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    Re: Back In Hobby: Some Questions, Please
    From: Robert Eno
    Date: 2007 Apr 25, 15:54 -0400

    Bob wrote:
    > a.  Are full sized frame, metal, sextants still being manufactured
    > anywhere ?
    > b.  If so, by whom, please ?
    Robert responds:
    Yes. Cassens and Plath (German) Tamaya (Japanese) Astra (Chinese/American); Frieberger (East German);
    This is not the complete list; only the ones that I can think of off the top of my head.
    Bob wrote:
    > c.  Irrespective of price, which are acknowledged as the "best" in
    > quality now ?
    Robert responds:
    A subjective question. I own a C.Plath. They are acknowledged to be the finest 
    sextant ever made. I wouldn't part with mine for any price. Unfortunately, 
    the company has long sinced ceased to exist. The late Frank Janicek, a 
    sextant repairman and expert navigator, considered Cassens and Plath to be 
    just as good as C.Plath and easier to repair.
    Used C.Plaths can be purchased second-hand and are usually in excellent 
    condition. I purchased mine from Robert E. White out of Boston MA. They are a 
    long time dealer and a reputable firm. You can purchase used sextants from 
    them with complete confidence.
    Since Ken Gebhart (Celestaire) partnered up with the Chinese firm that 
    manufactures the Astra, I am told that these sextants have come a long way 
    and are considered by many to be an excellent buy. I cannot comment directly 
    on them as I have never used one, however, Ken is a reputable guy who has 
    been in the business for a very long time. Like Robert E. White, you can buy 
    with confidence. Last I checked, Ken also carries Cassens and Plath sextants.
    Bob wrote:
    > Guess I should probably get myself a new copy of Bowditch.
    > Looking thru Google, it seems the Gov't does not print it anymore,
    > although, apparently it is available from some private publisher(s).
    > I now have the single blue covered 1962 single volume edition with the
    > really nice plastic star insert pages.  I guess they don't do it like
    > this anymore.
    Robert responds:
    I own 3 copies. You need not look any further. As an avid navigation 
    bibliophile, it is my humble opinion that the 1966 reprint of the 1962 
    edition of Bowditch is the best they ever published. My Bowditch collection 
    extends from the 1930's up until the two-volume 1984 edition. If I could only 
    have one, it would be the 1966 reprint. And yes, you are correct: they don't 
    do the nice star charts with the acetate overlay.
    Bob wrote:
    > All in all, confusing, as to what's available, and from who.
    > Where would you folks suggest I go to purchase the most complete, best
    > printed, and clearest, volume ?
    > Guess I should also ask which on line source is the most complete for
    > navigation related texts, etc. (other than Amazon) ?
    Robert responds:
    Starpath and Celestaire come to mind. Both reputable, both very knowlegable 
    and both staffed by affable and helpful people. The Nautical Mind out of 
    Vancouver BC also carries a large stock of nautical/navigation pubs.
    Your other option is to go second hand to www.bookfinder.com
    If you cannot find it there, it doesn't exist.
    Hope this is of some help. Welcome to the cult....'er....fold.
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