Book Sextant

The Nautical Sextant
by W. J. Morris

The Nautical Sextant reveals in pictures, prose, and perspective the experience and knowledge gained by the author from years of acquiring, studying, and restoring sextants from earlier times and from around the world.

This fascinating book owes much of its attraction to the expert description and photos of the mechanics of the sextants and their subassemblies. It is also the story of how different manufacturers, in different times and places, solved the same mechanical problems in different ways in order to perfect one of the most accurate mechanical devices ever produced by man. All of this is complemented by an historical overview to the current day, an overview which has never been published until now.

The Nautical Sextant will be of particular value not only to navigators, but also to restorers, collectors, students of technology, curators, and sextant dealers. With its bibliography and extensive use of footnotes, this book will certainly become a classic in its field.


Sextant
by David Barrie

In the tradition of Dava Sobel’s ‘Longitude’ comes sailing expert David Barrie’s compelling and dramatic tale of invention and discovery – an eloquent elegy to one of the most important navigational instruments ever created, and the daring mariners who used it to explore, conquer, and map the world. This is the story of an instrument that changed the world. In prose as crisp as the book’s subject, David Barrie tells how and why the sextant was invented; how offshore navigators depended on it for their lives in wild and dangerous seas until the advent of GPS – and the sextant’s vital role in the history of exploration. Much of the book is set amidst the waves of the Pacific Ocean as explorers searched for the great southern ocean, charted the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Alaska as well as the Pacific islands. Among the protagonists are Captain James Cook, the great French navigator, La Pérouse, who built on Cook’s work in the exploring the Pacific during the 1780s, but never made it home, George Vancouver, Matthew Flinders – the first man to circumnavigate Australia, Robert FitzRoy of the Beagle, Joshua Slocum, the redoubtable old ‘lunarian’ and successful pilot of a small boat across the wild Southern Ocean and Frank Worsley of the Endurance. Their stories are interwoven with the author’s account of his own transatlantic passage aboard Saecwen in 1973, using the very same navigational tools as Captain Cook, and the book is infused with a sense of wonder and dramatic discovery. A heady mix of adventure, science, mathematics and derring-do, ‘Sextant’ is a timeless tale of sea-faring and exploration. A love letter to the sea, it is narrative history for star gazers and sailors, for everyone with a love of salty breezes and a sense of adventure. Beautifully produced, ‘Sextant’ offers storytelling at its very best.

Sextant
by David Barrie

In the tradition of Dava Sobel’s Longitude comes sailing expert David Barrie’s compelling and dramatic tale of invention and discovery—an eloquent elegy to one of the most important navigational instruments ever created, and the daring mariners who used it to explore, conquer, and map the world.

Since its invention in 1759, a mariner’s most prized possession has been the sextant. A navigation tool that measures the angle between a celestial object and the horizon, the sextant allowed sailors to pinpoint their exact location at sea.

David Barrie chronicles the sextant’s development and shows how it not only saved the lives of navigators in wild and dangerous seas, but played a pivotal role in their ability to map the globe. He synthesizes centuries of seafaring history and the daring sailors who have become legend, including James Cook, Matthew Flinders, Robert Fitz-Roy, Frank Worsley of the Endurance, and Joshua Slocum, the redoubtable old “lunarian” and first single-handed-round-the-world yachtsman. He also recounts his own maiden voyage, and insights gleaned from his experiences as a practiced seaman and navigator.

Full of heroism, danger, and excitement, told with an infectious sense of wonder, Sextant offers a new look at a masterful achievement that changed the course of history.


The Faithful Sextant
by Robert Devereux McEliece

The Faithful Sextant is a memoir of Bob McEliece¿s passing through boyhood to find manhood in the world of Seafarers and the Vietnam War. A moving book about the making of childhood bonds in the 1950s only see them shattered by Vietnam; it looks closely at a war that nearly consumed a generation. The story views the war from the eyes of the thousands of civilian sailors who brought the machinery and goods to fight the war and found that in so doing, the war had been brought to them. A dark wall of polished Gabbro remembers the aftermath of this war. On it¿s face is etched over 52,000 names, a monument that stares every day across the Potomac River to Arlington National Cemetery where Bob¿s boyhood friends are buried and to Alexandria, where these friends grew up.

Reed’s Sextant Simplified
by Dag Pike

The sextant is the treasured navigational device of generations of seamen and airmen. It enables position to be determined with good accuracy for ocean navigation, and it was the combination of sextant and chronometer that allowed safe navigation of the oceans for generations of seafarers. Despite the accuracy and ease of use of electronic navigation systems, every navigator should be able to use a sextant. It could even save your life in the event of electronics failure. This book describes how a sextant works, provides practical tips and advice on using it, explains how to read as well as take sights, how to make adjustments and correct errors, and finally advises on how to handle and care for the instrument. Book jacket.

The Sextant Handbook
by Bruce Bauer

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.


A History of the Navigator’s Sextant
by Charles H. Cotter

This pre-history of the sextant, as we might call it, will emphasize the problems that were to be overcome in leading up to the invention, or rather evolution, of an instrument that has for long been the very symbol of the navigator’s art.


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