Tech Talk

Burch at the Helm

Starpath Navigation founder and BWS columnist David Burch has assemble his technical pieces on a diverse range of cruising and maritime topics into a new book, Burch at the Helm. The book covers the technical aspects of basic navigation theory, practical inland and coastal navigation, ocean and celestial navigation, marine weather, and ocean and tidal currents, to name a few.

The subjects covered in the book deal with special issues that are not often covered in detail in standard references. Some were motivated by issues of the day when published, but have been updated as needed with new resources on the topics.

David Burch is the author of 13 books on marine navigation and weather and the director of Starpath School of Navigation in Seattle, Wash., which had more than 30,000 classroom students, before the school switched to exclusively online training. He has more than 70,000 miles of ocean experience ranging from the Arctic ice edge to Tahiti and Australia in the Pacific and from New York to Panama in the Atlantic. He has sailed across the Pacific to Hawaii ten times, three times winning the Victoria to Maui yacht race, and in 1984 setting the elapsed time record for that passage for vessels under 38 feet long (the record lasted 16 years).

He delivered a 65-foot fishing vessel from New York to Seattle, via Panama and has made numerous coastal deliveries between WA and CA, AK, and Mexico. He navigated the only American entry (72-foot Cassiopeia) in the storm-ridden ’93 Sydney to Hobart yacht race and later navigated that vessel on the ’96 Vic Maui and Swiftsure Lightship Classic when she won first overall in the latter.

Purchasing information can be found at

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