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Old 30-06-2010, 12:09   #166
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I don't see the problem using or not using a sextant. I am currently working towards a boat for a circumnavigation. I have started learning the sextant it's math and reading reduction tables and will take course readings three times a day and once at night when on my trip.
I will also try to learn to read wind speed by the waves, the waves themselves, watch for birds and where they are headed, as well as compass direction and GPS readings.
Not that the world is going to end tomorrow or that the whole GPS system is going to fall. But because I want to be the best sailor I can be.
And that means learning things GPS cannot tell you. Things the old timers had to learn that aren't in books or manuals for that matter. Captain Cook was a sailor and so was Bligh and Black Beard. And they new how to sail by the stars and sun and everything else mentioned and still managed to get their crews to where they were going safely.
I think learning the old ways of doing things is in line with using the most modern equipment around. And I bet when the sextant first made it aboard the royal navies ships there were those who didn't agree with using it too. We've come full circle is all.
IHMO I owe it to every sailor before me to learn the old ways and use the new to make my vessel as safe and ship shape as possible. And if I have fun doing it all the better.
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Old 02-09-2010, 17:29   #167
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Reasons not to have a sextant:

1-If you drop it, it is toast.
2-Will tie up $400-800 or more, depending on your choices.
3-Requires some skills and either a sight reduction program/calculator, or tables

If you get a sextant, it is for intellectual exercise, like playing chess. Sure, the government could turn off GPS, the Chinese could shoot 'em all down, or the kids next door could jam it but let's come back to "If you drop the sextant" that's the same problem, isn't it? So now you need a backup sextant as well...Which will cost you as much as 2-4 GPSes, that usually still work well after being dropped.

I'm not against sextants (or chess) but as a practical matter, if the entire GPS system GOES DOWN, I suspect I'll have bigger issues, like trying to avoid warships and find a safe harbor. If all else fails, I can still figure out the compass directions and find land that way.
The Davis MK 15 (plastic sextant) comes with a lanyard of it's own. Re dropping and ruining a good spelled expensive sextant, buy a boot lace, they are long enough so that you can cut them to length, they make great lanyards, and are strong enough to hang yourself with should you opt to so do.

Otherwise, learning celestial navigation is not really all that difficult, if I was able to get a reasonable grasp of it, I suspect that most anyone willing to apply themselves could too.

By the way, don't knock "Intelectual Exercise". It beats the hell out of lifting weights.
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Old 02-09-2010, 17:37   #168
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Possibly slightly off point, apologies offered, is the following.

A late and lamented friend of mine was a graduatre of Kings Point, otherwise the Marchant Marine Academy. He was a licensed master and had sailed for about 30 years.

Electronics notwithstanding, he NEVER sailed without his personal sextant, which was an elderly but properly adjusted and maintained English instrument.
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Old 02-09-2010, 18:10   #169
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There's something about a finely crafted instrument like a sextant...the way it all moves together, just so. I like mine (an older C. Plath I bought in Germany, and had refreshed and recertified).

As far as dropping it? You're supposed to demonstrate your marlinspike skills and make a neck lanyard for it. There is a terrific plan for one in The Riggers Apprentice towards the back...
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Old 02-09-2010, 18:44   #170
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Not a question of "the whole GPS system going down". One nearby lightning strike can take out your GPS. And its backup. And its backup. And all your other onboard electronics.

This isn't far-fetched. Several boats I know have had that happen this summer .

Good to have a sextant aboard for that eventuality, and for other cogent reasons. I carry two Plaths. Always have. Always will, even if technology advances eventually allow a GPS implant in my forearm :-)

Bill
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Old 15-09-2010, 00:16   #171
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hi all,
new to the site, as my name states at this time it is just a dream, but soon... anyway just brought a used Tamaya 833 Jupiter. No idea how to use it. also purchased Celestial Navigation book. Anyone know if there are classes held in so california. I am one of those who if you show me I usually get it. On my own will take a little longer.
thanks Alan
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Old 15-09-2010, 00:48   #172
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You might check with your local coast guard office.
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Old 15-09-2010, 01:23   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alansdream View Post
hi all,
new to the site, as my name states at this time it is just a dream, but soon... anyway just brought a used Tamaya 833 Jupiter. No idea how to use it. also purchased Celestial Navigation book. Anyone know if there are classes held in so california. I am one of those who if you show me I usually get it. On my own will take a little longer.
thanks Alan
Where in SoCal?
LA or SD?
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Old 15-09-2010, 01:45   #174
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Consider joining the U.S. Power Squadrons. They have many good courses, including celestial navigation. (Don't let the name put you off; there are many sailors in the organization and they have an excellent course on sailing theory.)
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Old 15-09-2010, 11:45   #175
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Originally Posted by Alansdream View Post
hi all,
new to the site, as my name states at this time it is just a dream, but soon... anyway just brought a used Tamaya 833 Jupiter. No idea how to use it. also purchased Celestial Navigation book. Anyone know if there are classes held in so california. I am one of those who if you show me I usually get it. On my own will take a little longer.
thanks Alan
Alan, Orange Coast College Sailing Center in Newport Beach offers classes in Celestial Navigation. I haven't taken that one and so can't speak to how good it is, but I did take a couple of their Coastal Navigation classes and those were quite good. Their website is at www.occsailing.com

Jim
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Old 15-09-2010, 12:19   #176
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You might find this helpful:

NauticEd Sailing School Introductory Celestial Navigation Sailing Course.
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Old 15-09-2010, 16:42   #177
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If you have a local planetarium, they often have or know of celestial nav classes. Ditto if there's a local "Seaport" historical society or similar.

William Buckley's classic VHS on Basic Celestial Navigation is also a good way to watch someone using it and see how to run through things. Although of course that's Buckley, and you'll have to watch it twice to begin to understand what he's doing.<G>
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Old 15-09-2010, 17:33   #178
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I mentioned the US Power Squadrons (there is also a Canadian organization). It would be something more than just a course but I do recommend it. Their safety course and membership will get discounts on marine insurance, and they offer an insurance program of their own through Travelers. The full set of courses in piloting, seamanship, navigation, sailing, weather, engine maintenance, etc. are quite good and of use for a prospective cruiser. I took them all before I went out cruising and have found them valuable. If you want to know more then you can either see their booth at the next local boat show, or go to their web site. To find a nearby squadron try this link: USPS Squadrons & Districts

If you haven't had a boating safety course yet then contact the nearest squadron and take it; you will have an opportunity to learn more about the USPS while preparing for a discount on insurance.
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Old 16-09-2010, 10:45   #179
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Alansdream:

Have a look at the following. Also contacting the local Power Squadron is not a bad idea, and then the Coast Guard might direct you.

Celestial Navigation Net
The Navigation Foundation: Dedicated to the Preservation of the Art of Celestial Navigation
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Old 16-09-2010, 12:29   #180
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Alansdream:

The following link might prove interesting too:

The Mother of All Maritime Links: Page 34 of 47
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