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Old 12-02-2011, 16:08   #1
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Tell Me the Truth !

All right, I've read all the arguments for why I need a sextant and agree it could be handy one day if all else fails. But as the day draws closer to throwing off the docklines and I tick off the next thing I need to learn, it's hard to get excited about learning to use this ancient contraption.

What I want to know is what percentage of cruisers out there don't even have one on board or if they do, could not reasonably navigate home with it anyway?

Come on, it's me your talking to so tell me the truth.

Greg
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Old 12-02-2011, 16:13   #2
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Don't have one. But it's still on "the list" ... near the bottom.
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Old 12-02-2011, 16:13   #3
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I had one once. Got rid of it though. I just never used it once GPS came along. Not that I have great faith in GPS, I have found it to be "Off" once in a while but mostly it is more accurate than I ever was with the sextant.
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Old 12-02-2011, 16:16   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post
What I want to know is what percentage of cruisers out there don't even have one on board or if they do, could not reasonably navigate home with it anyway?

i would think the answer to this question is at least 90%


while it may save the day if everything else fails and you can figure out how to take a good sight and reduce it, i would not keep one aboard solely for this eventuality, if you are not inclined to use it otherwise...
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Old 12-02-2011, 16:18   #5
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Greg we have a plastic one a Davis Mk 15, well its sat on the desk in my office at the moment. I have a book and one day hope to learn to use it, but more for fun than anything else. A hand held GPS with some spare batteries will give you a position fix anywhere in the world any time the US isn't fooling around with the satellites.

Am I going to spend serious $ on one? no but I will keep an eye out in the flea bay markets.

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Old 12-02-2011, 16:25   #6
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Trip from Aus to NZ: we had one onboard. We didnt use it though.
Numerous trips up and down the east coast of Aus: We never took one let alone used one.

There's my honest truth

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Old 12-02-2011, 16:27   #7
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Do not have one and have not used one since my Navy School days when we learnt navigation... could and would use/carry one in the Pacific where its a bit dodgy... but where I sail there's enough other info from pilots/charts/depth/log/sightings/bearings etc that DR is much more accurate than the old days
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Old 12-02-2011, 16:31   #8
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Have sailed thousands of miles, never got the thing out of the box!!!!!
Sold it at a marine flea market...
Have 2 installed GPS units on 52' vessel, have 2 handhelds as well......

Forget it!!!!
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Old 12-02-2011, 16:34   #9
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Greg we have a plastic one a Davis Mk 15, well its sat on the desk in my office at the moment. I have a book and one day hope to learn to use it, but more for fun than anything else. A hand held GPS with some spare batteries will give you a position fix anywhere in the world any time the US isn't fooling around with the satellites.

Am I going to spend serious $ on one? no but I will keep an eye out in the flea bay markets.

Pete
Ditto.

Actually, I probably should just get rid of the thing but I keep saying ..."one day."
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Old 12-02-2011, 16:39   #10
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I no longer bother with one. I was never good enough to get accurate fixes consistently, and I've become convinced that celestial navigation requires constant practice to maintain proficiency. If I found it to be an enjoyable process to take a sight and compute a position, that would be one thing, but on any given day while I'm making a passage, there are a zillion other ways I'd rather occupy my time.

The final straw, for me, came in 1997 when the US Navy stopped requiring officers to learn celestial. When I moved aboard in 1998, the sextant was sold at the same time as the lawnmower and all the other tools I no longer needed.
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Old 12-02-2011, 17:07   #11
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I've always thought a celestial back up with all tools (sextant) woulod make sense for long crossings... Pacific/Atlantic/Indian etc.
Not that I think anyone is going to switch off the system, and besides isn't the a second system coming on stream?
I was more concerned about the lightning strike that fries the entire boat's electrics.
But I guess a few back up hand helds and a bucket of batteries would fix the problem.
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Old 12-02-2011, 17:17   #12
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Greg,

I am keen to buy one and learn how to use it. For me it is part nostalgia and another part serious utility/survival. I already have the books, but would really like to find a real time mentor who could show me how to use the thing. So far I have not met such an individual around our parts. I really feel having someone to “show you the ropes” would make the learning process a lot more enjoyable.

I did have a bit of a talk to one of the brothers on the All Hands On Deck training boat the other day on Newcastle Harbour. He was a really decent fellow and maybe next time I run into him I should ask about sextant training?
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Old 12-02-2011, 17:19   #13
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We sailed without one for ages. It was only before our first crossing that we bought one.

b.
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Old 12-02-2011, 17:25   #14
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The thing I don't like is the way Lights and Marks are slowly and quietly disappearing all over the place... where once there were many there's now handfuls... and since this crisis many more have gone.. my last delivery was a real eys opener... so many times I was looking for something no longer there or working.. if the GPS system ever did go down for a while it'd be interesting...
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Old 12-02-2011, 17:41   #15
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I know how to use one. Own one. Don't ever carry it aboard. Not even on Pacific crossings.
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