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    Re: Captain Cook & celestial navigation
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe
    Date: 2020 Jan 29, 23:44 -0800

    David Pike wrote:

    " Has any reader ever bought an example out of curiosity to see if it was anywhere near useable in a very rough and ready sort of way?"

    I did try one once.

    It was about 20 years ago and I was at the national shooting matches at Bisley, England. I had my bubble sextant with me (as one does) and the prototype of my Long Term Almanac which I was testing for usability. A friend of mine remarked that Fultons, the resident gunshop on Bisley Common, had a piece-of-shit Indian rip-off sextant in the window at an outrageous price. Was it any good? I asked him to go and borrow it and we would find out - which he did. 

    The sextant was pretty much identical the the piece-of-shit Indian rip-off pictured in the Sky and Telescope article. It was a nice, sunny day and on checking out the index error, I was immediately surprised that the shades were good enough for the observed image(s) of the sun to be clear and comfortable to look at. I set up a pale of water as an artificial horizon and took some sights. The scale on the arc left a lot to be desired and there was no vernier, but I estimated the angle as best I could and recall my observed altitude was about 12 minutes off from where it should have been.

    I have to admit, my respect for that piece-of-shit Indian rip-off sextant was higher after I finished using it than before. Did I buy it? No! The price was outrageous and I could have bought a 'real' sextant for what Fultons wanted for it! But my impression was that for a piece of junk, it was verging on useful!

    Geoffrey Kolbe

       
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