christmas toy...sextant--need help - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-27-2009
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christmas toy...sextant--need help

Well, kinda good news bad news... she got me what i wanted for christmas... a sextant (once she figured i wasnt angeling for some weird 'sex tent' and here is what she came up with

Working ROSS LONDON Brass 8in Micrometer Sextant

seems nice. i was wondering if you guys had any exp wth this rosslondon outfit, and how to attach the micrometer, as the blinkin thing didnt come with a single direction. also, a bit of the powder coat has exposed brass, any worries? one yellow lens slightly scratched, and lastly i noticed the weeist bit of corosion where there steel degree marks meet the brass band in one spot, how should i clean it?

the real pickle, as you can imagine, is for the cas$, if there is something better how the h@?} do i ask her to send it back for something else?? looks like it was about 430....plus the fact she overnighted it.
no, i dont have to tuck it in my sock...

happy holidays!!
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Last edited by QuickMick; 12-27-2009 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 12-27-2009
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It is wise that you recognized this device as a "toy" when compared with the accuracy and function of today's devices to identify your position at sea, but as a historical collector's item it has merit. I'm probably far from the most skilled, but when I was taking noon sights with a sextant back in the seventies; I was doing my best to get within ten miles of my true position. I don't have answers to your specific questions, but I did google Ross London Sextant and found a wealth of information, but I'm sure you've already mined that source. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 12-27-2009
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She may have got it from ebay.
I believe I emailed the seller about a year ago and think these are reproductions.

I saw about 4 of them (used) at bacons within the last few months.
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Old 12-27-2009
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It's a reproduction and it's a toy. It's not a serious sextant, however beautiful it might appear.

Unfortunate, too, because it cost nearly what you'd pay for a used, excellent condition REAL sextant. Like a C Plath or Cassens & Plath, or a Tamaya, or a Freiburger. These turn up on eBay and you'd pay between $500 and $800 for one in excellent condition.

I still have two Plaths; recently sold my beloved Tamaya to a round-the-world sailor. As a ex celestial navigation instructor, I don't consider sextants to be "toys", no matter what other electronic marvels may exist today :-)

Good luck. I'd return it if I could, and get a real sextant.

Bill
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Old 12-27-2009
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A few years ago I asked a sextant salesman how GPS was affecting his sales. Surprisingly he said that his sales went UP with the advent of GPS. He felt that it was because when you knew exactly where you are already it is a lot easier to learn how to use the sextant. You instantly know if you made a mistake, and since you know where you are, you already know if you are in trouble! Makes learning a lot easier!
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Old 12-27-2009
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ps. when i mentioned bacons in annapolis, i meant that they had real ones and not the reproductions.
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I have heard that if you can find a WWII sextant, you can sometimes get a good deal on a decent sextant.

One popular model, made by several manufacturers is the US Navy Mark IV.

Be careful buying a used one, people sell them with all kinds of missing gadgetry that goes with the units.
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Old 12-27-2009
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Mick, the gentle way to break it to her might be to phrase it "Honey, these are made for presentation awards, you know, where they screw them to a wall plaque or something? And not for real use at sea."

Which is really the truth--if you're going to cut up a sextant and make it into a table lamp or bolt it to an office plaque, much better to use one of these than a real sextant!

The shame of it is, a top of the line C.Plath or Cassens & Plath won't bring more than $500-600 used, even in the best of condition. Versus nearly 3x that much new. Celestaire.com would be a good place to see what's available in brand new sextants at the same price, sometimes even a bit lower.
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Old 12-27-2009
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I picked up an Astra IIIB a few yrs ago. If you watch ebay you can get them for less than $300. (it did take me 3 or 4 tries but I finally got mine for about $250 I think)

It's about the best bang for the buck on a real sextant and not a decoration. I've enjoyed using mine.
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Old 12-28-2009
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I agree with the previous posters for the most part the exception being I don't consider a sextant a toy either. Celestaire http://www.celestaire.com/Astra-IIIB...-products.html
has the Astra IIIB for $599 and it is an excellent choice.
What nobody has mentioned is a good book on its use. One of the best and easiest to understand on the subject is Mary Blewitt's Celestial Navigation for Yachtsman available in paperback for $12 at Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen: Amazon.ca: Mary Blewitt: Books
or if you want hardcover used from http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?cm...se=2&binding=H
for about $6.
Hope you had a good Christmas and Happy New Year
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