A lotta fun with L.A.N and Celestial Navigation

October 26, 2021

Robbie Murdock, B-Watch, Scituate High School

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Bec (far left) Alec (middle) and Camilla (far right) learning to use a sextant

Ship's Log

Noon Position
32° 56.0’N by 055° 55.3’W

Ship heading
254°

Ship Speed
6.0 KT

Taffrail Log
1566 NM

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Sailing under the Mains’l, Mainstays’l, Forestays’l and Jib. Wind SSE Force 5, seas SE X E 3ft, skies 3/8. Barometer 1014.7

Souls on Board

Finding new passions in life is hard because – 1. It’s hard to get excited about things you’ve never heard of and 2. You have no idea where to begin. But that’s what makes it fun for me! I have found a new passion today involving our L.A.N – Local Apparent Noon – when your line of position is perpendicular to your meridian to get your Latitude – so you know where you are in the world.

Sailors have been using this method for centuries to cross continents and oceans! It was only recently (in the 1800s) when accurate time was added to the equation to get our exact position – or close to it – back then sailors could only get their latitude and not longitude so they had a line of position but couldn’t be sure where on that line they actually were, that’s why they started on their journeys on the longitude of the place they needed to go to. How big of a chance is that! A lot of luck I’d say.

A nice sunset in the Atlantic.

A nice sunset in the Atlantic.

Interestingly enough I’ve always been fascinated by the sextant – an instrument that measures an altitude (height) of celestial bodies (Sun, Moon, stars, planets) - Gives us a L.O.P (line of position) - And is in degrees, minutes and a decline of 1 min (look up how to use one and practice). Anyway the tool looked interesting to me even at a young age, I knew it was for navigation but I never knew how to use one. Now I do! I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’ve devoted a whole celestial navigation focus with two and a half pages of writing in my sheet anchor! But of course I’ll need more practice with the whole idea. – you can also get a position using the stars during twilight hours when the stars are most visible and nothing obscures them. I wonder what I’ll get excited for next!

For today: New passion! An easy watch as well – nothing else too exciting going on and for class – Learning about celestial navigation! P.S. We are all going to skip ahead 1 hour on our watches tomorrow. That’s
how far we’re out!

- to my family: Love you all lots! We’re saving a ton of pictures fr ya!-
- Robert Murdock, B watch.

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