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                                                                 CELESTIAL NAVIGATION CLASS    2020

                                                                      "We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge."
                                                                                                                                        John Naisbitt

                                                                                            October 9, 16, 23, 30,  2020
                                                                                                       7:00 - 9:00 PM


There is not a more affordable, more information packed course on Celestial Navigation anywhere. East or west coast included. This is a great opportunity to learn an important navigational skill ancient mariners have refined over the centuries, and is still viable today. Our well qualified, 100 ton Master Captain instructor, Doug Hendricks, has sailed the Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean, using sextant only navigation.  This is a unique opportunity to learn a skill of a lifetime.

BREAKING NEWS!  An interactive, virtual classroom is now available!

Unique Benefits of the “Webinar” Format:          
In addition to allowing people from all over the country (or the world) to easily attend the class, there’s another great benefit to doing this class as an online “webinar”. All class sessions will be recorded (both audio and video) and can be downloaded later by students who want to review things in detail. If we go over something a bit too fast or for some other reason if it doesn’t make total sense to you the first time through, just go back and look at the recorded session. All video images, PowerPoint slides, work sheets, scribbles on the electronic “whiteboard” and all accompanying audio will be saved and made available for students to download after the class is over.

This course is designed for the sailor who is curious about celestial navigation, how it works, and why it is important. It is the first of a two-part series on celestial navigation, but it is also complete enough by itself that most students will find that this class alone is all they need in order to successfully navigate by the stars.

After completing Celestial Navigation I, students will be able to take sextant sightings of stars (and/or the sun, moon and planets) and then enter those measurements into a handheld calculator in order to determine their latitude and longitude. Students who may have heard horror stories about the math involved in celestial navigation will be glad to hear that in this class a calculator will do all of that “dirty work” for them. Students who want to know how to do the math by hand, without relying on an electronic calculator, will need to also take the follow-on class, Celestial Navigation II. However those who are willing to let the calculator handle the math for them need only take this Celestial Navigation I class.

After taking this compact course of only four, two-hour evening sessions you will be able to find your location anywhere on the Earth without needing a GPS. The things that you will need (sextant, calculator, books and tables) will be provided to you for use during this class. Therefore if you don’t already have them, don’t worry. You can try out different models during class and see what you like before buying your own.

Topics Covered:
• Earth-based coordinate system (latitude and longitude)
• Celestial coordinate system (declination, sidereal hour angle, Greenwich hour angle)
• How to identify the navigational stars (and planets) in the night sky
• How to plan your star shots in order to get the highest accuracy in your final results
• How to use a sextant to measure star altitudes (or the sun, moon, or planets)
• How to calculate and apply correction factors that need to be made to your sextant readings
• How to enter the celestial measurements into a programmable calculator to determine your lat/lon position without needing to use any reference books at all... no nautical almanac and no sight reduction tables.
• How to enter the celestial measurements into a non-programmable calculator to determine your lat/lon position, using a nautical almanac to know the geographic position of the star (or sun or moon or planet) but still not needing any sight reduction tables
• How to determine your lat/lon position by doing a noon-time sun shot
• How to determine your latitude by doing a measurement of Polaris and applying necessary correction factors

Course fee includes detailed handouts, star charts and tables.

Course fee does not include the textbook, which is "Celestial Navigation in the GPS Age" by John Karl, and which may be obtained from or

COST:  $235.00

Contact Louise at 801.636.5204 to register.


Now that you’ve tasted success with the Celestial Navigation I class (where we did things the easy way) let’s put the electronic calculator on the shelf and start using some of that gray matter that’s been dormant since taking high school trigonometry. Or if that idea doesn’t thrill you, think of it this way… Let’s learn what to do in case a lightning strike takes out all your on-board electronics, including the calculator that you used as a crutch back in Celestial Navigation I.
Using nautical almanacs, sight-reduction tables, and helped by an analemma chart, we will do celestial navigation the old fashioned way… using entirely non-electronic techniques... ones that truly serious navigators need to master before they can get certified.

Celestial Navigation II is more detailed and demanding than the first course in the series but it follows a similar schedule with classes held in three, two-hour evening sessions.

Topics Covered:

• Review of concepts covered in Celestial Navigation I
• How to determine the necessary sextant corrections (refraction, dip, etc) without using a calculator
• How to use a nautical almanac to know the geographic position of the navigation stars (and the sun, moon, and planets) at any given time without using a calculator
• How to use a book of sight-reduction tables to find the distance from your assumed position to the geographic position of the navigation star (or sun, moon, and planet) without using a calculator
• St. Hilaire’s Method of Sight Reduction - How to use the distance obtained above, together with the true distance obtained from your sextant measurement, to plot a line of position on a nautical chart or an open-ocean plotting sheet
• Sumner’s Method of Sight Reduction – How to determine lines of position without needing to have an assumed position to start from.
• Emergency Navigation - How to measure star altitudes with reasonable accuracy even if you lose or break your sextant.
$240 course fee includes detailed handouts, star charts and tables. (This fee is separate from the one for the Celestial Navigation I class.) Course fee does not include the textbook, which is "Celestial Navigation in the GPS Age" by John Karl, and which may be obtained from or
Celestial Navigation Certification from Bonneville School of Sailing and Seamanship requires completion of the CN I and CN II classes and successfully passing the certification exam.
A $45 non-refundable certification fee is payable prior to the exam.

About the Instructor:
Douglas Hendricks is a USCG-licensed 100-ton Master with more than thirty years of sailing experience. He has sailed across the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian oceans.  He has sailed in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Indonesia, Tahiti, Thailand, Hawaii, Africa and the Bahamas in addition to many years of sailing along both the east and west coasts of the US. He has taught both Offshore Passage Making and Celestial Navigation for Bonneville School of Sailing since 2008.

Comments From Previous Students:

"I have taught navigation for many years and have taken other celestial navigation courses. This is by far the best and most thorough course I have ever taken." Emery

"The course was well done. Instructor was very knowledgeable and well prepared. This course was challenging, but instructor made it manageable and fun!" Dave

"This was a great class with a very knowledgeable instructor. I thoroughly enjoyed it." John

"Excellent teacher, challenging and informative. Left me wanting to learn more." Marylou

Contact Us
  •   (801) 636.5204
  •  Utah Lake State Park
     4440 West Center St.
     Provo, Utah 84601
    •  Monday - Saturday: 8am - 9pm
  •       April 1st - October 31st