Where's Your Sextant? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

The last time I used a sextant was in '75 along with dead reckoning and a radio direction finder. I ditched the sextant and the RDF about the same time I got rid of my slide rule and my Loran. I respect the history of these devices, but I know that they don't provide the efficiency or accuracy of more modern tools.


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post #12 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

This is going to sound a bit elitest, but I long for the days when there were at least a few barriers to entry. Too many things are just too easy these days. GPS not only means that folks don't need to know celestial, but chartplotters have convinced lots of folks that they don't even need the basic skills of coastal navigation.

Ever wonder why powerboaters seem to be the most ignorant folks out there? Because there are no barriers to entry - just turn the key and go like a bat out of hell. At least sailors still need to know something about sail trim. But this wholesale surrender to technology is much the same - when even an idiot can do it, we will have an ocean full of idiots.
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

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This is going to sound a bit elitest, but I long for the days when there were at least a few barriers to entry. Too many things are just too easy these days..................................... when even an idiot can do it, we will have an ocean full of idiots.
- and there was the time when an educated person had to know Latin in order to read an academic text. I, too, would like to see fewer idiots on the water, but the solution will not come from holding back technology.
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

I'm not suggesting holding back technology. I am suggesting that technology (at the expense of actually knowing something) is not the only answer.
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

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I'm not suggesting holding back technology. I am suggesting that technology (at the expense of actually knowing something) is not the only answer.
We continue to see people with high tech chart plotters aground on the wrong side of clearly present channel markers. So, I'll stand with you in recognizing the problem. So, what is this other answer that you are proposing when you suggest that, "technology (at the expense of actually knowing something) is not the only answer." Are you advocating a restrictive test to allow someone to operate a boat? What answer do you have in mind? I'm sure you don't mean that people should be required to learn how to use a sextant before they are allowed to use a GPS. What's the other answer?


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post #16 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

In the garage somewhere, at least that's my last recollection.

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post #17 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

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We continue to see people with high tech chart plotters aground on the wrong side of clearly present channel markers. So, I'll stand with you in recognizing the problem. So, what is this other answer that you are proposing when you suggest that, "technology (at the expense of actually knowing something) is not the only answer." Are you advocating a restrictive test to allow someone to operate a boat? What answer do you have in mind? I'm sure you don't mean that people should be required to learn how to use a sextant before they are allowed to use a GPS. What's the other answer?
Nope, I'm not advocating any such policies. I was only lamenting that the lack of any barrier to entry was increasing the percentage of idiots and suggesting therefore that such barriers have their benefits. If I'm advocating anything, I am advocating that everyone out there ought to have a reasonable handle on coastal navigation techniques. I'm also a firm believer that knowledge for the sake of knowing is a good thing and therefore learning celestial is a rewarding endeavor in and of itself. Nothing more.
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

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................ I am advocating that everyone out there ought to have a reasonable handle on coastal navigation techniques. I'm also a firm believer that knowledge for the sake of knowing is a good thing and therefore learning celestial is a rewarding endeavor in and of itself. Nothing more.
Yes, I'm still with you and I think most would agree that the knowledge is best, but you can't "rule out" ignorance.
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

I pulled it out of storage so I can use it's filters to watch the transit of Venus today .

Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-05-2012
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Re: Where's Your Sextant?

In a cardboard box in the closet in the basement. The RDF is on my work bench since it functions as an AM radio. Actually used the RDF on the way to Fort Jefferson. I do have a certificate of sight reduction using the sun's lower limb. That class was 15 years ago. Dam time flies.
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