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Save Our Lighthouses

The lighthouse at Andenes, Norway.

I can’t imagine that there are many sailors out there who don’t share John’s and my fascination with lighthouses—walking around them, climbing them, photographing them, reading about what it was like to take care of them—we don’t seem to tire of it. However, in Canada, the USA and the UK, and I’m sure in other [...]

It Ain’t Necessarily So

Channel marker, Arisaig, West Highlands.

In these days of hyper-accurate GPS navigation and deck mounted plotters, it can sometimes seem like navigation has been reduced to no more than a video game. And it sometimes seems that more and more people are implicitly trusting what they see on a screen, having never known the nervous twitch that accompanied entering a [...]

Q&A: Trans-Ocean Navigation

The chart shows various great circle (dotted orange) and rhumb line (solid gray lines). Counter intuitively, the curved courses are actually shorter. The difference between the two tracks is almost nonexistent on the Caribbean to US east coast passage; larger on the westbound trans-Atlantic passage; and very large on the eastbound trans-Atlantic passage, to the point that the great circle course takes you over land and the iceberg infested Grand Banks—a good reason to understand which type of course your GPS is using!

Question: We are crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia. I found a large scale chart of the Atlantic (Imray Passage Chart 100). This single chart shows the entire Atlantic Ocean taking the earth's curvature into account and therefore does NOT have a compass rose to help steer by. I am having [...]

Q&A: Time Signals for Sextant

Question: Do you still do sights with a sextant? If so, where do you get the time signal from when underway? I found several shortwave frequencies for time signals on the web but the reception is extremely poor. In fact, I can’t get any useful exact time at all with my SSB receiver (Lowe HF-150 [...]

Q&A: Magnetic Compass

Question: Do you use a magnetic compass to augment your navigation process? Answer: Yes, we do. We have a large Ritchie compass mounted on top of our binnacle. Despite having two flux gate compasses (it’s a long story why two) we like to check the course with the magnetic compass, which we treat as the [...]

Q&A: Custom Log Book

Custom marine log book page from aluminum expedition sailboat Morgan's Cloud.

Question: I read your article, "Knowing Where You Are", in January's Cruising World magazine and was wondering if I could see a copy of your custom log book page. Answer: Note that the blank column can be used for whatever you wish; we usually use it for recording water temperature, both when crossing the Gulf [...]