Sextant

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by SheetWise, May 19, 2011.

  1. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 279
    Likes: 54, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 658
    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    My daughter is headed to the US Naval Academy, and I have been looking for a sextant to give her so that she can get a head start on celestial navigation. I have been beat about a dozen times on eBay -- always at the last second, and by wide margins. Apparently sextants are collectible items. Does anybody know a better place to look, or have a set they would be willing to part with? I'm aware I'm going to have to spend several hundred dollars, but the collectors are really making this difficult for me.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 14,984
    Likes: 824, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    You can get a Davis. I navigated with one of them for years.
     
  3. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 1,896
    Likes: 71, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 739
    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    Clausen also makes a good one, but instead of brass they have some that are aluminium. Which on a small boat helps since it isn't as hard to hold them properly.

    I am not sure but I thought the Navel Academy canceled its celestial navigation class around 2003. It might be a good skill to learn, but I don't know that it is a leg up anymore.
     
  4. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 5,373
    Likes: 247, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 3380
    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    There's an italian on-line shop for sextants: http://www.ottante.it/ecommerce/products_list.php?current_page=1&category_id=42&category=sestanti
    but, apart a Davis MK15 which is made of plastic and costs €180 , you can't find a one for less than €650. To convert euros to U.S. dollars, you have to multiply by approximately 1.45 .
    Unfortunately the site is in italian only, but if you need a help with translation - just ask. ;)

    You could also check this site: http://www.thefind.com/sports/info-marine-sextant
    They have some interesting items there, and the prices are similar to the above.

    Now... Don't consider this as a provocation (I mean, she's going to US Naval Academy...) but there's this little thing here: http://www.soviet-power.com/detail.php?pid=1611 :D
    What you can see is a soviet replica of a german Freiberger sextant. Freiberger is the ex west-german Zeiss Jena - the other name for world's finest precision optics and their sextants were considered among the best in the world. There you have basically a Freiberger-like sextant for 450 U.S. dollars.

    If you want an original Freiberger, the price will be almost four times higher: http://www.ottante.it/ecommerce/pro...estante-freiberger-standard&category=sestanti

    Cheers!
     
  5. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
    Posts: 731
    Likes: 97, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1324
    Location: MD

    bntii Senior Member

    Have her check with Bacon's over on West street.
    They usually have a few nice ones in stock & had Hal Roths personal sextant a while back.

    Decent German instruments will run ~ 7 to 12 hundred USD.


    Edit:

    Oops - a present...

    Call Bacon's to see what they have in stock....
     
  6. Crag Cay
    Joined: May 2006
    Posts: 643
    Likes: 49, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 607
    Location: UK

    Crag Cay Senior Member

    The Astra IIIB is a better choice than any of the plastic jobs.

    I've had mine for 25 years, but don't think I'll ever use it again in anger. If you need a back up for your GPS, buy another GPS.
     
  7. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 279
    Likes: 54, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 658
    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    Thank you for all of your replies.

    Stumble -- Celestial navigation is still considered a valuable skill, and is still given credit, but may no longer be required. My hope is to strengthen her love of geometry and appreciation of history along with learning a skill that will be recognized in her studies. That's one reason I've been looking for a sextant that has some historical provenance.

    Thank you all for the links, as they confirm my findings ... I need to reserve more funds for this somewhat whimsical purchase.

    daiquiri -- I have bid on a couple of the Russian "yellow box" sextants, but was uncertain about the quality. I see that they are immediately available for ~$500 USD. I have a couple auctions I'm in now, and if they don't work -- I will take your recommendation and purchase one. They look like quality instruments, and I don't think their origin will upset any bearing ;)
     
  8. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 279
    Likes: 54, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 658
    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    You do realize that GPS can be broken, attacked, turned off, and/or encrypted. That's tough to do with the sun, moon, and stars ;)
     
  9. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,718
    Likes: 316, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489
    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow I'm not a cat.

  10. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 279
    Likes: 54, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 658
    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

  11. HReeve
    Joined: Dec 2009
    Posts: 49
    Likes: 4, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 47
    Location: Salish Sea

    HReeve Junior Member

  12. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 279
    Likes: 54, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 658
    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    I like the practice bubble sextant -- cool tool. Thanks.
     
  13. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 279
    Likes: 54, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 658
    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    Thanks for all your help. I just won an auction. It appears to be a functional tool, and also represents a little bit of history. I found it on eBay.
     
  14. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 790
    Likes: 41, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 465
    Location: Bellingham WA

    cthippo Senior Member

    Unless you're in Washington, and then we have an excellent cloaking technology called rain :p
     

  15. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 279
    Likes: 54, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 658
    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    I'm aware of your cloaking technology -- it also applies to your politics ;)
     
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.