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Old 29-10-2012, 05:54   #871
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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I don't think it's a reasonable expectation to think that people who have taken up sailing on their own later in life will have this knowledge. All of the people I know who know these things are from families who like yours were boaters all their lives. All of the people I know who, like me, took it up on their own, later in life, don't have knowledge of celestial navigation.
There is a tremendous sense of satisfaction in being able to fix your position with a sextant.
Lots of online help is out there, and if you can get hold of second hand sextant, you can practice at the dock, tables, sextant, and a bucket of water should be enough. The nautical tables are freely available online, a bucket of water is dead cheap, so that just leaves the sextant to worry about.
Good luck
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Old 29-10-2012, 09:43   #872
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

it's not ego, (ego would be "I can do something you can't do"), but rather the smugness you feel when you think "I can do something any seasoned sailor should know how to do, that you have just chosen not to learn"). I have allways enjoyed doing things myself that it would otherwise take a very complicated machine to accomplish as well as sharing in an age old skill which in addition to telling you your location give you an understanding of time and space. I remember the thrill I got as a kid when I found out that a nautical mile was equal to 1 minute of longitude at the equator (thus 60nm to a degree * 360 =21600nm.....the circumfrance of the earth at the equator). Or when the basics of celestial navigation were explained to me in a book "How to navigate today" (first published in 1943)....everything clicked.
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Old 29-10-2012, 09:58   #873
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Less confusing and being a sphere the nautical mile is a unit of length that is about one minute of arc of latitude measured along any meridian, or about one minute of arc of longitude at the equator.
Wish schools inspired by teaching basics like this but i guess now I-phones will negate the desire to learn, just get an app teacher!!!!
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Old 29-10-2012, 10:19   #874
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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Less confusing and being a sphere the nautical mile is a unit of length that is about one minute of arc of latitude measured along any meridian, or about one minute of arc of longitude at the equator.
Wish schools inspired by teaching basics like this but i guess now I-phones will negate the desire to learn, just get an app teacher!!!!
How many times do you ask someone a question and instead of thinking of an answer they check thier smart phone....or worse yet you say something and they question the authenticity of what you say by checking the internet....if the internet says something different then you are automatically wrong.
Since the beginning of this thread I have sent my, dysfunctional sextant in to have the mirrors re-silvered, get a new scope and get cleaned and aligned my $40 sextant from e=bay + $350 repair bill = $1200 No2 (aluminum frame/brass arc) TAMAYA sextant (worth $700 used). I have built a full sized chart table, installed a bigger compass (5" card flat compass in an antique bronze binnacle) closer to the helm, tracked down sources of in expensive paper charts, bought a new laptop, up-graded my Nobeltec (still an older version that didn't require you to buy charts from Nobeltec) and downloaded electronic charts of several different formats from all over the world, bought a back up handheld GPS and ran wires for antenna of my fixed GPS, that and expandind my library of book on the subject of celestial navigation.....pretty much covers all the bases
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Old 29-10-2012, 10:34   #875
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Need rubber eyepiece for my Zeiss Freiberger :-(
Frank
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Old 29-10-2012, 12:31   #876
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

I have a lanyard on my sextant to prevent dropping it on the deck or overboard, it is the same sextant that my family used in our ocean voyaging during the 70s, it was also used in several ocean crossings between HI, and AK during the 80s. I inherited it when the folks sold the boat in the 90s. I also keep a couple of the plastic sextants, for back up and guest sailors. There is a sense of satisfaction of making an ocean crossing, and making land fall exactly where you intended. Pride of accomplishment, not concerned about showing anyone else up, only my own self sufficiency. It never hurts just to look up at the stars to learn how small we really are.
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Old 29-10-2012, 12:59   #877
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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I have a lanyard on my sextant to prevent dropping it on the deck or overboard, it is the same sextant that my family used in our ocean voyaging during the 70s, it was also used in several ocean crossings between HI, and AK during the 80s. I inherited it when the folks sold the boat in the 90s. I also keep a couple of the plastic sextants, for back up and guest sailors. There is a sense of satisfaction of making an ocean crossing, and making land fall exactly where you intended. Pride of accomplishment, not concerned about showing anyone else up, only my own self sufficiency. It never hurts just to look up at the stars to learn how small we really are.
I would never want to show someone up, but would enjoy being able to teach someone, and enjoy in sharing their delight in learning something special. I have a Davis MkIII a plastic sextant that is better just as a learning aid but can be used in a pinch (purchased at a marine surplus store for $10). I will eventually by a "niceish" sextant for my crew.
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Old 29-10-2012, 18:55   #878
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

To true. Good idea. 1989, I once met an Englishman in HI, who had built a 32' sailboat from a bare hull up, and sailed from England to HI using only the plastic sextants, after meeting him, I went out and bought the Mark III, as a back up, I figured that if it was good enough to make 2 ocean crossings, it was good enough as a back up.
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Old 30-10-2012, 10:23   #879
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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To true. Good idea. 1989, I once met an Englishman in HI, who had built a 32' sailboat from a bare hull up, and sailed from England to HI using only the plastic sextants, after meeting him, I went out and bought the Mark III, as a back up, I figured that if it was good enough to make 2 ocean crossings, it was good enough as a back up.
I have a book somewhere about someone who had to abandon ship, he drew an arc on a piece of paper and using two pencils to make a frame with one suspended he was able to navigate with surprising accuracy. What he had constructed was a crude version of what used to be called a "quadrant", the precursor to the modern sextant.
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Old 30-10-2012, 11:09   #880
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Sextants are a beautiful example of fine machine work, sort of like an old pocket watch, not as accurate as a modern time piece, but a pleasure to behold (how many people in this world require the accuracy achieved by modern timepieces...any that do need to chill) Joshua Slocum sailed around the world with a wind up alarm clock. The mathematical calculations required for celestial navigation are basic trigonometry (something that scare people silly in this push button world)and are not necessary if you use the tables. In other words.....sextants are alot simpler than they might appear (precision does not necessarily mean complex) and the use of one is equally simple.....traveling at 6kts 100 miles from shore you don't have to be accurate to 5 meters.....you just have to get close enough to where you are going to be able to pick out points of land, nav markers, etc.
BTW my 50 year old 23 jewel mechanical pocket watch is accurate to better than 1 min/month, and my mechanical bulkhead clock is better yet.
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Old 30-10-2012, 11:14   #881
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Wolfensee

I can only agree with you. I have a sextant and practice enough to be able to use it. When i do my RTW, it will get a lotmore use
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Old 30-10-2012, 11:53   #882
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

I will (and have) spend $800 on an elegant mechanical watch before I spend $9.95 on an equally accurate quartz watch.
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Old 30-10-2012, 11:59   #883
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

I once googled Ancient Navigation Instruments, and the different tools that came up were both beautiful and useful, I also learned that the Celtic Cross was actually used by the priests for over land navigation. Once I get back to sea full time, on my own time, instead of for wages, the digital watch goes in the drawer and I get back in step with the seasons, tides, daytime versus nighttime. When I pull out the chronograph it will be for celestial navigation. I am still in awe of the polynesian navigators of old that were able to find their way, with out the benifit of any instruments other than their senses.
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Old 30-10-2012, 13:31   #884
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

One important feature of a chronograph/watch (aside from accuracy) is to have a stop watch that can be reached while holding a sextant....this allows you to subtract the elapsed time at your leisure once you get below out of the weather and in the light. I have also seen digital stopwatches taped to the sextant handle, good in function but makes the sextant harder to hold on to.
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Old 30-10-2012, 16:51   #885
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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I have a book somewhere about someone who had to abandon ship, he drew an arc on a piece of paper and using two pencils to make a frame with one suspended he was able to navigate with surprising accuracy. What he had constructed was a crude version of what used to be called a "quadrant", the precursor to the modern sextant.
There are those who will say "Yes, but look how much skill and knowledge that would take"

Which has me muttering, under my breath, "Not half as much skill and knowledge as it would take to repair a slighty damaged GPS, let alone improvise a crude substitute from scratch"

I prefer to delegate jobs which are menial or boring or inconsequential to technology. Jobs where I feel I have better things to do with my time.

Hence I don't like electric windows or auto transmissions.

Central locking I'm OK with as long as it lasts the life of the car, and as long as it doesn't fail to lock some doors without telling me. (Even then I'm relaxed: if someone steals my car, all the more reason to run away to sea)

I don't have better things to do with my time than navigate.
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