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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #21  
Old 04-04-2007
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One of the funniest stories I've read about GPS and sextants is from one of the race logs where taking LOPs using a sextant are required as part of the race... and the person who was taking the LOPs was using the clock on the GPS for the timing... The clocks on the GPS units are pretty damn accurate, as long as the satellites are working.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #22  
Old 04-04-2007
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By the way,

I was only making light earlier and hope I did not offend anyone. Just trying to make people laugh and point out that the likelihood of ever needing a sextant is pretty darn low. However, probably not a bad idea to know how.

- CD
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  #23  
Old 04-04-2007
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad
The truth is that 99% of the people on this forum do not even know what a sextant is. The 1% that are experts, half of them could not narrow down their position with a sextant any more accurately than "somewhere between Africa and Hawaii."

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- CD
I don't know, the last time I was out on a schooner south of Newport RI and used my sextant I plotted my position in the right ocean. That's the Pacific, right?
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  #24  
Old 04-04-2007
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CD-

Sextants can be used for things other than celestial navigation. They can be used to determine how far off the coast you are, based on the observed height of objects...and things like that too. Granted, you have to know a little math to figure that type of stuff out... but you need to know that math for CS anyways...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #25  
Old 04-04-2007
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I remain unconvinced that anyone NEEDS a sextant. My GPS tells me when it is not getting a signal and in that case I would simply consult my chart and do dead reckoning till it came back up...much as one would do if they had a sextant and the sun wasn't out. Closer in shore, my radar would bring me home or coastal nav skills could be used.
In this particular "worst case yet" I'd be back on course by the time you all got your sextant unpacked, took and reduced a sight or two and figured you were somewhere within a couple of miles of where you actually are.
The sextant remains an interesting relic and fun for some to play with...kinda like woodworking with old fashioned tools.
Ya hadda know I wouldn't "cave" on this one guys!!<>
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  #26  
Old 04-04-2007
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Cam-

You're consistent...
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #27  
Old 04-04-2007
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Cam has never had a power failure I guess. As a EE by training I have a very deep distrust of electrons. A short at the wrong place in your circuitry can make all that cool gear far more obsolete than a sextant.
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Old 04-04-2007
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To all interested; probably every conceivable thought on this subject, as well as some rather unconceivable thoughts, are available at length, great length, in the archives. If you insist on dredging it all up anew, instead of posting any new insights on one of those past threads, so we may at least have some continuity, I will be forced to diagnose you as in sailnet denial. I will also be inclined to make unkind references to you over on the 'yer ass thread. "Sailnet denial" is defined as a thought process somewhat like, "if I just make this point, in my own original way, they will all see the light, and come around to my way of thinking." For a current example of such a thread, and the terminally afflicted, I would refer you to the current solar thread.

In the meantime, you are asses and full of crap, and you know who you are!
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  #29  
Old 04-04-2007
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Did someone get up on the wrong side of bed? Denial, isn't that the river in Africa?
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  #30  
Old 04-05-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenuki
Anyone have recommendations for beginner sextants? The math doesn't scare me (to tell the truth it attracts me ), but don't know anything about the equipment.
Davis makes two plastic models (I think they are called the 15 and the 25?) that are adequate for land-based learning and for something to put (with an almanac or a PDF of same in plastic!) in the ditch bag. I would pop for the better $200 one.

I own the Astra IIIB (*not* the "Professional" one at $795 but the one that was sold until recently for $510). It's very nice, steady and light and will serve you well at sea if kept reasonably clean and dry. I got the "whole horizon" model.

I also bought for the wife a Freiberger sextant from the '70s that is half-silvered mirror. While I would say that the Freiberger is a marginally better sextant (German optics are usually excellent: I have my father's "U-boat captain's 7 x 50 binoculars bought in 1946 in Hamburg on the cheap that are still superb), you would have to do a LOT of celestial to see the superiority. The difference between whole horizon and half-silvered (I would recommend you Google under "sextant methods") is fairly significant, however, and I can see how in day vs. night conditions, and in stellar vs. lunar limb conditions, one might have the edge over another.

But that's for later. Take a Power Squadron class and see if you like it. It's an excellent, mind-exercising skill to possess, it positively reeks of salty seamanship to wield a sextant with intent to plot, and it does tend to engender an almost instinctive sense of navigation that can't help but serve you in some sticky situations where you can see the sun, but not the shore.

As for GPS, get a cheap digital watch and use the "long dash" of the radio to keep it co-ordinated. I bought a digital "sailing watch" about three weeks ago, set it to the SW receiver's "atomic clock" and it's dead on accurate, whereas I've seen with my own eyes the GPS time code stopping briefly or correcting itself 10-30 seconds on an irregular basis.

My .02.
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