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Old 10th Sep 2014, 22:05
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 7,878
OzDork, don't knock your plastic Davis sextant, I carry one on my boat. Get a copy of "astronavigation for yachtsmen", it covers what you need to know.

Personally, a ten to fifteen mile error circle is pretty good from the deck of a small yacht in rough weather and a Davis sextant is plenty good enough for that purpose.

You can use tables or buy a navigation computer and there is probably an App for it anyway.

If GPS vanished tomorrow we would be right back to "proper" navigation and pilotage with Sextant and hand bearing compass, so its worth keeping up those skills, even just against total electrical failure or the iPhone falling overboard.

The things I treasure are a couple of the very old sailing guides for Bass Strait that are no longer in print. They contain vast amounts of hard won information that is no longer considered relevant today. For example if caught in a Westerly gale in Bass Strait there is a patch of safe water behind the bluff at Barwon heads called in the old days "the bosom of Abraham". I've also used them to sail from Port Albert to Port Welshpool via "the cattle crossing" - through a maze of channels, avoiding the open sea.
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