Celestial fanatic creates own sextant

Inspired by discussion of alternative sextants in these pages (Issue No. 84, Sept/Oct, 1997), a West Coast navigator rifled through his on-board storage lockers to see what random equipment could be turned into a crude sextant.

The result, a device fashioned from a tiller extension, a pair of calipers, and some exposed 35-mm film, allowed Greg Rudzinski of Oxnard, Calif., to reduce sights of the sun within four miles of his position. He writes:

“I had an opportunity to use the caliper “sextant” from the Pacific shore at 34 deg; 10′ N, 119 deg; 14′ W. Sights were taken of the sun at whole degrees of elevation starting with 6 deg; and finishing with 12 deg;. A Tamaya NC-88 was used for sight reduction. There was a 13.5-mile spread between seven sun observations. By applying a personal error of -11′ of arc and throwing out the high and low observation, a four-mile (plus or minus) accuracy was obtained.”

Those of you intimidated by Rudzinski’s fancy language can sign up for an Ocean Navigator celestial navigation seminar. Contact education director Julie Baxter at 207-772-2466 or by e-mail at education@OceanNavigator.com.

By Ocean Navigator