Sunday, June 8, 2008

Points of the Compass

A 32 point compass has as its points the directions:

North northeast
North east
East northeast

East southeast
South southeast

South southwest
South west
West southwest

West northwest
North west
North northwest

(then back to North)

Reciting this list is known as boxing the compass. It was considered to be one of the basic skills of an aprentice sailor to be able to recite these directions.

The smaller points such as that between North and NNE were known only in association with their larger neighboring point. For instance:

The point between North and NNE was N by E.

The point between NNE and Northeast was NE by N.

The point between Northeast and ENE was NE by E.

The point between ENE and E was E by N.

This followed in like fashion around the compass.

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