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Old 13-07-2011, 07:34   #31
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Re: Tecnology versus sextant

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I think it would be wise for someone just learning to avoid spending that kind of money. That was my philosophy anyway. So far been sticking with it and when I "graduate" ; seeing that I will use it well and regularly, as I hope to on this upcomming trip, I will treat myself to a "good" one. The new plastic ones aren't that bad actually. I just imagine that the metal ones will hold up longer. They all still have to be treated right.
Agreed. The "lifeboat" Davis is a little rough, but the Mark 25 is a perfectly serviceable instrument. If I hadn't been given a higher-quality instrument, I would have opted to learn on a plastic one.
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Old 13-07-2011, 07:36   #32
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

I suppose so.

BUT, I wouldn't be reaching for it until BOTH my backup handheld GPS crapped out..

I remember taking sights from the pitching deck of a small sailboat and it's not all that it's cracked up to be!
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Old 13-07-2011, 07:37   #33
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Re: Tecnology versus sextant

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So why does Celestaire continue to sell lots of sextants and why does my class fill up? I think its because when you sail you make yourself part of an ancient human story in a time when such continuity is now the rarest of experiences. Celestial navigation is simply one of the many skills that make such continuity real. The upside is that if you never learn how, you'll never feel the loss but if you do learn how, you'll never need to justify it to someone who hasn't. You'll simply know who you are and where the difference lies.
Nicely put!
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Old 13-07-2011, 07:58   #34
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

Pillum touched on the point that gives me pause, a solar flare or series of flares could take out the entire system. This technology is less than 20 years old so still new. We are just coming out of a time of reduced solar activity so who knows? My thoughts lie in the piloting skills camp. Might miss an island in the middle of no where but continents are pretty tough to miss. How many of you were sailing before Loran? Ever use a RDF? I'm shocked at how many have no paper charts. The fact is I still have trouble with attachments to e-mails so I stay within my comfort zone. Take away technology, I'm still going sailing. Dave
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Old 13-07-2011, 08:09   #35
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

... and therein lies the problem. Continents are pretty difficult to miss, as are the rocks and shoals around them.

Throughout history, FAR more sailors were killed by unexpected encounters with land than were drowned in the open ocean.
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Old 13-07-2011, 08:13   #36
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

Talking of anchient tecnology, celestial navigation, but if your stuck in the wide open for whatever reason i would have thought that was basic and not worthwhile mentioning for a salty sailor!

Thanks to all the posisitive contributions as there is interestering points of view.
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Old 13-07-2011, 08:23   #37
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

All it takes is a solar flare headed this way and GPS is gone. As long as stars are in the sky and you can see them, you can find your way. Clear horizon not necessary with a good sextant, built in horuzon, and you know the time. My old mechanical chrono is still accurate to 4 seconds per month, no batteries to worry about like electric chronographs.
IMO there will always be a use, even just as a backup. The only thing is if you forget simple mathematics, then you might have a problem....
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Old 13-07-2011, 08:27   #38
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

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Don't get me wrong, I use a gps too but one problem I thought about was you are relying on someone else to keep those satellites up there. If big brother decides he doesn't like the way things are going all he has to do is pull the plug. . . . .
This is the common "tunnel-vision" view of GPS by sailors/cruisers. You need to realize that there is more to the world than our little patch.
- - GPS is used by the military, all commercial and worldwide airlines, oil tankers/freighter, your cell phones, land trucking, surveyors, and hundreds of not thousands of other users worldwide. Nobody is going to turn it off without starting either a war or world economic collapse.
- - And GPS is not just USA, Europe and Russia have their satellite GPS systems along with the USA system.
- - Barring a "Dr Strangelove" situation or Mother Nature causing an astronomical event that would wipe out most if not all electronics besides GPS, the system is here to stay until they think up something better.
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Old 13-07-2011, 09:17   #39
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

I more or less learned to stop worrying and love GPS.

But you don't need a Dr. Strangelove to get hit by a solar flare.
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Old 13-07-2011, 09:34   #40
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Re: Tecnology versus sextant

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Most of them can get fixes within a quarter of a mile by the end of the course and I myself am usually able to get within a couple of hundred yards in good conditions, sometimes a bit better, so not so accurate as a GPS obviously.

If you can do this on a small boat bobbing in the ocean you're a better man than most navigators I've met.
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Old 13-07-2011, 09:36   #41
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

...and thats moving on a running fix. I smell a fish
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Old 13-07-2011, 09:40   #42
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

A sextant is used to navigate across Oceans & seas. Once you are in sight of land you shift to coast piloting. Am not worried about how acturate the celestial navigation is... Used to find land, then coastal piloting along the coast line. Here the sextant is used for finding distance off some object, such as a lighthouse or a mountain.
GPS is an excellent tool for navigation also. And if you combine the both of them you will have the self satisfaction of knowing that you ARE A NAVIGATOR. And not a dweeb that needs GPS to find his a$$ in order to wipe it.
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Old 13-07-2011, 09:53   #43
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

You don't need to use a sextant to cross Oceans and Seas. Just use SaltyMonkeys patented emergency navigation trick:

From Portsmouth, UK head southwest until you see trash and plastic bottles in the water, then turn west along current. Follow trash to the LEFT of any icebergs you meet until you arrive in Boston Harbour.
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Old 13-07-2011, 10:02   #44
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

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You don't need to use a sextant to cross Oceans and Seas. Just use SaltyMonkeys patented emergency navigation trick:

From Portsmouth, UK head southwest until you see trash and plastic bottles in the water, then turn west along current. Follow trash to the LEFT of any icebergs you meet until you arrive in Boston Harbour.
Not funny. True. And sad. Sailing from Malaysia, past Indonesia, past Philippines last year I was able to confirm my general position from the labels of the trash floating in the water.
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Old 13-07-2011, 10:19   #45
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Re: Tecnology vs Sextant

I think this sextant thing is much too hard. Why do I want to do math in the middle of the pacific? identifying trash in knowing the current seem a lot easier. I just need to learn how to identify chinese trashed as opposed to japanese trash. yeah I think trash navigation has great promise!
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