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Celestial Navigation Class

Sunday March 11, 2018 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Sunday March 18, 2018 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Sunday March 25, 2018 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Sunday April 8, 2018 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

illustrations of the earth, a sextant and a compass rose

The Waukegan | Joseph Conrad Yacht Club is offering a celestial navigation classMost boaters and travelers have been spoiled in recent years by handheld GPS devices, smartphones and Google maps. But, what happens when you are beyond the reach of the cell towers? What happens when the power goes out or the batteries go dead? What’s your backup method for navigation? When you are a thousand miles offshore it’s too late to look for alternative options.

The Celestial Navigation course provided by the Waukegan | Joseph Conrad Yacht Club is designed to teach you everything you need to know to navigate around the world using observations of the sun, stars and planets, along with a dead-reckoning track. The class is taught in 4 sessions:

Sesson 1: Dead Reckoning (prerequisite for all other sessions)

Date: March 11 (11am-3pm)

In this session you will learn:

  • How to obtain, read and use nautical charts
  • How to identify latitude and longitude
  • Measurement scales and other notations
  • Navigation terms and terminology.
  • How to plan a navigational track
  • How to create and maintain a navigation logbook
  • How to obtain fixes from visual observations
  • How to compute ETAs
  • How to identify set and drift and how to compensate for it
  • How to identify magnetic variation and apply compensation
  • How to create and maintain a dead reckoning track

Session 2: Navigating by the Sun

Date: March 18 (11am-3pm)

In this session you will learn:

  • How the sun can used for obtaining navigational fixes
  • How to use a sextant (hands on)
  • How to calibrate a sextant (hands on)
  • How to obtain visual observations of the sun (hands on)
  • How to use the Nautical Almanac and site reduction tables
  • How to calculate Line of Position
  • How to advance sight lines to create a fix

Session 3: Obtaining Latitude and Longitude

Date: March 25 (11am-3pm)

In this session you will learn:

  • How to test and calibrate chronometers and digital watches to ensure accurate observations and computation
  • How to compute Local Hour Angle (LHA) for obtaining assumed LAN
  • How to use a chronometer or digital watch to identify your longitude
  • How to shoot Local Apparent Noon (LAN) with sextant (hands on)

Session 4: Navigating by the stars and planets

Date: April 8 (TBD)

In this session you will learn:

  • How to use stars and planets for navigation
  • How to compute sunrise, sunset and dusk
  • How to compute Sidereal Hour Angle (SHA)
  • How to identify stars and planet for observation
  • How to obtain visual observations of planets and stars with sextant (hands on)
  • How to compute a Line of Position (LOP) from stars and planets
  • How to create a fix from multiple stars and planets

Register for Celestial Navigation

Welcome to the Waukegan Yacht Club

Harbor view of Waukegan | Joseph Conrad Yacht Club
Harbor view of Waukegan Yacht Club

The Waukegan Yacht Club provides a full-service yacht club to boaters and watercraft enthusiasts on the north shore. During the sailing season we have weekly club races and a special schedule of fall races. When the harbor is open the club offers dinner service for members and guests on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Off-season the club is also open and available for special events and parties. Members can access the clubhouse 24/7 to use the showers and bathrooms and for safe harbor.

cocktail bar at Waukegan Joseph Conrad Yacht Club
Have a cocktail at the bar or order a tasty treat from the kitchen.

Not interested in racing? We boat along one of the best cruising grounds in North America. Whether you want to go for a weekend or for a month, there are places to go. Cruising with a group gives you the added camaraderie of boating with friends and the added security of numbers. Power boaters will get there faster and sailors will get there cheaper but, on the dock, the drinks and food and love of our lake are the same.

people riding in a powerboat
The club has an active power squadron

Cruising with the Waukegan Yacht Club is a no–host event. We try, when possible, to have slips close together. On the day of the cruise, we meet for a brief “captains’ meeting” to work out final details.  First boat to the destination helps the later arrivals. Generally, we have a get-together on the dock where each boat brings an hors d’oeuvres and their favorite beverage. There is then the opportunity to go out for dinner as a group or eat aboard. On the return departure, guess who helps with the dock lines!

clouds reflected on the water in Waukegan Harbor
Another beautiful day in Waukegan Harbor

Don’t own a boat? No problem, the club owns an impressive fleet of dinghies and small sail craft that are free to use by all members. In 2017, the club received the donation of a 27-foot sloop. In 2018, this boat will be available to members for both racing, cruising or just daysailing.

Three smiling people sailing on lake michigan
Sailing on the lake is a fun group activity.

Don’t know how to sail? The Waukegan Yacht Club offers and hosts classes for adults, youth and children in sailing, crewing, basic seamanship, sailboat racing and even navigation. Classes are free or discounted for members.

sailing dinghies in the harbor
The club’s fleet of sailing dinghies and small sail craft are all available to members

You can see that there are many reasons to join the Waukegan Yacht Club. So, what are you waiting for?