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Lecture: How to Cheat on Your Navigation Exam in the Age of Sail

April 4 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

$15 – $20

Thursday April 4, 2024 at 6:30pm; doors open at 5:30pm for a cocktail reception
Newport Historical Society Resource Center
82 Touro Street, Newport, RI
Tickets: $15-$20 per person

Could you pass an 18th century sailing test, or would you be lost at sea? The introduction of navigational tools in the age of sail made finding your way at sea more precise, however using these instruments was not “smooth sailing.” Some of these techniques required years of experience to master, not to mention the equivalent of a modern-day doctorate in spherical trigonometry and access to precision engineered tools. So how did sailors manage to find their way on a featureless ocean without advanced techniques or access to sophisticated tools? The Newport Historical Society’s current exhibit Waves of Discovery: 18th Century Seafaring Science features 18th century navigational instruments and, on Thursday April 4, 2024 at 6:30pm, Dr. Evan Wilson will present the talk How to Cheat on Your Navigation Exam in the Age of Sail to explore this question. Dr. Wilson will show how sailors used shortcuts to navigate, as well as the ways that weather and geography shaped the movement of goods and people around the Atlantic world.

Evan Wilson is an associate professor in the Hattendorf Historical Center at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI. A recipient of the Sir Julian Corbett Prize in Modern Naval History, he researches the naval history of Britain and other countries from the 18th to the 20th centuries. He is the author or editor of six books, most recently The Horrible Peace: British Veterans and the End of the Napoleonic Wars (UMass, 2023). His next book, which he edited with Paul Kennedy, is Planning for War at Sea: 400 Years of Great Power Competition (Naval Institute, 2024). Before coming to Newport, he was the Caird Senior Research Fellow at the National Maritime Museum (UK) and the Associate Director of International Security Studies at Yale University. He holds degrees from Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford.

How to Cheat on Your Navigation Exam in the Age of Sail takes place at the NHS Resource Center, 82 Touro Street, Newport, RI. Admission costs $20 per person, $15 Newport Historical Society members along with active-duty military. Doors open at 5:30pm for a cocktail reception and the chance to view the exhibit Waves of Discover: 18th and 19th Century Seafaring Science. The talk starts promptly at 6:30pm. Book your tickets below:

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April 4
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
$15 – $20
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NHS Resource Center
82 Touro Street
Newport, RI 02840


Newport Historical Society