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Old 11-05-2018, 02:15 PM   #21
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I have a Leupold sextant that was used by the U.S. Marines in the Pacific in 1945. It was a gift from my father-in-law and I am slowly learning to use it. As a result of his fine gift I have two Davis plastic sextants, a Mark 15 and a Mark 25, both in original cases with literature, that I don't need anymore. The foam inserts in their cases are decayed and brittle but the sextants themselves are good. If someone wants them I'll sell them very cheap. Contact me offline if interested.


As to whether we need sextants, or paper charts for that matter. It's about the joy of doing and learning, isn't it? Otherwise sell your boats and just take a jetliner and stay in hotel.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:15 PM   #22
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I taught myself how to do a celestial fix in the early 1980s. Why? Offshore racing skippers often needed navigators and I wanted a ride. I now have 4 sextants. One came from my wife's grandfather, a Weems & Plath. One came from her father, a Navy pilot, so it is a bubble sextant. The other 2 I acquired, a Tamaya Jupiter and an Astra 3B. The Astra is the most useful since it is a full field, rather than a split view sextant. Just remember, the sextant is only a rather small part of celestial navigation. You need a nautical almanac, sight reduction tables, and plotting sheets. Knowing how to "do the math" is the biggest challenge. Yes, there are "apps" for that, but you need something to reduce your sights to a fix. I have the chip that will allow an HP-41 programmable calculator to do that. Who remembers the HP-41? I also have the original publication HO-209, Ageton's Tables, which is an elegant if time consuming way to reduce sights. I also have HO-229 and HO-249 (for air navigation). The point is, this is all an exercise in nostalgia. When I last ran the "ditch" we had 9 separate electronic devices aboard to tell us where we were. My laptop computer, my wife's laptop, my I-pad, my wife's I-pad, my I-phone, my wife's I-phone, the pilot house chart plotter, the flybridge chart plotter, and an old Garmin GPS-76. The sextant was only for fun. Make no mistake, I think it is great fun, but when time is of the essence and you really need to know where you are, there are better ways.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:42 PM   #23
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So, buy a sextant to play with and enjoy the idea of doing something that only ship's captains of yore could do. But forget about real world navigation with a sextant.

David

When I was a sailor and planning a circumnavigation, in the OLD days before GPS, It was necessary. I bought a Russian military surplus sextant. A really quality instrument. I learned to use it and got pretty good at it, but it was never as close as the current GPS systems that we have now. As to the "what if" of loosing the GPS, not to worry. If you are close enough to land to be concerned about your position, your Cell phone will substitute for your GPS and it will be close enough to get a signal....in most cases.....


You can buy a couple of spare GPS units for what a quality sextant would cost you
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:02 PM   #24
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Check out "Basic and Intermediate Celestial Navigation" by Wm. Bruce Paulk. One of my students in celestial navigation purchased it prior to taking my class. Very impressive. As to sextants, nothing at all wrong with the plastic Davis models available at a modest price. Suggest you use Pub No. 249, Sight reduction tables for Air Navigation. Very simple to use by comparison. My personal sextant is an old Navy surplus Mark VI, which features bubble as well as horizon views, $45 in 1975. No question GPS is easier, simpler and cheaper; however, there's no match for the personal satisfaction found in celestial navigation. Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:28 PM   #25
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No match for personal satisfaction?

Sure it feels good to be part of that club...but personally, that's not where I set my bar....
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:07 PM   #26
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No match for personal satisfaction?

Sure it feels good to be part of that club...but personally, that's not where I set my bar....
Now now, let`s not forget the "tant" bit when discussing personal satisfaction and setting the bar.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:12 PM   #27
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No match for personal satisfaction?

Sure it feels good to be part of that club...but personally, that's not where I set my bar....

I found on a 48 hour trip across the Florida Big Bend that finding a buoy directly ahead in the fog after three miles, using only a compass, a stop watch and a knotmeter to be very satisfying....if not amazing.... But the work to learn and relearn and work out the tables of sextant navigation to being more akin to the "satisfaction" that some radio operators get from using Morse code when a perfectly good sideband radio is available.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:27 PM   #28
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I have taken the US Power Squadron navigation courses, JN (Junior Navigation using sun and moon) and N(avigation) using stars and planets. I could not have learned from a book (at least not easily). The instructors went with us when we shot our sights which helped immensely. The courses are not easy...my Navigation take-home exam took me 40 hours to complete!

I would check with your local Squadron to see if they offer either JN or N in your area.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:30 PM   #29
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Consider, if you will, the issue of navigation to mars. GPS, of course, is not in the cards. BUT, they (JPL) are talking about 1km accuracy in "radio/celestial" nav. Impressive, indeed.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:47 PM   #30
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Things like raising a child, saving a life, etc must be pretty mundane for most I guess....
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:50 PM   #31
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Consider, if you will, the issue of navigation to mars. GPS, of course, is not in the cards. BUT, they (JPL) are talking about 1km accuracy in "radio/celestial" nav. Impressive, indeed.

It is my plan to immigrate to Mars in 2097. But I dont think I will need my Sex Tent (portable house of ill repute).
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:49 AM   #32
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It is my plan to immigrate to Mars in 2097. But I dont think I will need my Sex Tent (portable house of ill repute).
great news; there is a signup sheet for the trip(s)!

https://www.mars-one.com/
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:15 AM   #33
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great news; there is a signup sheet for the trip(s)!

https://www.mars-one.com/

No thats an earlier trip. Its been full for years. I dont want to be a pioneer and endure the hardships. I want to go in 2097 after everything is running smoothly.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:13 AM   #34
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There is little need for a sextant. If you were crossing an ocean and lost all electronics, then a sextant would be handy. Realistically, for coastal cruising this is unnecessary.

On the east coast, you simply point the compass West and go until the land is in sight. If you're on the west coast, head east.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:19 AM   #35
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There is little need for a sextant. If you were crossing an ocean and lost all electronics, then a sextant would be handy. Realistically, for coastal cruising this is unnecessary.

On the east coast, you simply point the compass West and go until the land is in sight. If you're on the west coast, head east.



We are still here...LOL On the south coast you head north
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:11 PM   #36
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A sextant wont keep you from hitting a rock, just an island.
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:10 PM   #37
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power squadron

Celestial Nav is worth doing just for the experience and insight on how it was done in the old days. The Astra is an excellent instrument and by far the best quality for the money if you are buying new. The Davis plastic sextants are perfectly satisfactory for learning and have a nice bright viewfinder. To learn, I recommend the US Power Squadron JN class.

Dan
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:11 PM   #38
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So is making soap....

And when you are done, you have something more and it will last longer than a fix....
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:30 PM   #39
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Based on these comments on the value of experiencing it for old times sake, I would rather learn to navigate the old Tahitian way where the navigator stood spread legged in the bow and mapped the wave patterns by the swing of his balls. Much cheaper to pursue, easier to do and much more fun. I have done the sextant thing and it is none of these.
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Old 11-08-2018, 05:44 PM   #40
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Based on these comments on the value of experiencing it for old times sake, I would rather learn to navigate the old Tahitian way where the navigator stood spread legged in the bow and mapped the wave patterns by the swing of his balls. Much cheaper to pursue, easier to do and much more fun. I have done the sextant thing and it is none of these.
and the lady navigators, they had to bring a friend?

Sorry, that was too obvious and I couldn't pass it up.
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