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The Sextant Handbook Paperback – February 22, 1995
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Loran and GPS notwithstanding, there will always be a place for the sextant aboard any blue-water boat, if for no other reason than the thrill and mystery of finding one's position on earth by gazing at the heavens. Here is the indispensable reference that should accompany the instrument aboard. Cmdr. Bruce Bauer, a professional navigator and master mariner with the U.S. Merchant Marine, has distilled years of hands-on experience into an eminently readable guide to buying, adjusting, using, and repairing sextants.
The Sextant Handbook is dedicated to the premise that electronic navigation devices, while too convenient to disregard, are too vulnerable to rely on exclusively. The book is designed to make beginner and expert alike conversant with this most beautiful and functional of the navigator's tools. Topics include:
- Assembly and Disassembly
- Vital Adjustments
- Avoiding Problems
- Rough Weather Sightings
- Oiling and Cleaning
- Immersion Baths
- Emergency Silvering
- Finding and Buying Used Sextants
- And Much More
You'll also find a list of distributors, manufacturers, and dealers worldwide, a discussion of future trends, and numerous helpful hints, including sighting with eyeglasses and using a Rude starfinder. All in a thoroughly revised edition of a book acclaimed by navigation professionals.
Frequently bought together
"The wealth of useful material is prodigious and by the time onw has reached the back cover, the sextant is an old friend." -- Yachting World
"This is a good book... The author writes clearly and knowledgeably." -- Sailing
From the Publisher
- Publisher : International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 2nd edition (February 22, 1995)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0070052190
- ISBN-13 : 978-0070052192
- Item Weight : 9.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.2 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #203,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #63 in Star-Gazing (Books)
- #105 in Sailing (Books)
- #123 in Boating (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Having purchased it without paying attention to the publication date, the first thing I thought was - "Oh brother, a teabagger. Now I'm going to have to wade through the Glenn Beck innuendos from one chapter to the next."
About halfway through the book though, I became aware of the fact that many of the author's references were somewhat dated. It was only then that I went to the first pages to realize that it was last published in the early `90s. This means that Cmdr. Bauer was not complaining about Obama deficit spending but Reagan/Papa Bush profligacy. In other words - "He's one of us! In which case, he was damned proper to make this analogy!"
In any event, this was the limit of the author's economic insights. The book goes on to being one of the best treatises on the subject of marine sextants that I have come across in my 20 years of dabbling in celestial navigation. I can honestly say that I either recalled something I had forgotten or learned something entirely new with the reading of each and every page.
Not until I read a few one star reviews (only after finishing the book) in which the writers complained that the author failed to explain how to actually read a sextant, did I come to realize that they were quite correct. Very little is offered on this most important subject, including how to interpret the vernier scale, which is fundamental to any sextant. I can only imagine that Bauer is kicking himself for this oversight. It's just one of those things that are so obviously taken for granted, that it's easy to forget.
For the fact that most sextants are sold with a booklet explaining how to read a sextant, I will forgive the author and give him the stars he deserves for a job well done.
I so want to buy a full blown sextant but my wife would ask, "Why do you need that? We don't have a boat! And even if we did the Gulf of Mexico is far, far away." So I probably won't get a sextant unless she dies before I do and I still have a brain that works.
Top reviews from other countries
The writer sees the sextant as a 'tool'---- one which is hedged about with unneccesary mystique that ought to be quickly dispelled. The adjustment and use of the sextant is treated in a very practical way, with tips on how to get a good sight following the adjustment of the instrument to reduce errors. The illustrations to enable the adjustments to be made are clear, as are the instructions for putting it right.
You will still need another book on the business of calculating your results, but this one will give very realistic advice on the planning ,timing, and taking of the sight.
The section on the history of the development of the modern sextant, coupled with the very readable text, prevents this being a dry manual and is written from a very personal perspective based on experience.