Celestial Navigation

Published by Swain Sailing School and Yacht Charters on Friday, 4th January 2002 - 11:11AM in Newport, RI Courses


Celestial Navigation Course

Certification: ASA 107

Note: ASA 117 - An abbreviated 1 day Celestial Navigation Endorsement course is also offered.  The 117 level does meet the prerequisite requirement for Offshore Passage Making (ASA 108).

Link to ASA 117 course page.

Offered from our Jamestown, Rhode Island and Tortola, BVI locations

Master the ancient art of open ocean position fixing using a sextant and timepiece. You will be able to apply your knowledge of sight reduction Methodology to reduce a sextant sight to a plotted line of positioning using any celestial body found in the Nautical Almanac.


6 day course

Instructor: Norman Martin

Textbook: Starpath Celestial Navigation by David Burch

Course Structure:

6 day course; combination of indoor and outdoor classroom

Tuition: $1895pp; includes all course materials

Class size: class capped at 8

Prerequisite: None

Day 1:

Time: 0900 – 1600

Format: Classroom

I. Student-Instructor Introduction

II. Objectives of Course

III. Tools Needed for Celestial Navigation

IV. The Earth and its Coordinates

V. The Heavens and its Coordinates

VI. The History of Celestial Navigation

VII. The Sextant

VIII. The Nautical Almanac

IX. Time

X. Homework Assignment

* In preparation for the Day 1, please read Chapters 1-2

Day 2: 

Time: 0900 – 1600

Format: Classroom

I. Review Homework Assignment

II. The Noon Sight for Latitude

III. Position Lines and Plotting

IV. Sun Sights

V. Homework Assignment

Day 3: 

Time: 0900 – 1600

Format: Classroom

I. Review Homework Assignment

II. Running Fixes (Sun-Run-Sun)

III. Sight Reduction Tables

VI. Homework Assignment

Day 4: 

Time: 0900 – 1600

Format: Classroom

I. Review Homework Assignment

II. Outside of Classroom: Sextant Adjustment and Taking a Noon Sight

III. Outside of Classroom: Sun Sights

IV. The Stars

V. Using the Pub. 249 Vol.1 and the Starfinder

VI. The Planets

VII. Homework Assignment

Day 5:

Time: 1500 – 2200

Format: Classroom

I. Review Homework Assignment

II. The Moon

III. Polaris, the Pole Star

IV. Sight Reduction Form 104 Review of Differences

V. A Day’s Work of Celestial Navigation at Sea

VI. Outside of Classroom: Star Sights

VII. Outside of Classroom: Star Identification

VIII. Conclusion

Day 6:

Time: 0900 – 1400

Format: Classroom

I. Administer US Sailing Celestial Navigation examination to students

II. Instructor grades exam

III. Review exam results with students

IV. Conclusion

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