Another kind of sailing

Positive Waves Picture This Keep It Simple Proper Preparations three kindes of Sayling, Horizontal, Paradoxal, and Sayling upon a Great Circle

John Davis, The Seaman's Secrets, 1594

The techniques that once made piloting, dead reckoning and celestial navigation separate skills, are history. Nowadays navigation depends on accessing detailed and accurate data provided by an array of electronic devices that do not care if you are inshore, offshore, or in the middle of nowhere. But take these clever instruments away and the flow of data dries up, and we are lost unless we find some other way of acquiring the information that will allow us to continue on our way.

It can be done and has been done for thousands of years. Sailing without electronic instruments demands more of the navigator. He or she is no longer a button pusher but a combination of a mathematician, astronomer, biologist, meteorologist, cartographer, and geographer. It is daunting, but the biggest challenge is in acquiring or re-acquiring a mindset for another kind of sailing.

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