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Old 21-11-2022, 21:42   #1
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Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

I'm about six months away from casting off the lines and doing my first multiday offshore passage and have been looking for a used sextant. I'm on a very low budget so cheaper is preferable. Ebay and amazon seem flooded with new replicas of a 1917 design which looks half decent. $50 for these, anyone had any experience with them?

I'm initially heading from British Columbia down the coast of the USA and into Mexico for an indeterminate period, then offshore to Marquesas and points west for what will again be an indeterminate period. I'll have Navionics and/or Open CPN aboard but I want to be prepared in case of disruptions to GPS satellites.
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Old 21-11-2022, 21:59   #2
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

They should be good enough to get you within a few miles of where you want to be, but not as close as a metal one. Among other things, they are not as dimensionally stable and react to sun and temperature more than metal. As a backup though they will let you know where you are. For those of us who don't use a sextant much, I think there is more error on the user end than the sextant end anyway.
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Old 21-11-2022, 22:01   #3
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

Welcome to CF.

I’d sooner use one of the Davis Plastic Sextants than a replica of unknown provenance. At least the Davis units are designed and calibrated for actual use. I love my Tamaya, but I’ve carried and used the Mark 3 and find it satisfactory.
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Old 21-11-2022, 22:17   #4
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

Bestline you would be better of buying a plastic Davis sextant. I doubt the replicas have been calibrated or built to an acceptable tolerance.
Quen Cultra navigated Queequeg around the world using the cheapest Davis plastic sextant.
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Old 21-11-2022, 22:50   #5
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

Hmm, ok, looks like I'm overthinking things as usual, I'll buy a plastic one and probably not lose GPS signal once, hah.
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Old 21-11-2022, 23:56   #6
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brioche View Post
.... For those of us who don't use a sextant much, I think there is MUCHmore error on the user end than the sextant end anyway.
fixed it for you
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Old 22-11-2022, 00:32   #7
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

Simple answer for the OP .. No!!
They are wall ornaments - nothing more.

If you want a 'good' sextant look for something like a Zeiss Freiberger or a Plath from an Indian shipbreaker.
https://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_...0&LH_PrefLoc=2
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Old 22-11-2022, 02:18   #8
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

I have a Tamaya sextant not bad reasonable money
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Old 22-11-2022, 02:54   #9
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

You are better off buying a second of even third GPS unit. All you really need is latitude and longitude. They are so cheap these days.

The only way the GPS signal will be disrupted is if there is an attack on the US or it's allies. In which case there is a lot more to worry about than where you are.
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Old 22-11-2022, 03:16   #10
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Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

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You are better off buying a second of even third GPS unit. All you really need is latitude and longitude. They are so cheap these days.

The only way the GPS signal will be disrupted is if there is an attack on the US or it's allies. In which case there is a lot more to worry about than where you are.


Could we really leave the issue of gps or more correctly GNSS disrupted. Itís brought up every time someone talk about GNSS

itís utterly BS. There are 4 GNSS systems active the day they ALL GO offline youíll be the least bit unconcerned as people in dust form tend not to need their position fixed.
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Old 22-11-2022, 03:23   #11
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I have a Tamaya sextant not bad reasonable money

Is it the "1712" model? I think those are replicas. You're saying they're good enough to do actual navigation?
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Old 22-11-2022, 03:26   #12
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

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Originally Posted by stormalong View Post
You are better off buying a second of even third GPS unit. All you really need is latitude and longitude. They are so cheap these days.

The only way the GPS signal will be disrupted is if there is an attack on the US or it's allies. In which case there is a lot more to worry about than where you are.

Solar flares can also be a factor.


For example there was a 1 hour GPS outage on July 3rd 2017 during the X 1.5 solar flare.
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Old 22-11-2022, 04:00   #13
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

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Solar flares can also be a factor.


For example there was a 1 hour GPS outage on July 3rd 2017 during the X 1.5 solar flare.


Sure Galileo went out in 2019 for 4 days. But the other three gnsss were active
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Old 22-11-2022, 04:03   #14
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Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

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Is it the "1712" model? I think those are replicas. You're saying they're good enough to do actual navigation?


Yes itís the 1712 itís ok. But my main one is an Astra 3B

The 1712,is good to about 5 miles ! In fact the quality of the sextant is not the major factor in my errors.
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Old 22-11-2022, 04:14   #15
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Re: Are Cheap Replica Sextants Any Good?

For an emergency backup/ practice sextant, the Davis or Ebbco have yielded good results. The problem I have is that practicing with an inferior instrument doesn't open your eyes to the possibilities of a better unit.
If you can spring for an Astra IIIB, which is the most affordable of the metal sextants I know of, you'll learn easier, since you'll have decent enough optics to stand a fighting chance of a good shot. I've had my Astra for twenty years, and used it on dozens of voyages, and it's still in tip-top shape. It's a good investment.
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