Join Date: Apr 2006
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Cameraderie, any really good Real Navigator (like a Polynesian or Viking) would call your sextant a overly complex unreliable newfangled nonsense, the same way you'd look at a sextant.
You might not find Bermuda or Hawaii (unless you had an am/fm radio onboard and they were still broadcasting) after some despot caused the GPS system to be shut down, but you'd certainly find a coastline and then be able to make your way home without a sextant. Heck, you can see the nighttime skyglow from any major coastal city out at sea before you can see the coast in daytime.
To justify a sextant on the concept that the GPS system might be shut down for the end of the world, is pushing the concept a bit. If the world ends, you'll probably be safe staying at sea anyhow.
Celnav today makes a fine brain sharpener. A fine hobby, just like chess. But the same $300 that will buy a used low-end metal sextant, will buy two GPSes plus rechargeable batteries and a solar charger plus a brick of AA cells that can give you power for daily fixes for six months by themselves.
Drop the sextant, and you've got trash. Drop the GPS, and you've got the spare. With more spares at $100 each.
Celnav is an anachronism today. Like a horse and buggy, it still may be the best tool for a job--may be, some times. And it might make a nice change to take the horse and buggy out for a picnic in the country.
But in practical terms? Expensive, fragile, bulky, unreliable (use it during a 48-hour overcast, go ahead) and requiring a trained user and auxiliary materials.
Nice if you can afford it as a luxury and a hobby, but of little practical OR potential value these days. And that's from someone who has owned them and enjoyed using them.