Today is the birthday of Nathaniel Bowditch, born this day in1773. Bowditch is considered the founder of modern maritime navigation. A mathematical prodigy, he began work correcting the calculation tables in other navigation books, finally deciding to write his own. What made his different was his determination to "put down nothing in the book that I cannot teach the crew." The resulting American Practical Navigator is still in common use today, and is carried aboard every U.S. Navy ship.
In honor of Mr. Bowditch and his gift to the seafaring world, here is a musical sketch of a ship sailing the ocean currents by Maurice Ravel.