowledge in addition to judgement aided by practice and ‘the perfecting of the art of navigation’ – which becomes rewarding only in the end. All this, more often than not, occurs in extreme conditions with a few desk-like surfaces and rather unwished-for opportunity for more chores in a day of a seaman.
That having been said, sailor-astronavigator is nowadays a rare bird both in respect of competency and personal traits.
What will we learn
On the Celestial Navigation Course we shall learn and devote our time to the early practices of marine navigators, namely:
- how to determine position using the Sun, Moon, a planet or a star
- how to utilise a sextant in both coastal and open waters
- how to keep and record navigational data maintaining the ship’s logbook and as a result navigate out of sight of land or any charted object capable of being used for navigation without any use of electronic navigational aids
- how to perform a compass check, prepare for long ocean passages regarding planning, choice of publications, routeing and passage charts
- passage planning and daily crew rotations
- basic safety procedures, acquisition of the weather forecast and relevant meteorological data in the open waters
- how to further improve and gain additional knowledge required to undertake long ocean voyages
Celestial navigation course is available on the predetermined dates connected with the particular astronomical events and phenomena:
THE PERSEIDS METEOR SHOWER August 13 – August 20, 2022
The Saturn being closest to the Earth offers great visibility of both itself and its moons. Of course, with plenty of shooting stars coming from the constellation Perseus.
JUPITER September 24 – October 1, 2022
The Jupiter at its closest approach to Earth with four of his moons being visible even with a pair of binoculars.
Aside from the heavens we shall also pay attention to our sails and therefore repeat and improve our seamanship and sailing skills:
- chartwork (latitude and longitude, units of measurement employed in navigation)
- calculation and course plotting
- use of dead reckoning as a method to determine position
- compass use with the calculation of variation and deviation
- night sailing and navigation
- sailing in general, manoeuvres and sails trimming
- spinnaker sailing
Grasp a sextant, hoist the sails and… “second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning”.
Theoretical and practical parts of the course
- coordinate systems
- navigational triangle or PZX triangle
- the Intercept method by Marcq St. Hilaire
- refraction and parallax
- visible and geometric horizon
- time in navigation, difference between UT/UTC/UT1
- sidereal and solar time; sidereal and solar day<
- basic principles and concepts in astronomy; orbits, ephemerides, equinoxes and solstices
- equation of time
- creation of plotting sheets for a desired latitude and use of symbols in an astronavigator’s plot; sight reduction and plotting on a nautical chart
- use, adjustment and maintenance of a sextant
- observation of the Sun, Moon, planets and 58 navigational stars
- nautical twilight and sight planning
- use of sight reduction tables, star charts, tables for marine navigation, air navigation and nautical almanac during position fixing
- passage execution under sails
- offshore safety (lifeline, jackstay, lifejacket, liferaft)
- passage planning, weather routing with respect to the expected meteorological conditions and daily routine of a vessel’s navigator and long ago a ship’s astronomer
- ship’s logbook recording and maintenance
- sailing in general, manoeuvres and sails trimming
- spinnaker sailing
- recording data about pressure, temperature and observable cloud formations using the ship’s logbook<
- rising and falling barometer and interpretation of the phenomena and weather forecasting
- comparison of the weather forecast obtained by radio with the observable phenomena and the data derived from the instruments
- weather forecasts and gale warnings
- marine VHF radio
- radio watch necessary for a safe passage
- radio log keeping
This program is intended for all adults (between 16 and 18 years of age with written permission by a parent or legal guardian) who had previously taken one of our advanced sailing programs, RYA Day Skipper (either shorebased theory or practical course) or had already acquired necessary advanced sailing and seamanship skills.
Through this program a student shall earn approximately 600 NM, improve skills, learn and practice celestial navigation, experience stargazing free of any light pollution and enjoy the night’s sky. Plenty of spare time for socialising and pleasure. Accommodation on a sailing yacht with a galley and all the necessary facilities for a longer passage.
Duration: 7 days
Meeting: Saturday 1500 CET
Starts: Saturday 1600 CET
Ends: Next Saturday 1200 CET
Program ends with a written exam.
Upon successful completion every candidate shall receive a certificate as a confirmation of partaking in the training of celestial navigation and a personal logbook as evidence of the level of acquired skills and earned miles in the undergone meteorological conditions and sea state.
Route and the exact plan are subject to sea state and wind strength and therefore may be changed. Safety is paramount.
Sailing gloves, two pairs of non-slip shoes or sneakers, T-shirts and long sleeve shirts, short and long pants, strong sunscreen, a cap or a hat, sunglasses, towels, personal hygiene items, bathing suit, towels, mosquito repellent.If you are sailing during colder months, please bring your sailing suit, or a warm, waterproof jacket, pants (and a sleeping bag if you prefer).
Additional equipment (not mandatory although desirable): scientific calculator,red lens (headlamp or a flashlight).
Please remember to bring personal medications if required.
DATES AND PRICES
13.08.-20.08.2022. THE PERSEIDS METEOR SHOWER
Approximate price per person – 1010 EUR.
Please, use the booking system above to get the exact price, the system calculates EUR price based on the current exchange rate.
Price of the course includes:
Accommodation aboard a sailing yacht – 7 nights
7 days of sailing
Mooring fees in ACI marina Jezera
Not included in price of the course:
Flights/other transportation to/from the base and parking costs
Personal medical and travel insurance
Harbour fees of other Marinas, out of the base in ACI marina Jezera
National parks entry fees
Food and drink aboard and ashore
Accommodation ashore outside course date
Rates apply to accommodation in double cabins. The upgrade for the use of a single cabin is 30% of the listed price.
The format of the dates is European (DD.MM.YYYY)