In a series of meetings (volunteer Saturdays 2/15 and 2/22 1600-1700) we'll discuss and try out some basic processes and tools for navigation - i.e. getting a vessel to a destination, safely and efficiently. The concepts will be available for preview on the Web, so that participants can come to class already acquainted with hands-on activities, and with questions (and suggestions about the Web presentation). The goals of the classes are: The topics covered will be excerpts from Topics 2-3 below, with some material from 1 and 4, of the more general syllabus given below; details are in each day's Web page (2/15 and 2/22). The actual amount of time and resources available will determine how much material is covered. Looking over the Web pages in advance would allow us to accelerate the pace, so prepare questions to bring to class. Suggestions for changes in content, order of presentation, etc. are welcome, either verbally in class, or email to

General Navigation Syllabus

  • Topic 1: The Nautical Chart, Plotting, and Measuring Position
  • Topic 2: Measuring Angles between Landmarks, and plotting Circles of Position (COPs)
  • Topic 3: The Sextant
  • Topic 4: Basic Tools, Concepts, and Measurements of Celestial Navigation
  • Topic 5: Corrections to ideal COP
  • At this point, The COPs are known, and their points of intersection can be plotted or calculated. Calculation of the intersection points of 2 circles on a sphere is tremendously simplified by considering the line formed by the intersection of the planes of the 2 circles, then finding the 2 points on that line that are the correct distance from the center of the sphere. Topic 7 below will give details. Topic 6 will describe the classical graphical plotting solution.

  • Topic 6: Classical Plotting Method
  • Topic 7: Mathematical and Computer Algorithmic Calculation of Position