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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Sextant Cruise: A Course and Sail in Celestial Navigation

Learn how to navigate with a sextant using today's advanced technology with Captain J. C. Waters aboard the Schooner  

October 26, 2010
Schooner SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE sailing on the Elizabeth River.
The very technology that seemed to question  the viability of the practical use of the Sextant is now the tool that makes the Sextant once again an important navigation tool for the small boat cruiser as well as the professional navigator.   Traditional companion tools for the Sextant were the chronometer, almanac, sight reduction tables, worksheets, and plotting board.  All of these tools were required and were tedious and time consuming to work with and maintain.  Now enter the i-phone app “Star Pilot”, hand held computer with dedicated sight reduction program and the inexpensive digital watch.   Now the procedure to get a fix becomes:  Take the shot with the sextant, observe the time with the digital watch, enter the observed information in the i-phone app or the computer program and mark the fix on the chart.  Granted the i-phone is also a GPS tool but the i-phone app will still work even if the constellation of GPS satellites fell out of the sky.

Tamaya Spica Sextant
For the Sextant Cruise, we will have aboard, Sextants, handheld computers and will demonstrate the iphone app.  If you have an iphone or ipod that you wish to use, please load the app. STAR PILOT.  There may be other apps. available but this is the one we will be demonstrating.

The cruise  will  sail to the Chesapeake Bay in search of a  good sea horizon.  We'll take a series of sun shots to reduce, using programs that will give you feedback on your sextant skills and show you how easy it is to use a sextant.

Captain J. C. Waters instructing a course in celestial Navigation.
What you need to bring:  Required:  Watch.  Optional:  smart phone w/program, Sextant, etc.

 Cruise participants is limited to 16 people. Cost per participant is $65.00 and includes lunch aboard the schooner. Board the schooner SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE at Tidewater Marina, Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia  at the end of dock D. The SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE will set sail at 9:00 am and returning early evening.  No instruments required.

For additional information and to make reservations, call  Captain J C Waters at 757 971-1865 or Email

Follow the link here for information about the Schooner SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE AT

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The 2010 Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia

Schooner Days 2010,  Portsmouth, Virginia
October 15-16, 2010
Schooner Days is a celebration of the world’s largest gathering of schooners along the waterfront of Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia. It's held this year in conjunction with the 21st Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race from Baltimore to Portsmouth- racing to save the bay!
Schooners LADY MARYLAND  and LIBERTY CLIPPER at Portsmouth, Virginia's Schooner Days.
This two-day celebration offers numerous maritime-related activities along the seawall and at the High Street Landing; many are free to the general public.

Schooners line the seawall at Portsmouth, Virginia's High Street Landing
The Portsmouth waterfront from North Landing to beyond the High Street Landing will showcase over 40 schooners from local and distant ports and is considered the largest gathering of schooners in the world.

A gathering of  great vintage wooden schooners are clustered together in Olde Towne Portsmouth for Schooner Days. 
 Schooner Days was created to commemorate Portsmouth, Virginia's rich maritime history with a variety of scheduled historical recreation events including demonstrations by shipwright artisans, maritime related musicians, costumed actors and even a hands-on building of a skiff! Other exhibits will be on hand to bring awareness for the need to preserve and improve the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay. For more information, visit the Schooner Days site at