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A History of the Practice of Navigation

By Cdr. J. B. Hewson


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Published date:
First published 1951-2nd edition 1983

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Bibliographic Notes

This is the most exhaustive account of the evolution of modern navigational practice that has yet been written in English.

It begins with separate chapters on Charts and Sailing Directions, from the hand-drawn Portolan chart and manuscript guides for seamen to the modern Admiralty charts and Pilots; on the Compass and its corrections, from its introduction to European seamen to the invention of the gyro compass; and on Navigational Instruments, including the terrestrial globe, from the astrolabe to the sextant. The use of these appliances and many others including sounding devices, and the effect of their gradual improvement upon the practice of navigation from the time of Columbus until the beginning of the present century are then dealt with in great and interesting detail.

Separate chapters are also devoted to the Finding of Latitude; Variation and the uses which the navigator made of it; Log Lines and Log Books; Navigation by Latitude and Dead Reckoning; and the Finding of Longitude. An Index refers the curious to the text, which explains hundreds of navigational matters so widely different as Clearing the Distance in Lunars; the meanings of Kennynge; Sumner's discovery of the use of Position Lines; the Eclipses of Jupiter's Satellites; the Oblique Meridian; Bad Steering; the Effect of the Australian Gold Rush upon Great Circle Sailing, and why Doctor Halley when investigating variation in the South Atlantic deviated one thousand miles from his course.

"The author has navigated a masterly course in his work and the volume is produced in accordance with the high standard of the publishers". ..Lloyds List.