May 15 2017
Authored by Kiki Bosch
Not too long ago standing this last watch approaching land before sunrise was a bit more stressful. There were things you knew, like your current magnetic course, which likely at this point in the voyage was a Rhumb Line directly to an exact position just short of land. Naturally this brings up another very rigid know which is that boats are not designed to travel over land, and there lies the hitch that is a source of a bit of stress for a mariner. How easy it would be if it were a static world that revolved only around the knowns. Operating around and within those knowns though are a great many variables. Those assumptions are defined by nautical terms such as, Magnetic Course, Deviation, Variation, Drift, Over Bottom Speed, Track and a series of other players. No matter how fastidious the mariner, confidence in navigation back then still relied quite a bit on assumption. Small details such as how accurately had you monitored your progress since the last fixed position, was your current dead reckoning calculation spot on, had wind, wave, current or even a slightly relaxed attention to heading and navigation over the last few hours driven you outside the path you thought you were on?
Well today was not that day. Although as an aspiring good and safe mariner you spent the last few years studying and practicing navigation, its terminology and methods for this very day, you feel no stress and confident in your position. Every hour on the hour you have double checked what you see in front of you, but with the aroma of the fresh warm cup of coffee in your hands, surrounded by the lastest navigation electronics every second calculating to within a meter or two your exact position, you ponder not whether you are on course, but rather the path that led you to this very moment, the dream moment you had seen in your mind's eye for years.
(to be continued).