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General Navigation Formulae

Plain Sailing: Departure (Dep) = Difference in Longitude (D’Long) X Cosine {Mean} Latitude
Departure = Tangent Course
Difference in Latitude(D’Lat)
Difference in Latitude(D’Lat) = Distance X Cosine Course

Mercator Sailing: Difference in Longitude (D’Long) = Tangent Course


Difference in Meridian Parts
Difference in Latitude(D’Lat) = Distance X Cosine Course

Great Circle Sailing:

Cosine Distance = {Cosine Latitude A x Cosine Latitude B x Cosine D’Long} +/- {Sine Latitude A x Sine Latitude B}

Add (+) If Both signs are in the same hemisphere. Subtract (-) If Both signs are in opposite hemispheres.

Initial Course: A = Tangent Latitude A A = Opposite Sign to Latitude of Initial Position


Tangent {Difference in Longitude} unless 90o <D’long<270o

B = Tangent Latitude B B = Same Sign as Latitude of Final Position


Sine {Difference in Longitude}
C = A (+/-) B Add if the Signs are the same, subtract the lesser value from the
greater value if not. The sign used is the same as the greater of the
two values.

Tangent Initial Course = 1


C x Cosine Latitude A

(N) or (S) Depending on the greater sign of A or B above


Sign {E} if 180o<D’long<360o or Sign {W} if 0o<D’long<180o

Final Course: A = Tangent Latitude B A = Opposite Sign to Latitude of Initial Position,


Tangent {Difference in Longitude} unless 90o <D’long<270o

B = Tangent Latitude A B = Same Sign as Latitude of Final Position


Sine {Difference in Longitude}
C = A (+/-) B Add if the Signs are the same, subtract the lesser value from the greater value if
not. The sign used is the same as the greater of the two values.

Tangent Initial Course = 1


C x Cosine Latitude A

(N) or (S) Depending on the greater sign of A or B above


Sign {E} if 180o<D’long<360o or Sign {W} if 0o<D’long<180o

Napiers Rules:

PV AV {Used to Find The Vertex, Distance Between Positions and the Vertex and D’long}.
Sine Mid Part = Cosine Opposite x Cosine Opposite
or
Sine Mid Part = Tangent Adjacent x Tangent Adjacent
P A The Compliment is simply 90o -

PA
Be aware that if the difference in Longitude is less than 90o and the difference in Latitude is more than 10 o , then the vertex
could lie outside the Great Circle course line between positions. Also the Vertices may lie outside the Great Circle course line
if the two positions are in opposite hemispheres. Also when positions are in opposite hemispheres the compliment of the
course at the equator is the latitude of the each vertex. Finally the Longitude of each Vertex must be 90o away from the
position where the ship crosses the equator.
Celestial Navigation:

Almanac Calculation Norries Calculation


Sextant Altitude Sextant Altitude
Index Error (+/-) Index Error (+/-)
Observed Altitude Observed Altitude
Height of Eye (dip) Height of Eye (dip)
Apparent Altitude Apparent Altitude
Total Correction(+/-) Refraction (-Ve )
True Altitude Semi-Diameter (-Ve if Upper Limb, +Ve if Lower Limb)
Parallax (+Ve)
True Altitude
True Zenith Distance = 90o - True Altitude

Calculated Zenith Distance = {Cosine LHA x Cosine Latitude x Cosine Declination} +/- {Sine Latitude x Sine Declination}

Add (+) If Both signs for Latitude and Declination are in the same hemisphere. Subtract (-) If Both signs for Latitude and Declination are in opposite
hemispheres.

For Zenith Distance use {True Tiny Towards} if TZD<CZD. Else {True Greater Away} if TZD>CZD.

If Comparing Altitudes Remember Calculated Altitude = 90o - Calculated Zenith Distance.

Azimuth: A = Tangent Latitude A A = Opposite Sign to Latitude of Initial Position


Tangent {Difference in Longitude} unless 90o <D’long<270o

B = Tangent Latitude B B = Same Sign as Latitude of Final Position


Sine {Difference in Longitude}
C = A (+/-) B Add if the Signs are the same, subtract the lesser value from the greater value if
not. The sign used is the same as the greater of the two values.

Azimuth = Tangent-1 1
C x Cosine Latitude

(N) or (S) Depending on the greater sign of A or B above


Sign {E} if 180o<D’long<360o or Sign {W} if 0o<D’long<180o

Amplitudes: Sine Amplitude = Sine Declination


Cosine Latitude

Useful Nautical Almanac Formulae:

Universal Time(UTC) = Local Mean Time (LMT) + Longitude West (Expressed in Time) or
(UTC = GMT) Local Mean Time (LMT) - Longitude East (Expressed in Time)

Longitude in Time = Longitude


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Local Hour Angle (LHA) of a Body = Greenwich Hour Angle (GHA) of Body + Longitude East or
Greenwich Hour Angle (GHA) of Body - Longitude West
Local Hour Angle (LHA) of a Star = Greenwich Hour Angle (GHA) of Aries ( ٢ ) + Sidereal Hour Angle (SHA) + Longitude East
or Greenwich Hour Angle (GHA) of Aries ( ٢ ) + Sidereal Hour Angle (SHA) - Longitude West

Meridian Passage and Rendezvous Problems Using the Second Approximation Method:
When Calculating the time of Rendezvous at Sun Rise, Sunset, {Civil or Nautical} Twilights with another vessel and Meridian Passage;
convert local time into Universal Time for your position.
Then interpolate from the Nautical Almanac daily pages the time for Sun Rise, Sunset, {Civil or Nautical} Twilights or Meridian Passage.
Now calculate the time difference between the two times – This will give you a steaming time to calculate an approximate steaming distance
and calculate a 1st [approximate] rendezvous position for the given speed and course of your vessel, using Parallel Sailing Formulae. Re-
interpolate the Time of Sun Rise, Sunset, {Civil or Nautical} Twilights and Meridian Passage from the Daily Pages for this 1st Approximate
position. Re-iterate the Steaming time and Steaming distance then re-calculate a 2nd Approximate position using Parallel Sailing Formulae.
Finally for this 2nd Approximate Position, determine the Time of Sun Rise, Sunset, {Civil or Nautical} Twilights and Meridian Passage from
the Daily Pages of the Almanac.