21st Century Navigation is vulnerable to GPS failure. Hackers might penetrate the system, terrorists might jam the signal, solar storms might take out satellites or, more likely, your own onboard systems could fail. Exactly this happened to our school principal after a lightning strike.
The ultimate backup is a sextant, accurate time-piece, nautical almanac and a set of sight reduction tables but there are shortcuts and anybody equipped with a cheap plastic sextant, digital watch, mobile phone app or spreadsheet can plot their position quickly and accurately. Even the app or spreadsheet can be dispensed with by carrying a copy of Reeds Astro Navigation Tables. One slim volume costing around £20.
Until recently, the only formal training courses available for astro navigation were based on the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased or the US equivalent syllabus, which is principally aimed at those intending to attain professional qualifications and is constrained to the arcane 19th Century methods still mandated by The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency and US Coastguard.
Kipper Sailing's online Astro Navigation Made Simple course is designed for leisure sailors and teaches you everything you need to know to fix your position with a sextant in 6 straightforward lessons using 21st Century methods:
See here to view the first lesson.
It employs Skippers Online Astro Navigation Spreadsheet (SOANS) which replaces the need for a nautical almanac and sight reduction tables, enabling you to fix your position anywhere in The World by The Sun, Moon, planets or stars. It also teaches you to do the same thing with The Sun in conjunction with Reeds Astro Navigation Tables and includes the necessary extracts courtesy of McMillan Publishing.
At the end of the course, you'll be set a test question and, if you get it right we'll issue you with a course completion certificate.