not so simple

“For the newcomer, navigation can be a trial and a disappointment. Fresh from the winter navigation classes, where dead reckoning, estimated positions and fixes march in ordered progression across the chart, he finds that things are not so simple at sea.

His observations never seem to match up with his estimated position; landfalls never appear when and where expected; and conspicuous objects on shore might be printed on a different chart for all the help they are to him. And whilst it is easy to stop a car and ask the way of a passing stranger, it is more difficult (and embarrassing) to do the same at sea. There are few navigators who can truthfully claim never to have experienced the sickening feeling of being lost.”

(Norman Dahl served in the Royal Navy on destroyers, cruisers and submarines. On retirement he was President of the Royal Institute of Navigation. An active offshore yachtsman he later moved to Australia and died in Brisbane in 2018.)

Norman Dahl – The Yacht Navigator’s Handbook, 1983