Sextants: To bring or not to bring.
Once GPS became more affordable and accurate more of us were putting multiple units on board for backups.
I was told years ago that having a sextant on board the boat as back up was as efficient as putting a horse in the garage in case your car broke down.
My first passage was from Los Angeles to Hilo, HI in 1976...no GPS. For navigation we had a fathometer, radio direction finder and a sextant. Sight reduction tables for air navigation, chronometer and plotting sheets. Oh yes...and two books on how to use a sextant for navigation. On the way over I was going to self teach. First 11 days was overcast so needed to do dead reckoning until the sun or stars came out. When I did get a sight I was only 50 miles south of my estimated position.
I also was in the court with the believers of bringing additional GPS'. Until I read an article titled "President Obama Issues Order to Help Prepare Nation for Solar Flares". This is not a political stance but I found this on Snopes which is concerning. If solar flares can knock out a complete electrical grid what would it do to the satellite communication network??
This has changed my opinion. I am going back to basics. My sextant that I used in 1976 will go with me traveling the oceans. Even though the last major solar flare occurred in 1859 and we weren't as dependent technology then, I'm not a gambler when there is a solution. Also it's fun calculating the angle of the sun and being spot on. We arrived Hilo within an hour of last days estimate of a 21 day trip.
- Nov 17, 2019
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