SS Southern Cross (1955) – Maiden Voyage Logs

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    I am keen to locate any extant logs and other documents from the SS Southern Cross (1955). I am particularly interested in the maiden voyage but later voyages would also be of interest. Here is some background to my request:

    As a youngster in 1955 I travelled on the maiden voyage of the Southern Cross from Southampton to Wellington. I remember that when we arrived in NZ we travelled down the east coast to Wellington. The land appeared to be deserted. I suspect that we had made landfall at Castlepoint light which was classed as a landfall light. I would like to see a log to confirm this.

    I have an interest in celestial navigation and would like to discover what methods were used on the Southern Cross. For example long by chron and noon sights or intercepts? How were the sights worked – e.g. using one of the many tables/short methods available or maybe the hard way with Norie/Burton and haversines?


    Frank Scott

    For celestial navigation the classic ocean passage routine until the advent of GPS was morning stars (fix); forenoon sun-sight, intercept run to Meridian Passage (running fix); run to afternoon sun-sight (running fix), evening stars (fix). SS Southern Cross would almost certainly also have done long-by-chron as well. Obviously that was in perfect conditions, and in reality poor weather could prevent some or all of the sights in a ‘day’s work’.

    The UK Merchant Navy of that era did not trust rapid sight reduction tables, indeed deck officer examinations all required the use of Burton’s / Norie’s Tables.

    The Royal Navy by contrast shifted to rapid sight reduction tables (HD 486), and was not keen on Long-by-Chron. Some RN navigators used the RAF rapid sight reduction tables (AP 3270), which were even quicker, particularly for star-sights.

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