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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 01-11-2012, 11:55   #91
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Yeah...YEAH! that's what I meant.....
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:22   #92
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
Why, can't you just turn it all off if being disconnected from the world is your goal?
AIS is just too useful a gadget to turn off .....

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Old 01-11-2012, 15:31   #93
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Can't believe what I hear here: folks really having Ais 'ON' (gps/radar/anything) on a passage?

I switch everything 'OFF' once in open water. Then it is just us and the ocean till we reach the opposite side.

Many sailors, many sailing styles!

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Old 01-11-2012, 16:08   #94
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

I marked desirable but not essential. I would venture to say that at least 50% of the boats crossing oceans don't have one or if they have one the skipper would not know how to use it. Might even be a higher percentage now.

Before satnav and GPS I knew a few folks who made the crossing to and from Hawaii without one. One guy did it using a transistor radio and following jet contrails. Very gutsy! Paper charts were necessary.

kind regards,
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Old 01-11-2012, 16:22   #95
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

I had sat nav in the 80's. What that really means is I Dead Reckoned! A small transistor radio is a pretty good RDF. I imagine contrails are easier than what Slocomb had... :>)
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Old 01-11-2012, 16:36   #96
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

DumnMad posted this,

"The Polynesian navigators were the best, sailed all around the Pacific without mod-cons like sextants. Used their eyes. Sun & stars when skies were clear, wave patterns when it was not clear. Could sail to little Islands thousands of miles away. As they got close they read the reflected wave patterns to zero in on it.
Author David Lewis studied their methods and sailed with a traditional Polynesian navigator. "

I just have to disagree that they were "the best." I will agree that they were very very good. They relied on their memories of star patterns and they were not as nearly dead on accurate as those who created nautical charts in the 1800s.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:09   #97
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
DumnMad posted this,

"The Polynesian navigators were the best, sailed all around the Pacific without mod-cons like sextants. Used their eyes. Sun & stars when skies were clear, wave patterns when it was not clear. Could sail to little Islands thousands of miles away. As they got close they read the reflected wave patterns to zero in on it.
Author David Lewis studied their methods and sailed with a traditional Polynesian navigator. "

I just have to disagree that they were "the best." I will agree that they were very very good. They relied on their memories of star patterns and they were not as nearly dead on accurate as those who created nautical charts in the 1800s.
We see that the Polynesians spread successfully across the Pacific over 1,500-2,000 years. What we can likely never know is how many didn't make it and drowned in the attempts.

And yes, I've read a few books on Polynesian navigation. It does not diminish their accomplishment to acknowledge that it may have been deadly any more than it does to list how many astronauts have died on the job since 1960. The frontier is a risky place.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:33   #98
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Well, at this stage of the discussion, it's time to bring on Marvin Creamer.
Marvin Creamer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marvin Creamer

http://www.globestar.org/feat.htm
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:45   #99
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Exactly! I suggest everyone get a grounding to navigate using EMERGENCY navigation techniques first. No sextant or GPS necessary.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:31   #100
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

The new-fangled sextants are just making it easier for a bunch of greenhorns to get themselves in trouble. They provide a false sense of security, when they should have taken the time to learn the traditional and reliable methods of navigation: wind and wave direction, rising and setting star locations, and the flight of seabirds. What's going to happen to these sailors when they drop their brand-new sextant and break the index mirror?

Quote:
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Can't believe what I hear here: folks really having Ais 'ON' (gps/radar/anything) on a passage?

I switch everything 'OFF' once in open water. Then it is just us and the ocean till we reach the opposite side.
Well, there's the problem. Sometimes it's just not you out there. Sometimes the visibility isn't great. Sometimes the watchstander isn't as alert as they should be.
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:10   #101
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The likely "failure" mode of the gps is to re-enable position error. The idea being to deny an enemy weapon guidance.

The result for cruisers is position accuracy to 300 meters instead of five. I can see the sextant guys being lost 300 meters from the harboar entrance...
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:14   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif

The result for cruisers is position accuracy to 300 meters instead of five. I can see the sextant guys being lost 300 meters from the harboar entrance...
If I'm within 1000' of my destination I'm onto eyeballs anyway. I have yet to plot my position with the sextant any more accurately than say 2000M yet!!! But with practice I still have a little hope
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:22   #103
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
The likely "failure" mode of the gps is to re-enable position error. The idea being to deny an enemy weapon guidance.

The result for cruisers is position accuracy to 300 meters instead of five. I can see the sextant guys being lost 300 meters from the harboar entrance...

Sights are not as accurate as we would like to believe. Often you'd get a "cocked hat" and we would put the ship's position in the middle of the cocked hat. Of course this is due to the navigator and not the stars or other heavenly bodies. Also, a minor point, we assumed the same time when plotting the position whereas it could be ten minutes difference between shooting the first star and the fourth or fifth. It was usually within a mile or so. It always used to amaze me that we could find San Francisco on a voyage from Kobe but, after over three weeks at sea, we always found our destination.
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Old 02-11-2012, 14:00   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey

If I'm within 1000' of my destination I'm onto eyeballs anyway. I have yet to plot my position with the sextant any more accurately than say 2000M yet!!! But with practice I still have a little hope
That's the point of my tongue in cheek observaton...

Shut off the gos system - no. Reduce its accuracy yes. Still better than sextant.

Now you are left with multiple gps/power failures and the lightning strike scenario...

The sextant in the lifeboat scenario is a red herring because no experienced skipper has ever said getting a shot from a pitcjing dinghy is a likely event, plus the books you need plus you aren't navigating (i.e. able to affect your course) you are drifting so knowing where you are is only important if you are in touch with sar and if you are in touch with sar you can get by without a sextant.
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Old 02-11-2012, 14:10   #105
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Re: Poll-Blue water. Is a Sextant Necessary?

but then you could use the sextant for the dinghy anchor when you finally wash up on shore

knew that choice had a reason
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