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Traditional Celestial Navigation

May 24 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on May 24, 2020 at 10:00 am


A fast-paced introduction to standard celestial navigation as it was practiced in the latter half of the 20th century, before the introduction of electronic tools like calculators and other computing devices. Pure paper and pencil methods using tables like H.O.229 and H.O.249 and three-star plots for a fix by the “intercept method”. Details of the modern Nautical Almanac are covered, too.

This workshop is ideal for the navigator who wants a pure, technology-free, traditional version of celestial navigation founded on the principles prefered by ocean-going mariners from about 1960 to 1990. Weather permitting, class participants will have opportunities to experiment with sextant observations. This is real navigation, not just a class about navigation. Fast and intense, students who complete this weekend class will have the basic celestial navigation skills to sail entirely by the sun and stars using a sextant, navigational tables, and a few other simple tools.

We’ll also discuss celestial navigation options for upcoming ocean races with celestial classifications including Annapolis-Bermuda, Marion-Bermuda, and others.

Taught by Frank Reed, a gifted teacher and a recent guest expert in celestial navigation on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk science talk show on The National Geographic Channel.

  • Saturday & Sunday, 10am-4pm both days.
  • Requirements: Basic addition and subtraction, good familiarity with latitude and longitude.
  • Recommended for ages 18 and up, students as young as age 13 welcome.

A standard “universal plotting sheet” for download
Larger area “universal plotting sheet” for download


May 24
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Reed Navigation
(401) 644-6012


Boston Community Boating
21 David G Mugar Way
Boston, MA 02114 United States
+ Google Map
(617) 523-1038

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