SPARK Flossie Pack Center for Lifelong Learning

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Recorded | Celestial Navigation with Douglas Sheer – Spring 2022

Previously recorded class.


You will be sent the link to a private playlist of all recorded sessions of this class.


YouTube Only Recording – Recorded Spring 2022 – you will be sent a link to a private playlist

 While many of us find the use of our phone’s GPS invaluable when it comes to navigating in our cars or when taking a walk, there is another world of navigation that has been used for thousands of years and is still in use today – the world of non-instrument navigation.  By using many of the natural objects in our environment we can navigate much like Pacific Islanders have done when crisscrossing the Pacific.  While many of those techniques would require us to be at sea, we can use and certainly study their methods and appreciate the skills they’ve honed over time.  We will also be studying the theory and use of the sextant, an instrument that is still being used today by blue water sailors and even the U.S. Navy.  All charts and tables will be provided as we go over sun and moon shots that will show us this accurate method of navigating.  No higher order math calculations will be required, only simple addition and subtraction.

Class supplies include a protractor, a pencil, a small pencil sharpener, an eraser, and a divider or a compass for making circles.  Handouts can be 3 hole punched and kept in a 1 & 1/2 inch three ring binder for class use.  A small plastic container that measures about 6″ x 9″, will hold all of your supplies.

Instructor:  Douglas Sheer became a licensed captain of ocean-going vessels in 1979 and has sailed extensively in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  He was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study navigation in Greenwich, England and has captained sailboats in the Caribbean and the Aegean Sea.  He has taught the subject of celestial navigation for 37 years at a community college on Long Island, N.Y. and on cruise ships for 17 years.


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