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Starpath Nav Talks and Seminars

Navigation — Role of traditional skills in the satellite age
Tides and Currents — How to figure them; how to use them
Marine Weather Resources — What they are and how to use them
Celestial Navigation — Its role in modern cruising
Star Gazing for Mariners — Finding directions from the sky  
Radar — For chart navigation and collision avoidance  
Kayak Nav — Navigation and weather analysis specialized for kayakers  

About the Nav Talks
The Starpath Nav Talks are held periodically throughout the year either at the school in Ballard, or at sponsoring facilities in Seattle area or out of town. They are informal, yet very informative. The talks presented by David Burch, director of Starpath School of Navigation, or other instructors, have been a popular for the past 4 years. The talks at Starpath often meet at dinner time for many, so don't hesitate to bring a sandwich or other snack to the talk. Coffee, tee, and soft drinks are provided — not to mention the now-traditional infinite supply of M&Ms provided by Starpath ("A brain without sugar is not a brain.," Alexander Alekhine, onetime world chess champion).

These talks are generally open to the public, but sometimes the sponsored ones offer first priority to their members. If there are fees involved, we usually offer some discount on Starpath products or courses to cover the investment. Talks presented as "Seminars" means they are more of a short course on the subject, usually with hand outs and practice exercises provided. The seminars sometimes extend over several meetings.

To register for an advertised talk, please call starpath at 206-783-1414 or send e-mail to helpdesk@starpath.com.

Return to Talk Schedule.

— Nav Talk Outlines —

Why study navigation? Compare position fixing to route planning — the latter is the bigger challenge. Compare dead reckoning to piloting. Go over ideal nav instrument combo (GPS, radar, depth sounder) and how to best use them for safe efficient navigation. Explain the important role of traditional methods (compass and log) in this age of satellite navigation. What is the most important rule in navigation? What is the most important book in navigation? Return to Talk Schedule.

Tides and Currents
Brief overview of theory and terminology; resources for predicting them; what the tables won't tell you; rules of thumb for doing it without resources; how to read current from the water surface; how to read current from the GPS; how relative directions of current and wind have dramatic influence on the sea state; and how to navigate in current. Return to Talk Schedule.

Marine Weather Resources
How to plan your time on the water around the weather (or at least check to see what it will be like) and to monitor the weather when underway. Covers special concerns for Puget Sound sailors. Guaranteed to make your time on the water safer and more efficient. Covers good weather (finding wind) as well as bad weather. Return to Talk Schedule.

Celestial Navigation
History and principles of celestial navigation. How it works, how accurate, what it costs, what you need to do it, how you learn it. This is not a "course" in celestial, but you will know what its about when you are done, and.... we guarantee that at the end of this one evening class, you will be able to find your way to any port from any place in the world with nothing more than an almanac and GMT — this is not the most efficient use of celestial, but we go through the exercise to illustrate how transparent the process is, which is its main virtue. Join us for a pleasant evening out to learn how Europe found the rest of the world, and how you might do so as well, even if all the electronics available to you manage to hit the fan when you need them most. Return to Talk Schedule.

Star Gazing for Mariners
Covers star and planet ID, terminology, some mythology, some astronomy, with emphasis on finding directions from the stars. An ideal way to see many of the techniques from David's book Emergency Navigation illustrated as if under a real sky. This class meets at the Pacific Science Center Planetarium. Pre-registration with Starpath is required. Limited to 40 people, and we always fill up. Note special time, 7:00 not 6:15. Also, if there is a big event at Seattle Center or the Coliseum, there is a parking issue, etc. This talk is almost always presented as a seminar. Return to Talk Schedule.

Covers principles and practical usage of marine radar, plus tips and tricks not covered in the manuals or other texts. Learn how to evaluate risk of collision and then how to apply the Nav Rules appropriately. We show why radar is your most important electronic aid to navigation, bar none. This talk uses the Starpath Radar Trainer simulator for demonstrations. An extended version of this talk is often presented as a seminar. Return to Talk Schedule.

Kayak Nav
Presents in person the topics from David's book Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation along with marine weather planning and analysis underway. We have presented this program as a seminar in various formats, to groups as large as 80, and numerous times Canada as well. Return to Talk Schedule.

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