The Sextant Handbook

The Sextant Handbook : Adjustment, Repair, Use and History

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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 156 x 232 x 16mm | 280g
  • International Marine Publishing Co
  • Rockport, ME, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 0070052190
  • 9780070052192
  • 169,961

About Bruce A. Bauer

Cmdr. Bruce A. Bauer, USN (ret.), is a professional navigator and master mariner with the U.S. Merchant Marine. He presently commands a Navy research vessel sailing between the United States and the Caribbean islands and recently commanded the ship that was successful in relocating the historic sunken submarine Monitor off Cape Hatteras. A former destroyer captain, Cmdr. Bauer has taught radar and been a senior instructor for the Master Mates and Pilots School of Advanced Studies and also served as the commander of the Naval Research Lab at Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. In addition to The Sextant Handbook, Cmdr. Bauer has written articles on the subject of marine sextants for Cruising World and SAIL magazines. He lives with his artist wife, Nancy, on the shores of the Chesapeake in Deale, Maryland.
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Back cover copy

"The wealth of useful material is prodigious and by the time one has reached the back cover, the sextant is an old friend. Just as important, Cdr. Bauer deals comprehensively with maintenance and service, and his advice on how to select and assess a second-hand sextant is truly worthwhile. Refreshingly, he writes in a friendly manner--almost as though he is chatting to a group of students. A thoroughly enjoyable book."--Peter Milne, Technical Editor, Yachting World Magazine (England)

"If this book is a highly detailed technical manual, the reader is hardly aware, so plentiful are the diversions into related topics. It makes great reading and virtually everyone . . . regardless of one's skill level with a sextant . . . will find new things to learn about sextants, their history, their future and their best use."--Ocean Navigator

"The sextant and Commander Bauer's handbook should be standard equipment on every seagoing vessel. It is a book that should be provided with every sextant and class in navigating."--R. J. Holt, Director, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

"One recognizes here a centennial Lecky on the sextant. There is plenty of new material presented in a manner that would make a stranger want to meet Bruce Bauer and converse with him face to face."--Paul M. Anderton, Navigation Instructor

"Cdr. Bauer's book will become a standard reference on the sextant for professional and amateur navigators around the world. I have been doing celestial navigation since 1953 and have not, until now, been able to find so much information on the sextant collected in one place."--A. W. Fowler, Ocean Racing Navigator

"Bauer has succeeded in gathering a wealth of information from a multitude of sources and brought it all together into a fascinating book for the mariner. I recommend it to those who navigate the ocean's highways."--Warren P. Davis, Colonel, USA (Ret.), Sextant Authority

"Insecurity is sitting on a boat in the middle of the ocean staring at an out-of-whack sextant and not knowing how to fix it. I know from experience. This book should be mandatory equipment on every boat that goes offshore."--Wayne Carpenter, Author, The Voyage of Kristina
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Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1 A Short History Astrolabe Latitude Hook Quadrant Cross Staff Back Staff Sextant Chapter 2 Elements of the Sextant and Four Vital Adjustments Perpendicularity Frame and Index Mirror Frame and Horizon Glass Parallelism Index Mirror and Horizon Glass Telescope and Frame Adjustment Procedures Chapter 3 Attachments and Accessories Astigmatizers Double Star Prism Wide View Horizon Glass Davis Prism Level Bubble Horizon Attachment Neck Straps Visual Aids Chapter 4 Care, Maintenance, and Repair Oiling and Cleaning Immersion Bath Procedures How to Hold Where to Put Down Mounted Sextant Boxes Emergency Silvering Techniques Applying Paint Resilvering Horizon Glass Chapter 5 How to Buy a Sextant Where to Find Them Prices Five Ground Rules to Avoid Problems Taking Test Sights Interstellar Test Table Discovering the Dropped Sextant Reconditioning Costs Chapter 6 Sighting Techniques Inversion for Location Precalculating Azimuths Rocking or Swinging an Arc Sun's Upper Limb Shades for Sun, Moon, and Venus Correcting for False Horizon Rough Weather Sighting Techniques Making a Monocle Chapter 7 Correcting the Sight The Thirteen Errors Correcting for Moon, Venus, and Mars Correcting for Wave Height Chapter 8 Timing the Sight Accurately The Hack Watch Using a Tape Recorder Counting Paces and Stopwatches Attaching Stopwatch to Sextant Chapter 9 Searching for Stars The Necessity for Preplanning Finding Sunrise Using the Rude Star Finder Converting Local Time Using H.O. Pub. No. 249 Making and Using a Wrist Board Chapter 10 Sextants of Tomorrow Is the Sextant Doomed? Coming Developments Appendixes A--Sextant Check Procedures B--Sextant Manufacturers C--Distribution and Dealers D--The Navigator's Basic Tool Kit E--Making and Using an Artificial Horizon F--Table of Interstellar Angles for Practice Sighting and Sextant Testing G--Useful Addresses Bibliography Index
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Rating details

30 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 27% (8)
4 30% (9)
3 40% (12)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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