How to use the Sextant, web page? Someplace? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 11-16-2009 Thread Starter
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How to use the Sextant, web page? Someplace?

I got myself a FREE sextant. This one is a step up from the most cheap models, but not too many steps. I went off to the library to get a book on celestial navigation. The book read like a very badly written text book, I could not follow at all. Then I got to thinking.. on the net. Someplace must have a How to Celestial page. Any advice..
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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Jasper find a school near by that offers ASA courses. They have a basic and a regular celetial navigation course. Celestial Navigation Standard (ASA 107) - American Sailing Association

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post #3 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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PS - The list of schools on the ASA site is very limited. I would do a local search.

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post #4 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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Use the Book "Dutton's Nautical Navigation" This is the text used by the military academcies. An Excellent text book that should explain everything to your satisfaction.
Bowditch ( American Practical Navigator ) is the Basis for all of the other books written on Navigation. You could plow through it instead... Yes you would be plowing through it... I had to read it about six times to fully understand what they were saying... It is written for the professional Navigator such as myself... I did home school with Bowditch. But you will find Dutton's is more than a tad easier.

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post #5 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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Here is an online resource for celestial navigation. It looks like there are about 10 pages altogether. However, I have to warn you who ever created the html page and went with the image backgrounds is obviously trying to torture any visitors. It will be much harder to read this site as is than it will to learn celestial navigation. You may want to download the page and images, edit the html background and reopen the page or something. Let me know if you need help.

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post #6 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper Windvane View Post
I got myself a FREE sextant. This one is a step up from the most cheap models, but not too many steps. I went off to the library to get a book on celestial navigation. The book read like a very badly written text book, I could not follow at all. Then I got to thinking.. on the net. Someplace must have a How to Celestial page. Any advice..
Jasper,

I don't know about on the net, but there are some good books.

There's a lot to celestial navigation, most of it doesn't even require a sextant. Just using simple methods, sometimes with sticks, or pieces of weighted string, you can use the stars to find out all kinds of information about direction, where you are at, etc, I'd recommend "Emergency Navigation: Pathfinding Techniques for the Inquisitive and Prudent Mariner" by David Burch, a very practical book. Just reading that book and understanding the concepts in it will make it clear how to use the sextant in a basic way, then with those concepts in mind it is easier to move on to the math. It's important to understand what stars are where, how they move across the sky on any given night, which stars are in the sky during which times of the year, etc, and all that is learned by star gazing and/or using software that shows you star movements over time, or I am sure by any number of other methods. I'd get all that kind of stuff down before I bothered using the sextant and working the math to find a position.

What are you pretending not to know ?

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post #7 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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My wife and I both took and passed Celestial Navigation with the Canadian Power Squadron (an organization like the US Power Squadron). Ours was well taught, by an excellent, knowledgeable (and patient) instructor.

ASA, CYA, USPS, CPS-ECP or CGA are all great organizations. You just have to find the one that is most convenient to you and fits your ways of thinking.

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post #8 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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the US Power squadron has basic & advanced celestial navigation courses for members. i took both of them . the classroom instruction is very good. you will find out what else you need, like the current year nautical almanac, sight reduction tables, etc. using the sextant to get the angle between the star & the horizon is the easy part.

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post #9 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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Learning celestial navigation from a book on your own is not a trivial task. It's a lot more involved than it first appears. I know from my time as a Naval Reserve officer and Merchant Marine officer in the 1960s and 1970s before GPS. Take the good advice given above and take a course if you're really interested.
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-16-2009
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I'm a big fan of "Celestial Navigation in a Nut Shell" I taught celestial for a company and found it to be the easiest to use, both for the students and the teacher. It has the added benefit of being cheap, and paper back.
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