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NAVIGATION

Great Circle Sailing


Great Circle Sailing is used for long ocean passages. For this purpose,
the earth is considered a perfect spherical shape; therefore, the
shortest distance between two points on its surface is the arc of the
great circle containing two points. As the track is the circle, so the
course is constantly changing, and the track must be broken down
into a series of short rhumb lines at frequent intervals that can be
used to sail on the Mercator chart. Doing this, the navigator would
use the Gnomonic charts combined with the Mercator charts to draw
the sailing track.

EQ Equator AB Great circle track


P Pole Great circle initial course
PA Polar distance of A Great circle final course
PB Polar distance of B

Procedure to use 1. Plot departure and destination positions on the gnomonic chart;
Gnomonic and join two positions, since the great circle appears as a straight
Mercator Charts for line on the gnomonic chart.
Great Circle Sailing
2. C
 hoose the specific interval meridian along the track where the
course will be changed. Then plot the positions of intersection
of the track and the meridian chosen on the Mercator chart.

3. Join all the plotted positions on the Mercator chart by a series of


rhumb lines; the course and distance between each position can
be solved by the plane sailing method.

As the great circle track line is plotted on the gnomonic chart, the
vertex and the chosen intermediate positions can be read off directly
from the chart. However, this is not as accurate as the calculation
which will be shown later in this section.

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Great circle distance


= cos AB cosPAcosPB + sinPAsinPBcosP
= sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD.long.AB

=DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD.Long.AB )

cosPB cosPAcos AB sinLat B sinLat A cosDAB


Initial
= course cos =
sinPAsin AB cosLat A sinDAB

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


=cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB

The initial course also can be calculated by following formulas:



cosLat.B sinD.Long.AB
=sin 1
sinDAB
or
sinD. Long.AB
=tan 1
cosLat.A tanLat.B sinLat.A cosD. Long.AB

cosPA cosPBcos AB sinLat A sinLat B cosDAB


Final
= course cos =
sinPBsin AB cosLat B sinDAB

sinLat A sinLat B cosDAB


B = arccos
cosLat B sinDAB

The final course also can be calculated by following formulas:

cosLat.A sinD.Long.AB
=sin 1
sinD AB
or
sinD. Long.AB
=tan 1
cosLat.B tanLat.A sinLat.B cosD. Long.AB

The great circle calculations of initial and final courses result in


quadrantal notation as cardinal compass. Corrected quadrant must
be named in order to avoid mistakes when converting into three-
figure notation (0-360).

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Rules to name The initial course always has same name as the initial latitude and
Initial and Final east or west direction of the course. The final course always has the
Courses of a Great opposite name from final latitude unless initial position and final
Circle position are in different hemispheres, when the final will have same
name as final latitude and east or west direction of the course.

Summary Direction of course: Easterly

Initial
Latitude
North South
Final
Latitude
Initial course: NE Initial course: SE
North
Final course: SE Final course: NE

Initial course: NE Initial course: SE


South
Final course: SE Final course: NE

Direction of course: Westerly

Initial
Latitude
North South
Final
Latitude
Initial course: NW Initial course: SW
North
Final course: SW Final course: NW

Initial course: NW Initial course: SW


South
Final course: SW Final course: NW

Initial and final courses can also be found by using ABC tables or
ABC computations, just like solving the azimuth of a celestial body
by considering one position as the observers position and another
as position of the celestial body. The azimuth would be the initial or
final course, depending which is designated. For example, in order to
find initial course, the initial position is considered as the observers
position, and the final position as the celestial position. Conversely,
for finding the final course; the final position is considered as the
observers position, and initial position as the celestial position. The
course would be named as "C", and direction is the hour angle which
is D. Long. between two positions.

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NAVIGATION

Example 1 Find the distance, initial course and final course:

From A: 56 20 N 00812 W
To B: 5212 N 05710 W

56 20 N
Lat.A = 5212 N
Lat.B =

D.Long.AB = 5710 812 = 4858(W)

Distance
= DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 ( sin5620 sin5212 + cos56 20 cos5212 cos4858 )

= 2816.5
Distance = 1696.5 miles

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin5212 sin56 20 cos2816.5

=cos 1 =77 25.4 =
77.4
cos56 20 sin2816.5

= N77.4 W
Initial course = 282.6 T

sinLat A sinLat B cosDAB


Final course =cos 1
cosLat B sinDAB
sin56 20 sin52 12 cos2816.5
=cos 1 =6158.7 =
62.0
cos5212 sin2816.5
Final course = S62.0 W = 242 T

Example 2 Find the distance, initial course and final course of great circle
sailing:

From A : 33 22S 113 08 E


To B : 1051S 04916 E

33 22S
Lat.A = 1051S
Lat.B =

D. Long.AB = 113 08 4916 = 6352(W)

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NAVIGATION

Distance
= DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 ( sin33 22 sin1051 + cos33 22 cos1051 cos6352 )
= 6218.1

Distance = 3738.1miles

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB
Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin1051 sin33 22 cos6218.1
=cos 1 =9513.8 =
95.2
cos33 22 sin6218.1

= S95.2 W
Initial course = 275.2 T

sinLat A sinLat B cosDAB


Final course =cos 1
cosLat B sinDAB
sin33 22 sin1051 cos6218.1
=cos 1 =5752.1 =
57.9
cos1051 sin6218.1

= N57.9 W= 302.1 T
Final course

Example 3 Find the distance and initial course of great circle sailing from
Vancouver to Guam:
Crossing 180
meridian Vancouver (A): 4912 N 12250 W
Guam (B): 1330 N 14515 E

Lat.A = 4912 N Lat.B = 1330 N

D.Long.AB = 360 (12250 + 14515 )


= 9155(W)

Distance
= DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 ( sin4912 sin1330 + cos4912 cos1330 cos9155 )
=8103.4
Distance = 4863.4 miles

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin1330 sin4912 cos8103.4
= cos 1 = 79 40.1= 79.7
cos4912 sin8103.4

= N79.7 W
Initial course = 280.3 T

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NAVIGATION

Example 4 Find the distance and initial course of great circle sailing from Bluff
Harbour to Easter Island:
Crossing 180
meridian Bluff Harbour (A): 46 20S 16910 E
Easter Island (B): 2625S 10515 W

Lat.A = 46 20S Lat.B = 2625S

D.Long.AB = 360 (16910 + 10515 )


= 8535(E)

Distance
= DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 ( sin46 20 sin2625 + cos46 20 cos2625 cos8535 )

=6819.1
Distance = 4099.1miles

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin2625 sin46 20 cos6819.1
= cos 1 = 7355.5= 73.9
cos46 20 sin6819.1

= S73.9=
Initial course E 106.1 T

Example 5 Find the distance, initial course and final course of great circle
sailing:
Crossing the Equator
and 180 meridian From A : 17 S 170 E
To B : 22 N 110 W

Lat.A =
17 S Lat.B =
22 N
D.Long.=
AB 360 (170 + 110 )
= 80(E)
Since the name of the latitude of
the destination is contrary to the
latitude of departure, then the
latitude of destination is treated as
a negative quantity.

=
Distance DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 ( sin17 sin( 22) + cos17cos( 22)cos80 )

=87 27.2
Distance = 5247.2miles

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NAVIGATION

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin ( 22 ) sin17 cos8727.2
= cos 1
cos17 sin8727.2
= 11356.1 = 113.9
= S113.9=
Initial course E 066.1 T

sinLat A sinLat B cosDAB


Final course =cos 1
cosLat B sinDAB
sin17 sin( 22)cos87 27.2
= cos 1
cos( 22)sin8727.2
= 7030.7= 70.5
= N70.5=
Final course E 070.5 T

Example 6 Compare rhumb line distance with great circle distance:

Dunedin (A): 45 44S 17115 E


Panama (B): 730 N 7921 W

Rhumb line sailing Lat.A 4544S M.P.A 3075.80 Long.A 17115 E


Lat.B 730 N M.P.B 448.24 Long.B 79 21 W
D. Lat. 3194(N) D.M.P. 3524.04 D. Long. 6564(E)

D.Long. 6564
C tan 1
= = tan 1 = 61.8
D.M.P. 3524.04

D. Lat. 3194
=
Distance = = 6159.1miles
cosC cos61.8

Great circle sailing Lat.A = 45 44 S Lat.B = 0730 N

D.Long.AB = 360 (17115 + 79 21 ) = 109 24

=DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )


= cos 1 ( sin45 44 sin730 + cos45 44 cos730 cos109 24 )
= 10851.9
Distance = 6531.9miles

Difference = 6531.9 6159.1 = 372.8miles

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NAVIGATION

Vertex The arc of a great circle will always curve towards the nearest pole
and away from the equator. The vertex is the point on a great circle
that is closest to the pole; by knowing the latitude of the vertex, if it
is too high (which is usually associates with ice, fog, cold and severe
weather), the navigator might have to modify the passage plan for a
safer voyage. There are two vertices on a great circle, 180 apart; the
nearer vertex is usually the chosen one for navigational calculation.
The vertexs latitude is always numerically equal to or greater than
the latitude of any other point on the great circle, including the
latitude of departure and destination. At the vertex, the great circle
is running in a direction of 090/270. Knowing the position of the
vertex also helps in calculating the position of any intermediate
position on the track of a great circle. In the spherical triangle APB, if
angles A and B are less than 90; the vertex will lie inside the triangle
between A and B, as shown in the figure (1) below, and the ships
track passes through the vertex. If either A or B is greater than 90,
the vertex will lie outside the spherical triangle and on the side of the
angle which is greater than 90, as shown in the figure (2) below, and
the ships track does not pass through the vertex.

The vertex is 90 from the point where the track of the great
circle cuts the equator.

The course where the great circle crosses the equator is equal to
the co. latitude of the vertex.

A Initial position
AV Great circle track
V Vertex (upper branch)
V Vertex (lower branch)
QV Latitude of vertex
EQ Equator
C Intersection of GC track and
equator
GC course at equator
PNV Co. Latitude of vertex V

PN V =
CV =
90

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

The position of the vertex, and the distance from departure point to
vertex, can be calculated by using Napiers Rules in the right angle
triangle PVA:

For all formulas used for great circle vertex calculations, if the name of
the latitude of any position, including the departure and destination, is
contrary to the latitude of the vertex, then the latitude of those having
a contrary name to the latitude of vertex is treated as a negative
quantity.

Latitude of the
= vertex =
sinPV cos ( co A ) cos(coPA) sin AsinPA
(Lat.V)
cosLat.V = sin AcosLat.A

Lat.V cos 1 ( sin cosLat.A ) or
= = Lat.V cos 1 ( sin cosLat.B )

Difference of sin(coP) = tanPV tan(coPA)



longitude between
cot PA tanL
departure and vertex cosP = cosD.Long.AV =A
(D. Long.AV) cot PV tanL V
tanLat.A
D.Long.AV = cos 1
tanLat.V

D. Long. can also be found by the formula:

sin(co A) = cosPV cos(coP)


cos A = cosPV sinP
cos A cos A
sinP= sinD.Long.AV=
cosPV sinLat.V

cos
D.Long.AV = sin 1
sinLat.V
When using above formula, if the latitude of departure is contrary to
the vertex, then the result has to be subtracted by 180 to get corrected
D. Long.

Difference of tanLat.B cos


longitude between D.Long.BV = cos 1 1
or D.Long.BV = sin
destination and vertex tanLat.V sinLat.V
(D. Long.BV)
Similarly, when using the above formula, if the latitude of destination
is contrary to vertex, then the result has to be subtracted by 180 to get
corrected D. Long.

Distance
= from = sinPAsinP
sin AV cos(coPA)cos(coP)
departure position to sinD = cosLat.A sinD.Long.AV
the vertex (DAV)
AV

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

DAV = sin 1 ( cosLat.A sinD. Long.AV ) or

sin(coP) = cos AV cos(co A)


cosP = cos AV sin A
cosP cosD. Long.AV
cos AV = DAV = cos 1
sin A sin

Example 7 Find the great circle distance, the initial course and the position
of the vertex, and also the distance from departure position to the
vertex:

From A : 3455S 5610 W


To B : 3355S 18 25 E

3455S
Lat.A = 3355S
Lat.B =

D. Long.AB = 05610 + 18 25 = 7435(E)

=
Distance DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 ( sin3455 sin3355 + cos3455 cos3355 cos7435 )

= 5958.9
Distance = 3598.9miles

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin3355 sin3455 cos5958.9
=cos 1 =6730.4 =
67.5
cos3455 sin5958.9

= S67.5=
Initial course E 112.5 T

Vertexs position Lat.V = cos 1 ( sin coslat.A ) = cos 1 ( sin6730.4 cos3455 )

Lat.=
V 40 44.8S
tanLat A 1 tan3455
D. Long.V= cos 1 =
cos = 3553.0(E)
tanLat.V tan40 44.8

Long.V = 5610 W 3553.0(E) = 2017 W

44 44.8S Long.V =
Vertex's Position: Lat.V = 2017.0 W

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Distance from = sin 1 ( cosLat.A sinD.Long.AV=


DAV ) sin 1 ( cos3455 sin3553.0)
departure position to
= 28 43.6
the vertex
Distance = 1723.6 miles

Practical Method for It is not practical for a ship to sail along a great circle track, because
Great Circle Sailing she has to change course constantly in order to follow it. Therefore,
the great circle is divided into equal segments by longitudes, and is
then made up of a series of rhumb lines. The rhumb lines can be
plotted on the Mercator chart and followed by the ship. The rule of
thumb for selecting the equal interval D. Long. from the vertex is:

Short legs in lower latitudes,


long legs in higher latitudes

By using Napiers rules for the spherical right-angle triangle PVX:

Latitude at the sin(coP) = tanPV tan(coPX)


meridian cuts the cosP = tanPV cot PX
great circle track
cosP
cot PX = tanPX = cosPcot PV
tanPV
tanLat.X = cosD.Long.VX tanLat.V

Lat.X = tan 1 ( cosD.Long.VX tanLat.V )

Course at the sin(coX) = cosPV cos(coP)


meridian cuts the= =
cosX cosPV sinP sinLat.V sinD.Long.VX
great circle track
X = cos ( sinLat.V sinD.Long.VX )
1

The longitude can also be selected as the equal interval distance on


the great circle from the vertex, and the position can be calculated by
using Napiers rules:

sin(coPX) = cosPV cosVX


=
cosPX cosPV cosVX sinLat.
= X sinLat.V cosDVX

Lat.X = sin 1 ( sinLat.V cosDVX )

sin(coP) = tan(coPX)tanPV
tanLat.X
= cot PX tanPV
cosP cosD.Long.VX=
tanLat.V
tanLat X
D. Long.VX = cos 1
tanLat V

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Example 8 Find: the great circle distance; initial course; final course; position
of the vertex; and the latitudes that cut intermediate meridians at 5
intervals, starting from the departure meridian:

From A : 51 25 N 930 W
To B : 46 00 N 49 00 W

Lat.A = 51 25 N Lat.B = 46 00 N

D.Long.AB = 4900 W 930 W


= 3930(W)

Distance
= DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 ( sin5125 sin46 00 + cos51 25 cos46 00 cos3930 )

=2617.1
Distance = 1577.1miles

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB

sin46 00 sin51 25 cos3930
= cos 1 = 86 09.9= 86.2
cos51 25 sin3930

= N86.2 W
Initial course = 273.8 T

sinLat A sinLat B cosDAB


Final course =cos 1
cosLat B sinDAB
sin51 25 sin4600'cos3930
= cos 1 = 6336.5= 63.6
cos4600 sin3930

= S63.6 W
Final course = 243.6 T

Vertexs Position =
Lat.V cos 1 ( sin coslat.A )
= cos 1 ( sin86 09.9 cos51 25 ) = 5131.1 N

tanLat A tan5125
cos 1
D. Long.AV = = =454.0(W)
tanLat V tan5131.1
Long.V =
930.0 W + 454.0(W) =
1424.0 W

Vertex's Position: Lat.V =5131.1 N Long.V =1424.0 W

Waypoints For intervals of D. Long. of 5 from departure position (A)


Long.A =
930.0 W Long.V =1424.0 W

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Latitude of any x position can be calculated by formula:

Lat.X = tan 1 ( cosD.Long.VX tanLat.V )

Longitude D. Long.VX Latitude


Position
(Long.X ) (Long.X Long.V ) (Lat.X )
X1 1430 W 006 5131.1 N
X2 1930 W 506 5124.5 N
X3 2430 W 1006 5104.9 N
X4 2930 W 1506 5032.1 N
X5 3430 W 2006 4945.2 N
X6 3930 W 2506 4843.4 N
X7 4430 W 3006 4725.4 N

Example 9 Find: the great circle distance; initial course; position of the vertex;
distance from departure position to the vertex; and the positions
where the meridians of 140 W, 160 W, 180 and 160 E cut the track
on the great circle:

From A : 48 24 N 124 44 W
To B : 3450 N 13950 E

48 24 N
Lat.A = 3450 N
Lat.B =

D.Long.=
AB 360 (124 44 + 13950 )
= 95 26(W)

Distance
= DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 ( sin48 24 sin3450 + cos48 24 cos3450 cos95 26 )

= 5756.6
Distance = 4076.6miles

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin3450 sin48 24 cos6756.6

= cos 1
cos48 24 sin6756.6
6150.6 =
= 61.8
= N61.8 W
Initial course = 298.2 T

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Lat.V cos 1 ( sin cosLat.A )


Vertexs Position =
=cos 1 ( sin6150.6 cos48 24 ) =5410.3 N

tanLat A tan4824
D. Long.AV =cos 1 = =3535.6(W)
tanLat V tan5410.3

Long.V = 124 44 W + 3535.6 = 16019.6 W

5410.3 N Long.V =
Vertex's Position: Lat.V = 16019.6 W

Distance from DAV = sin 1 ( cosLat.A sinD.Long.AV )


departure position to
= sin 1 ( cos48 24 sin3535.6 )
the vertex
= 22 43.9 Distance = 1363.9 miles

Position where the Lat.X = tan 1 ( cosD. Long.VX tanLat.V )


meridian cut the great
circle track
Longitude D. Long.VX Latitude
Position
(Long.X ) (Long.X Long.V ) (Lat.X )
X1 140 W 2019.6 5224.4 N
X2 160 W 019.6 5410.3 N
X3 180 W 1940.4 5231.3 N
X4 160 E 3940.4 4650.0 N

Example 10 Find the great circle distance; initial course; final course; longitude
where the great circle crosses the equator; nearest vertex; and the
Crossing Equator waypoints at 10 intervals from 130W to 170W:

From A : 30 N 120 W
To B : 20 S 173 W

Lat.A =
30 N Lat.B =
20 S

D.Long.AB= 173 120= 53 (W)

Since the name of the latitude of


the destination is contrary to the
latitude of departure, then the
latitude of destination is treated as
a negative quantity.

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Distance
= DAB cos 1 ( sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB )
= cos 1 sin30 sin ( 20 ) + cos30 cos ( 20 ) cos53

=71 24.8
Distance = 4284.8miles

sinLat.B sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin ( 20 ) sin30 cos7124.8
= cos 1
cos30 sin7124.8
= 12738.9
= 127.6
= N127.6 W
Initial course = 232.4 T

sinLat A sinLat B cosDAB


Final course =cos 1
cosLat B sinDAB
sin30 sin ( 20 ) cos71 24.8
= cos 1
cos ( 20 ) sin71 24.8
= 4651.7= 46.9
= S46.9 W
Final course = 226.9 T

Vertexs position In this case, the angle PAB is greater than 90; therefore, the vertex
does not lie between A and B, but outside of the A side. From the
right-angled triangle PVA:

Lat.V cos 1 ( sin cosLat.A )


=
= cos 1 ( sin12738.9 cos30 ) = 46 42.6 N
tanLat A tan30
D. Long.AV =cos 1 = =5703.1(E)
tanLat V tan4642.6
Long.=
V 120 W + 57 03.1
= 06256.9 W
Vertex's Position: Lat.V =4642.6 N Long.V =06256.9 W

Longitude where At the pole, the meridian of the position where the great circle
great circle crosses crosses the equator is 90 with the meridian of the vertex. We can
the Equator prove this as follows:

tanLat.X = cosD.Long.VX tanLat.V

At equator, Lat.X equals zero so tanLat.X = 0

=
cosD.Long.VX tanLat. V 0 Lat.V 0 tanLat.V 0
cosD.Long.VX =
0 D.Long.VX =
90

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

=
Longitude XE Long.V + D. Long.VXE
=6256.9 W + 90 =15256.9 W
Meridian where great circle crosses the equator is 15256.9 W

Positions where the Lat.X = tan 1 ( cosD.Long.VX tanLat.V )


meridian cut the great
circle track
Longitude D. Long.VX Latitude
Position
(Long.X ) (Long.X Long.V ) (Lat.X )
X1 130 W 6703.0 2229.1 N
X2 140 W 7703.0 1322.8 N
X3 150 W 8703.0 0307.5 N
X4 160 W 9703.0 0725.5S
X5 170 W 10703.0 1717.4S

Example 11 From A : 45 N 100 W


To B : 30 S 130 E
Crossing Equator
and 180 Meridian
Find:
1. Great circle distance
2. Initial course
3. Final course
4. Vertexs position
5. Course at equator
6. Longitude when crossing equator
7. Latitude when crossing 180 meridian
8. Course and latitude for every 10 longitude
9. Mercator sailing course and distance
10. Compare distance between sailing methods.

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Lat.A =
45 N Lat.B =
30 S

D.Long.=
AB 360 (100 + 130=
) 130(W)

Since the name of the latitude of the destination is contrary to the


latitude of departure, then the latitude of destination is treated as a
negative quantity.

Distance
= DAB cos 1 sinLat.A sinLat.B + cosLat.A cosLat.B cosD. Long.AB
= cos 1 sin45 sin ( 30 ) + cos45 cos ( 30 ) cos130

= 138 20.8
Distance = 8300.8miles

sin ( Lat.B ) sinLat.A cosDAB


Initial course =cos 1
cosLat.A sinDAB
sin ( 30 ) sin45 cos13820.8
= cos 1
cos45 sin13820.8
= 8632.6= 86.5
Initial course
= N86.5 W
= 273.5 T

sinLat.A sin ( Lat.B ) cosDAB


Final course =cos 1
cos ( Lat.B ) sinDAB
sin45 sin ( 30 ) cos138 20.8
= cos 1
cos ( 30 ) sin13820.8
= 5435.3= 54.6
= S54.6 W= 234.6 T
Final course

Vertexs position Lat.V = cos 1 ( sin AcosLat.A )


= cos 1 ( sin8632.6 cos45 )= 4506.2 N

tanLat A tan45
cos 1
D. Long.AV = = =452.9(W)
tanLat V tan4506.2
Long.V= 100 00 W + 452.9(W)= 10452.9W

Vertex's Position: Lat.V =4506.2 N Long.V =10452.9 W

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Great circle course At the equator, the angle between a great circle track and the
when crossing the equator equals the latitude of the vertex.
Equator
=Latitude of vertex

Course= 180 +
= 180 + coLat.V
= 180 + ( 90 4506.2 )
= 22453.8
= 224.9T

Longitude of position The meridian of the position at the equator and the meridian of the
at Equator vertex would make an angle of 90 at the pole.

Longitude = 360 (10452.9 + 90 ) = 16507.1 E

Latitude when Lat.X = tan 1 ( cosD.Long.VX tanLat.V )


crossing 180
Meridian D.Long.VX =180 10452.9 =7507.1
Lat.X =tan 1 ( cos7507.1 tan4506.2 ) =1427.2N

Latitude at every 10 Lat.X = tan 1 ( cosD.Long.VX tanLat.V )



of Longitude

Longitude D. Long.VX Latitude


Position
(Long.X ) (Long.X Long.V ) (Lat.X )
X1 110 W 507.1 4459.4 N
X2 120 W 1507.1 4405.7 N
X3 130 W 2507.1 4215.7 N
X4 140 W 3507.1 3923.0 N
X5 150 W 4507.1 3518.4 N
X6 160 W 5507.1 2951.3 N
X7 170 W 6507.1 2253.6 N
X8 180 7507.1 1427.2 N
X9 170 E 8507.1 452.9 N
X10 160 E 9507.1 507.0S
X11 150 E 10507.1 1440.1S
X12 140 E 11507.1 2304.5S

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION


Rhumb line course
Long. Lat. Mean Lat. D. Lat. Dep. Co. Dist.
and distance at every
10 of Longitude X0 100 W 4500.0 N
4459.7 N 0.6 424.3 269.9 424.3
X1 110 W 4459.4 N
4432.6 N 53.7 427.6 262.8 431.0
X2 120 W 4405.7 N
4310.7 N 110.0 437.5 255.9 451.1
X3 130 W 4215.7 N
4049.4 N 172.7 454.0 249.2 485.7
X4 140 W 3923.0 N
3720.7 N 244.6 477.0 242.9 536.1
X5 150 W 3518.4 N
3234.9 N 327.1 505.6 237.1 602.2
X6 160 W 2951.3 N
2622.5 N 417.7 537.5 232.1 680.7
X7 170 W 2253.6 N
1840.4 N 506.4 568.4 228.3 761.3
X8 180 1427.2 N
940.1 N 574.3 591.5 225.9 824.4
X9 170 E 452.9 N
007.1 S 599.9 600.0 225.0 848.5
X 10 160 E 507.0 S
953.6 S 573.1 591.1 225.9 823.3
X 11 150 E 1440.1 S
1852.3 S 504.4 567.8 228.4 759.5
X 12 140 E 2304.5 S
2632.3 S 415.5 536.8 232.3 678.8
X 13 130 E 3000.0 S

Total distance: 8306.9 miles

Mercator sailing From A : 45 N 100 W


course and distance To B : 30 S 130 E

Lat.A 45 N M.P.A 3013.38 Long.A 100 W


Lat.B 30 S M.P.B 1876.67 Long.B 130 E
D. Lat. 4500(S) D.M.P. 4890.05 D. Long. 7800(W)

D.Long. 7800
C tan 1
= = tan 1 = 57.9
D.M.P. 4890.05

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NAVIGATION

= S57.9 W + 180
Course = 237.9T

D. Lat 4500
=
Distance = = 8471.8miles
cosC cos57.9

Compare distances Great circle distance: 8300.8 miles


between methods of Series rhumb line course: 8306.9 miles
sailings One rhumb line course: 8471.8 miles

We can see there is not much difference when breaking down the
great circle track by a series of rhumb lines for convenience (6.1
miles difference), but it still saves compared to Mercator sailing
164.9 miles.

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Composite Great The great circle track is always curved toward the nearest pole,
Circle Sailing where its vertex is the point nearest to the pole. In very high latitudes,
the track of a great circle cannot go beyond a certain latitude due to
navigational restrictions, e.g., ice, fog, severe weather, etc. In such
cases, the sailing track of a great circle has to be modified. The track
then consists of the combined parts of great circles and the parallel
of limiting latitude, which is called Composite Great Circle Sailing.
So, composite great circle sailing is a combination of great circle
sailing and parallel sailing.

Initial=
course =
sinPV1 cos ( co A ) cos ( coPA ) sin AsinPA
sinPV1 cosLat.V
=
sin A =
sinPA cosLat.A

cosLat.V
=sin 1
cosLat.A

Final=
course =
sinPV2 cos ( coPB) cos ( coB) sinPBsinB
sinPV2 cosLat.V
=
sinB =
sinPB cosLat.B

cosLat.V
=sin 1
cosLat.B

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

D. Long. between sin ( coP1 ) = tanPV1 tan ( coPA )


departure,
tanLat.A
destination
= cosP1 tanPV= 1 cot PA
positions and tanLat.V

vertices
tanLat.A
D.Long.AV1 = cos 1
tanLat.V

sin ( coP2 ) = tanPV2 tan ( coPB )


tanLat.B
= =
cosP2 tanPV2 cot PB
tanLat.V

tanLat.B
D.Long.BV2 = cos 1
tanLat.V


Distance from sin ( coPA ) = cos AV1 cosPV1 sin ( coPB ) = cosBV2 cosPV2
departure position cosPA = cos AV1 cosPV1 cosPB = cosBV2 cosPV2
and destination to
limiting latitude cosPA sinLat.A cosPB sinLat.B
=
cos AV1 = =
cosBV2 =
cosPV1 sinLat.V cosPV2 sinLat.V

sinLat.A sinLat.B
AV1 = cos 1 BV2 = cos 1
sinLat.V sinLat.V

Distance along V1 V2 = D.Long.V cosLat.V


1 V2
limiting latitude

(
Where D.Long.V1 V2 =D.Long.AB D.Long.AV1 + D.Long.BV2 )

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Example 12 Find the initial course, final course, meridians of the vertices and the
total distance of the following great circle positions if the limiting
latitude is 38 S:

From A: 3455S 05610 W


To B: 3355S 018 25 E

cosLat.V 1 cos38
Initial course = sin 1 = sin = 7356.8
cosLat.A cos3455
= S73.9=
Initial course E 106.1 T

Final course cosLat.V 1 cos38


= sin 1 = sin = 71 43.7
cosLat.B cos3355
Final course= N71.7= E 071.7 T

tanLat.A 1 tan3455
Meridians of the D.Long.AV= cos 1 =
cos = 26 41.4(E)
vertices
1
tanLat. V tan38
Long.V1 = 5610 W 26 41.4(E) = 29 28.6 W

tanLat.B 1 tan3355
D.Long.BV= cos 1 =
cos = 3036.8(W)
2
tanLat.V tan38
Long.V2 = 3036.8(W) 18 25 E = 1211.8 W

sinLat.A 1 sin3455
Distance AV1 and BV2 AV=
1 cos 1 =
cos = 2131.7
sinLat.V sin38
Distance AV1 = 1296.7miles

sinLat.B 1 sin3355
BV=
2 cos 1 =
cos = 2459.9
sinLat.V sin38
Distance BV2 = 1499.9miles

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Distance V1V2 (
D.Long.V1 V2 =D.Long.AB D.Long.AV1 + D.Long.BV2 )
= (5610 + 18 25 ) ( 26 41.4 + 3036.8 )
1716.8 =
= 1036.8

=
V1 V2 D.Long.V1 V2 cosLat.=
V 1036.8 cos38
= 817
Distance V1 V2 = 817miles

= 1296.7 + 1499.9 + 817


Total Distance = 3613.6 miles

Example 13 A composite great circle route from 3540 N 14000 E to 3730N


12000W. Limited latitude is 45. Find initial and final course,
longitudes of the vertices and total distance:

From A: 35 40 N 140 E
To B: 3730 N 120 W

cosLat.V 1 cos45
Initial course sin 1
= = sin = 60.5
cosLat. A cos3540
= N60.5=
Initial Course E 060.5 T

cosLat.V 1 cos45
Final course = sin 1 = sin = 63
cosLat.B cos3730
= S63=
Final Course E 180 63
= 117T

Meridians tanLat.A 1 tan35 40


(longitudes) of the D.Long.AV1 =cos 1 =cos =44 08.2(E)
vertices tanLat.V tan45
Long.V=
1
360 (140E + 44 08.2=
) 17551.8 W

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

tanLat.B 1 tan3730
D.Long.BV2 =cos 1 =cos =3953.1(W)
tanLat.V tan45
Long.V2 = 120W + 3953.1 = 15953.1 W

sinLat.A 1 sin35 40
Distance AV1 and BV2 AV1 =cos 1 =cos =34 27.2
sinLat.V sin45
Distance AV1 = 2067.2miles

sinLat.B 1 sin3730
BV2 =cos 1 =cos =3034.8
sinLat.V sin45
Distance BV2 = 1834.8miles

Distance V1V2 =
D. Long. V1 V2 Long.V1 Long.V2
= 17551.8 15953.1= 1558.7= 958.7

V=
1 V2 =
D.Long.V1 V2 cosLat. V 958.7 cos45
= 677.9
DistanceV1 V2 = 677.9miles
Total Distance = 2067.2 + 1834.8 + 677.9 = 4579.9 miles

Using ABC Tables The ABC tables can be used to find the initial and final courses
for Great Circle similarly to finding the azimuth. For finding the initial course, the
Sailing departure latitude is used as DR latitude; destination latitude is
used as declination, and D. Long. is used as hour angle with direction
east or west. Similarly for finding final course, destination latitude
becomes DR latitude, departure latitude becomes destination and
same hour angle except direction is opposite in initial course case.
Then the course is named according to the direction (East or West),
instead of the size of the hour angle.

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

Example 14 Using the ABC table, find the initial and final courses of great circle
sailing:

From A: 48 24 N 124 44 W
To B: 3450 N 13950 E

D.Long.AB= 360 (124 44 + 13950=


) 9526(W)

Initial course Lat.B 48 24 N A 0.11 N



Lat.A 3450 N B 0.70 N
D.Long.AB 95 26(W) C 0.81 N

= N61.7 W
Azimuth
= N61.7 W
Initial Course = 298.3 T

Final course Lat.B 3450 N A 0.07 N



Lat.A 4824 N B 1.13 N
D.Long.AB 9526(E) C 1.20 N

= N45.4 E
Azimuth
= S45.4 W
Final Course = 225.4 T

Example 15 Find initial course and final course of great circle sailing:

From A: 33 22S 113 08 E


To B: 1051S 04916 E

D.Long .AB = 113 08 4916 = 6352(W)

Initial course Lat.B 33 22S A 0.32 N



Lat.A 1051S B 0.21 S
D.Long.AB 6352(W) C 0.11 N

= N84.8 W
Azimuth
= N84.8 W
Initial Course = 275.2 T

Final course Lat.B 1051S A 0.09 N



Lat.A 33 22S B 0.73 S
D.Long.AB 6352(E) C 0.64 S

= S57.9 E
Azimuth
= N57.9 W= 302.1 T
Final Course

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

The values A, B, and azimuth can also be computed by formulas:

tanLat.A tanLat.B 1
A= B= Azimuth = tan 1
tanP sinP C cosLat.A

Where P is difference of longitude Between A and B positions, then


the above example can be solved as follows:

Initial course Lat.A : latitude of observer


Lat.B : declination of celestial body
D. Long.: hour angle (W)
Initial course: azimuth

Lat.A = 33 22S Lat.B = 1051S

D.Long.AB =P =LHA =6352(W)

tanLat.A 3322
=A = = 0.323093 N A 0.323093 N
tanP tan6352
B 0.213489 S
tanLat.B 1051
=B = = 0.213489 S C 0.109603 N
sinP sin6352

1 1 1 1
=
Azimuth ( ) tan= tan
C cosLat.A 0.109603 cos3322
=8446.2

Azimuth= N84 46.2 W= N84.8 W


= N84.8 W
Initial course = 275.2 T

Final course Lat.B : latitude of observer


Lat.A : declination of celestial body
D. Long.: hour angle (opposite direction of HA in initial course)
Final course: azimuth

At final position, direction of movement of the ship is away from


initial position, not toward, so the azimuth found must be added to or
subtracted from 180 to find correct heading of the ship.

Lat.B = 1051 N Lat.A = 33 22 N

D.Long.AB= P= LHA= 4858(E)

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NAVIGATION

tanLat.B 1051
=A = = 0.094034 N A 0.094034 N
tanP tan6352
B 0.733532 S
tanLat.A 3322
=B = = 0.733532 S C 0.639498 S
sinP sin6352

1 1 1 1
=
Azimuth () tan
= tan
C cosLat.B 0.639498 cos1051
=5752.1

Azimuth= S5752.1 E= S57.9 E


= N57.9 W= 302.1 T
Final course

Example 16 Find initial course and final course by using the ABC computation
formula:

From A: 56 20 N 00812 W
To B: 5212 N 05710 W

Initial course 56 20 N
Lat.A = 5212 N
Lat.B =
D.Long.AB= P= LHA= 4858(W)

tanLat. 5620
=A = = 1.306619 S A 1.306619 S
tanP tan4858
B 1.709061 N
tanLat. 5212
=B = = 1.709061 N C 0.402442 N
sinP sin4858

1 1 1 1
=
Azimuth ( ) tan= tan
C cosLat. A 0.402442 cos5620
=7725.4

Azimuth = N77 25.4 W =


N77.4 W
= N77.4 W
Initial course = 282.6 T

Final course 5212 N Lat.A =
Lat.B = 56 20 N
D.Long.AB= P= LHA= 4858(E)

tanLat.B 5212
=A = = 1.121995 S A 1.121995 S
tanP tan4858
B 1.990286 N
tanLat.A 5620
=B = = 1.990286 N C 0.868291 N
sinP sin4858

CAPT. KHAN THE SHIP OFFICERS HANDBOOK


NAVIGATION

1 1 1 1
=
Azimuth () tan
= tan
C cosLat.B 0.868291 cos5212
=6158.7

Azimuth= N6158.7 E= N62 E


Final course = S62 W = 242 T

Example 17 Find initial course and final course of great circle sailing from Suva
to Honolulu:
Suva (A): 18 08S 178 26 E
Honolulu (B): 2119 N 15752 W

Initial course Lat.A = 18 08S Lat.B = 2119 N



D.Long.AB= P= LHA= 23 42()

tanLat.A 1808
=A = = 0.746053 N A 0.746053 N
tanP tan2342
B 0.970820 N
tanLat.B 2119
=B = = 0.970820 N C 1.716873 N
sinP sin2342

1 1 1 1
=
Azimuth ( ) tan= tan
C cosLat.A 1.716873 cos1808
=3130.2

Azimuth= N3130.2 E= N31.5 E


= N31.5=
Initial course E 031.5 T

Final course Lat.B = 2119 N Lat.A = 18 08 S


D.Long.AB= P= LHA= 23 42( W )

tanLat. 2119
=A = = 0.888943 S A 0.888943 S
tanP tan2342
B 0.814769 S
tanLat. 1808
=B = = 0.814769 S C 1.703712 S
sinP sin2342

1 1 1 1
=
Azimuth () tan
= tan
C cosLat.B 1.703712 cos2119
=3212.8

Azimuth = S3212.8 W = S32.2 W


= N32.2=
Final course E 032.2 T

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