The Practical Guide to Celestial Navigation: Step-by-step instructions for when you've lost the plot (Hardcover)
The jargon-free guide to celestial navigation - know what to do step by step, understand why you're doing it, and be confident that you can put it into practice when on board.
Did you know that a person standing on the equator is effectively travelling at 900mph? And did you know that you can use this information to work out where you are in the world, to an accuracy of about ¾ miles? No GPS, no computers. Just a sextant, some tables from an Almanac and the knowledge in this book.
It's the only back up if the GPS goes down, so it's a matter of safety. So if you want to qualify as a commercial skipper/superyacht captain you need to know how to carry out celestial navigation. And if you want to pass the RYA Ocean Yachtmaster exam, you need to know it too. It's a major stumbling block for many sailors wanting or needing to take their next qualifications, and the other books on the market are complex and often assume some prior understanding. This book fulfils the need for a jargon-free explanation of celestial navigation, illustrated with colour diagrams and including unique checklist sheets to enable you to repeat all those calculations you learned back at home, when you're on deck.
Without overwhelming the reader with a load of theory from the off, the author breaks down what you need to do, step by step, explaining why at every point – giving the information context, and making it more interesting and memorable. He has trained students in this subject for years, and here he's able to use his experiences of what works, and what are the common pitfalls – he even includes a 'What went wrong?' chapter near the end, going through errors commonly made, and how to spot them. The objective is that readers will finish the book not only knowing what to do, but really understanding why, and being able to make sense of it all again later (rather than just getting through and exam and finding themselves at a loss when on deck). The author also includes time-tested 'proformas' – quick reference sheets that sailors can refer to when they come to putting the theory into practice on board, avoiding the terrifying 'cold start' that most sailors experience when they suddenly need to put theory into practice.
About the Author
Phil Somerville has been teaching Celestial Navigation for nearly a decade to RYA Ocean and MCA Superyacht candidates in the UK, Spain, Italy and France (at numerous RYA & MCA training centres). Teaching in the winter months, in the summer he has worked on the likes of Skip Novak's Patagonia-based Pelagic Australis (a 23-metre expedition vessel designed for high latitude sailing).
“A book for the highly competent navigator...but also for those who feel a headache at the very sight of astro-navigation tables... The reader who set out to do only the minimum finds herself imperceptibly beginning to wonder what she did with that old sextant she put away in despair long ago.” —Yachting Monthly
“The author guides the reader through the subject, demystifying the aspects hat have stymied many would-be practitioners over the years.” —Classic Boat
“From the moment one picks it up The Practical Guide to Celestial Navigation impresses as being well-produced. It would make an excellent present for any skipper planning a long passage – total reliance on electronics is never a good idea – and will keep them occupied for many hours thereafter.” —Flying Fish
"Beautifully written. All the theory and practice is explained clearly with well-illustrated diagrams" - Practical Boat Owner
"Experienced yacht sector instructor Phil Somerville has produced a superbly engaging educational resource… Even a maritime novice may be inspired to dream of mastering this timeless skill." - Nautilus Telegraph
"Guides to reader through the subject, demsytifying the aspects that have stymied many would-be practitioners over the years." - Sailing Today
"Comprehensive, practical…with helpful full-colour illustrations…you’ll quickly be able to put Somerville’s fascinating guide to practice once you’re onboard your boat." - Lifeboat Magazine
"The beauty of this book is that it demystifies the subject and explains it in clear and concise language, liberally supported by diagrams and evocative photographs." - Cruising