This article on naval navigation provides insight into just how difficult it was for sailors — in a time long before GPS — to work out where they were and how to get from point A to B (and back again). Even today most people probably wouldn’t be able to do it without the use of a modern calculator — it’s kind of crazy to think this was all done using brainpower and calculation tables.

How European sailors learned celestial navigation – Margaret Schotte | Aeon Essays
How did the sailors of early modern Europe learn to traverse the world’s seas? By going to school and doing maths problems