Sailing Navigation Tips: Use This Magic "Rule of 60"!

Captain John with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website at https:--www.skippertips.com and sign up for his highly popular Sailing Tip of the Week. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, FREE e-Books and much more!

Sailing Navigation Tips: Use This Magic "Rule of 60"! sentiment_very_dissatisfied 1

Sailing 11 years ago 22,855 views

Captain John with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website at https:--www.skippertips.com and sign up for his highly popular Sailing Tip of the Week. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, FREE e-Books and much more!

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Most popular comments
for Sailing Navigation Tips: Use This Magic "Rule of 60"!

Michael W. Perry
Michael W. Perry - 7 years ago
Neat trick. I assume this would also work with land navigation, say to avoid a mountain or lake, and with aviation, perhaps to avoid a storm cloud ahead.

I do wonder why this works. Why is 60 the magic number? Is this just a rough approximation of a number in trig?
Captain John's Skipper Tips
Captain John's Skipper Tips - 7 years ago
No idea how the formula was derived, but it's been around for a long time. It should work on land as well.
Michael Samuel
Michael Samuel - 7 years ago
Captain John, I'm a complete beginner and really appreciate your channel. Thanks so much.
Captain John's Skipper Tips
Captain John's Skipper Tips - 7 years ago
Michael, thanks for your comment.
J Roger
J Roger - 8 years ago
Great stuff. I once had a Navy Captain comment on a Nav Briefing where the presenter kept referring to "Nautical" miles as he described all of the various transits
and passages.  The Captain was a bit perturbed with the use of "Nautical". He said to the young Navigator, "Son, are we driving a car?"  " No Sir"  was the reply. Well then just say "miles" if you please. We already know we are in a vessel and we work in the ocean and that we are not using "Statue Miles"!
J Roger
J Roger - 8 years ago
Thank you very much Skipper John..Your Vids are a treasure.  Fair winds
Captain John's Skipper Tips
Captain John's Skipper Tips - 8 years ago
+J Roger Nice one, J Roger!
Fstarocka Burns
Fstarocka Burns - 9 years ago
couldnt one just use a (even basic) map, use the scale on the map to gap 5 miles, draw an arc off obstacle and measure bearing change with protractor?
Captain John's Skipper Tips
Captain John's Skipper Tips - 9 years ago
There are other ways to do this. This technique requires a single calculation that can be done ahead of time. It is based on distance from the hazard and desired clearing distance. 
joao luiz rudge encarnacao
joao luiz rudge encarnacao - 9 years ago
great...simple.
Captain John's Skipper Tips
Captain John's Skipper Tips - 9 years ago
Thanks for your comment!
spelunkerd
spelunkerd - 10 years ago
I was walking on the beach and realized you are doing the calculation in radians. 2R*pi=360 deg, so a radian (R) is 180/pi, or 57.3 deg, roughly 60 deg. You make the first length, 6 mi in this case, the radius of a huge circle. The second length is a curved line along the circumference of that same circle (the numbers are so big that the second curve is almost straight). If both are the same length, it's 60 deg, if not you adjust in the same ratio, (5/6)*60. Nifty, ha ha.
spelunkerd
spelunkerd - 10 years ago
I would do this a different way. asin(5/6) = 56 deg. What surprises me is how close you are, and it's cool to see it done without a calculator or sin tables. I tried it with other numbers, it's within 10% most of the time... Nice idea!
Nigel Doyle
Nigel Doyle - 11 years ago
Now that is pretty cool and so simple. Nice!

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