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Clipper Race - Switzerland crew learn astronavigation as teams prep

by Ruth Harrington on 26 Feb 2014
Switzerland crew learn astronavigation - 2013 - 14 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race
2013 - 14 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crews have been taking advantage of downtime while motorsailing towards Hong Kong to learn new skills whilst carrying our drills and doing maintenance.

Switzerland crew members have been learning about astro-navigation as an alternative to using a GPS.

Vicky Ellis, skipper of Switzerland, said earlier on the leg she and the crew had run through the theory of how astronavigation techniques can find the yacht’s position on the earth's surface. Now they are practicing again.

'Today, out came the sextant and the morning’s watch learnt how to tune and play this precious piece of equipment used for finding the altitude (angular height) of the sun in the sky.

'Next watch we will look at how to take sun sights and for those with the mathematical patience we may even reduce a few to find our position. It is a long process but the results are far more satisfying than glancing at the Garmin chart plotter to find our location.'

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: 'Astronavigation is a dying art, and it won’t be long before only a very few people know how to do it.

'It is extremely satisfying and I’m chuffed the Switzerland crew are learning. I want to give the sailors the chance to learn the widest range of skills possible so they are well equipped when they finish the race.'

Race Director Justin Taylor commented: 'It is important to be able to understand how it all works and go back to the first principles of astronavigation.

'It takes a lot of practice but it is a good skill to have.'

Olly Cotterell, skipper of OneDLL, said his team has set up to do maintenance and drills over the next few days.

'We want to arrive as ready as possible into Hong Kong so that we can start Race nine as close to the other yachts as possible.

'The base of OneDLL's performance pyramid is being prepared. Opportunity has the uncanny habit of favouring those who have paid the price of preparation.'

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