Speaker Series: Celestial Navigation

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Have you ever wondered how ancient seafarers directed their ships upon the open ocean without the use of modern day technology? Today we have many devices at our fingertips that allow us to accurately pinpoint our location in the world. Even without smartphones and GPS, will still have reference points like reliable maps, signage, and landmarks to understand where we are. But what if we didn’t? This is a challenge many ancient explorers once faced. Join Steve Durham, avid ocean sailor and navigation specialist, at the Squam Lakes Association, Wednesday, February 8th at 7:00PM.

During this special Squam Speaker Series event, Steve will take us on a journey to understand the art and science of celestial navigation. This practice is used both on land, and by sea, to help navigators find their way by the sun, moon, stars, and planets, and one of the oldest navigation methods in human history. Steve will teach you how to use a sextant, an instrument that uses mirrors to more accurately locate our exact position on the globe. 

Steve will  highlight the following components:

1.  Development of the sextant. 

2.  Using a sextant. 

3.  Reading a sextant. 

4.  Celestial bodies used in navigation. 

5.  Explanation of the simple math needed to obtain a "fix".

6.  Finding your way using Celestial Bodies without using a sextant.

This is one speaker series where you are sure to walk away with skills that will guide you in the night sky and beyond. Join us at the Squam Lakes Association, 534 US Route 3, Holderness, NH at 7pm. This program is free and open to the public. 


About Stephen Durham: Bio

I have been sailing and boating since I was 8 years old.  Have spent the last ten years as a delivery captain/navigator/first mate making several transatlantic and East Coast to Caribbean deliveries on vessels from 65 to 92 feet in length.  

Worked as crew on two Portland based traditionally rigged schooners, the “WENDAMEEN” and the “BEGHEERA”.

I am also a sailing and navigation instructor with the American Sailing Association and have been pursuing that line of work for the last 6 years as well.

Have tutored several people who needed assistance with navigation in order to pass the USCG captains license test.  
I captain a private yacht and am substitute captain for two others in the Portland area.

Member of the US Coast Guard from 1969 - 1973.
While in the USCG spent 3 years on the polar icebreaker, “EDISTO”.  It was on this boat that I learned celestial navigation.  Voyaged to the Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic and to Thule Greenland and Baffin Bay in the Arctic, plus spent on winter breaking ice in the Great Lakes.