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Christopher Columbus' Navigation Technique Tools

Christopher Columbus is one of the early navigators on earth. The mode of sailing used by sailors of his time was dead rocking. This method used various astronomy, geometry, special instruments and traditional sailing methods to determine their course and distance travelled. This method mainly relied on keeping track of the distance covered. The sailors could tell the distance moved by checking the time spent and multiplying it by the speed of the vessel. The sailor could also find distance moved by checking the distance between two points. You just needed to mark the starting known point on a map and check the end point. This allowed one to know the actual distance by calculating from the map. The end point on each day was important as it marked the starting point for the following day. Sailors thus kept track by marking these points on the maps. Christopher was the only sailor that kept logs of his tracks. It was thus easy for him to navigate. In most cases, he followed the west track and never deviated from it. He only deviated in a few instances like when there was contrary wind and at times to chase false signs.

Celestial Navigation

This was the navigation that was developed by the Portuguese. It was not one of the favorite modes of navigation of Columbus. He, however, tried it from time to time. This method used celestial bodies like the moon, stars and the sun to try and maintain the altitude. Each star was believed to be at a certain altitude. Therefore, if a sailor was directly above that altitude, then their actual altitude was that corresponding to the star. Christopher was not a great fan of this method. Of all the instances that he tried to measure the altitude, he did not get it right. He made mistakes because he was arrogant and ignored the use of terrestrial tools used for that means of sailing.

The tools used

Various tools were used. The most common one was the quadrant that was used to measure degrees. An alternative tool that could measure degrees was the astrolabe. The sandglass was the tool used to measure time. At times, it moved faster or slower than normal and thus required the ship boy to keep on adjusting it with respect to sunset, sunrise or midnight. Nocturnal was the tool used to tell time at night. It looked at the rotation of the stars around the terrestrial pole.