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View Poll Results: Blue Water- is a Sextant Necessary?
Absolutely essential 24 18.90%
Desirable, but not essential 52 40.94%
Good fun, but little practical use these days 39 30.71%
Don't waste your money and time on this 11 8.66%
Sextants make excellent dingy anchors. 3 2.36%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 127. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-11-2012, 13:44   #181
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Having a sextant and the skill to use it is not unhealthy for a sailor. Do a search for a bot called The Aegre, and read about how they found their way back to safety after a dismasting and swamping where they lost even their sextant....they had the skills to save their behinds because they were used to doing more than just pushing buttons. Relying on someone else to come pull your chestnuts out of the fire is not wise, considering the times we live in. Even if your radio still works, it's no good when there isn't anyone on the other end to answer. Same with GPS...use it, enjoy it, but don't make that your only way of knowing where you are, if you go places where not knowing could be serious trouble for you.
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Old 08-11-2012, 13:52   #182
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Amazing, truly amazing.

b.
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Old 08-11-2012, 14:38   #183
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Stars sometimes explode.

Of course when ours goes bang - likely other things to worry about.......

Like no GPS...., and the sextant is going to be pretty redundant as well.
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Old 08-11-2012, 19:41   #184
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

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Like no GPS...., and the sextant is going to be pretty redundant as well.
That would sure make the obligatory noon sight more difficult!

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Old 08-11-2012, 20:47   #185
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

I carry fire extinguishers, but I've never had a fire. I carry boxes of nuts and bolts that I rarely use as well as lengths of different size hoses to fit everything on the boat, a spare water pump">raw water pump, a spare frig compressor, 2 spare alternators....

And yes I have 3 GPS recceivers and a chart plotter and a PC nav program with electronuc charts...

AND a sextant, sight reduction tables, paper charts....but I don't have a taffrail log...juts a raytheon paddle wheel...but then its not hard to tell the difference between 5 knots and 6 knots etc....

I like to have backups and backups for my backups...spares for my spares....I want to survive no matter what....so this debate about what is necessary is entirely how you view it..
You don't think a sextant is necessary?...good for you....go and enjoy life...don't worry about what may fail when you least expect it...it will add to your level of excitement !!
Me, I like to be prepared....
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:49   #186
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Some one once said....

Satellite navigation really is amazing...but those darn satellites move so fast, its' difficult to get an accurate fix on them with your sextant !!
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Old 09-11-2012, 00:21   #187
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Micah, thanks for the mention of the Aegre, really good read.
Cheers
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Old 19-11-2012, 22:04   #188
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Let's see now that we are entering a new solar cycle it reminds me that large solar flares can knock out GPS.

We don't need the Government to shut GPS off, The sun can do it to us. OF course the last huge storm was in the 1800's. But part of the power grid eas knocked down during the last cycle max.

REgards
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Old 20-11-2012, 07:20   #189
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

I cannot understand the "hangup" folks in this thread are having about "government shutting off GPS." Duh - The USA's GPS system is NOT the ONLY GPS system in the world. Even the Chinese are putting up a GPS system.

The Russian system has been up and operational for years and the European Galileo system is now fully operational. The USA makers of GPS systems are rapidly making their products so they can use any of the systems. So if for some totally unrealistic and politically impossible reason the USA government turned off the USA GPS system you have the other two systems instantly available (providing your gps receiver is configured to utilize them).

So I would strongly suggest anybody contemplating buying a new GPS system make sure that the unit can utilize the other world-wide system in addition to the USA GPS.
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Old 20-11-2012, 07:52   #190
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

That's good advice, but I have yet to see multi-system receivers at the consumer level.

It is one of the reasons I'm holding off. I would love to receive the signals from other systems because comparing the results (if they differed for a stationary or slowly moving boat) would give you results similar to the "cocked hat" of CN sight reductions.

Ideally, of course, they would not diverge, but life is rarely ideal.
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Old 20-11-2012, 08:34   #191
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Nothings really 'necessary' IF you have the right skills. Look at the ancient sailors who sailed to and populated Hawaii...They simply looked up at the sky and felt the swells...

As a modern backup to gps? Maybe after two handheld backup gps run out of batteries...

I carry one, mostly for taking bearing angles on fixed objects and an occasional noon sight for practice and keeping the gray cells working..
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Old 20-11-2012, 17:58   #192
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

I live on the Outer Banks and just yesterday had a 32 foot sailboat beach in Southern Shores from a failed attempt to Bermuda. reason, GPS failure and no backup plan. Was 200 miles offshore lost GPS and turned west to hit something. The boat was destroyted in about 18 hrs. Skipper fine and on a train back to Boston.
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Old 20-11-2012, 23:03   #193
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

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I live on the Outer Banks and just yesterday had a 32 foot sailboat beach in Southern Shores from a failed attempt to Bermuda. reason, GPS failure and no backup plan. Was 200 miles offshore lost GPS and turned west to hit something. The boat was destroyted in about 18 hrs. Skipper fine and on a train back to Boston.
Interesting and a good example of some of the folks who are out there in boats that should have never left sight of their home harbor. From the details provided - left Boston for Bermuda ended up sailing west and then put it on the beach . . . Total lack of any foresight or planning or the ability to do basic navigation or probably to have any access to actual charts would not have been solved by having a Sextant onboard.

If you are competent - which is no easy task - with a sextant it will get you within sight of land but you still need basic navigation skills to get to and into a safe harbor. Seems this person had none of the above.

Which is not unusual these days - witness all the stories of clueless people declaring emergencies when their autopilots fail or their "integrated automatic navigation suite" burps or fails. Being very old I remember having to have passed high school "auto shop" before getting into "driver's ed" and now-a-days it seems anybody can get their driver's license at "K-marts" kind of thing.

On the bright side, these episodes do provide a chuckle at the "state of the society" and give assurance that there are folks a lot stupider than we are after we do a "boo-boo." And the guy will probably just buy another boat which will help the economy recover.
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Old 20-11-2012, 23:53   #194
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

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I
And the guy will probably just buy another boat which will help the economy recover.
Unfortunately, there is a very good chance that he will do that with insurance money. This sort of ill found voyaging is one reason why insurance is so costly for everyone, including those who are properly prepared.

Not an amusing idea to me!

Cheers,

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Old 21-11-2012, 02:22   #195
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

I didn't read this thread and I don't have a sextant or almanac. But i would like to get one and learn to use it. With the gps we can actually test it's accuracy and find mistakes in our corrections. Then if gps goes down, we know where we stand.
I did know a guy who sailed from San Diego to Hawaii by himself with no gps, no sextant and no autopilot. But he had a protractor with a string and a fishing line weight tied to it. His only chart was a map of the Pacific from a National Geographic magazine. He found Hawaii with a transistor radio!
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