Friday, September 12, 2014

A boat festival and research too

To no one's surprise, I've discovered I love the wooden boat festivals of the Pacific Northwest. To find one in Port Townsend--one of my favorite towns to begin with--with the Lady Washington and Adventuress in attendance...yes, this may in fact be where I was last weekend. 

Because one of the classes offered at the boat festival was on celestial navigation, I was able to get some critical research done for The Stowaway. I've been making a point of learning alongside Vivian Drew as she becomes part of the crew of the Jolly Roger, and using a sextant is an important element of that. I've got my book and my video, and yes, my sextant, but getting an actual lesson in how to use it was an unexpected joy.

The basic math wasn't bad--trigonometry was the only math class I liked in high school, so I knew I'd likely be all right in that regard. Actually taking a reading the sextant was more of a challenge, though. Once I figured out what I was supposed to be doing, I had it. Getting there was harder, especially with other people standing about waiting their turn, but I absolutely could not give up until I saw what I was supposed to through that eyepiece. And I did. And now Vivian can too.

Now I also get to find out if my brass display sextant works for more than display. Although I now know all my readings will be 48 degrees, if they're correct. Possibly that's not a problem.

The festival ends with a several-hour parade of about 300 boats and ships. It's possible (if pricey) to be on board the Lady Washington during the sail-by, my sources tell me---something to consider for next year.

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