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    Re: Celestial Navigation on the wane?
    From: Ken Gebhart
    Date: 2007 Jan 15, 20:18 -0600
    Re: [NavList 2011] Re: Celestial Navigation on the wane? OK Frank, lurk inclined as I am, any time someone says that CN is of little interest to people these days, I have to raise my voice.  Now that you have said that CN is of enormous superficial interest, and that the number of people with greater than a casual interest is debatable, I will call it a day and quit while (I think) I am ahead.

    Sincerely, though, I really appreciate your willingness to come forward with your views, and welcome others.
    Ken


    On 1/8/07 7:33 PM, "FrankReedCT---.com" <FrankReedCT---.com> wrote:

    Ken Gebhart wrote:
    "Frank, may I ask on what you base this conclusion?  We (at Celestaire) are
    seeing sextant, nautical almanac, sight reduction tables and CN calculator
    sales all up over previous years. This is the case as reported by our
    dealers in the UK and Australia as well.  At most of the US sailboat shows,
    attendance at CN seminars is much higher than 10 years ago, and is quite
    respectable."
     
    That's certainly very interesting. First, let's not discount the fact that you personally are doing something right. Imagine a grumpy old man sitting in a booth saying to prospective customers, "Yeah, it's a sextant. You're holding upside-down, moron. And no, it doesn't have anything to do with sex. Don't even think about it until you read these three books!" You can imagine that this imaginary sextant merchant would see declining sales. But of course, that's not you. You're a skillful, interesting public speaker, an enthusiastic advocate of the art of navigation, and an all-around nice guy. No flattery intended. As the available options for learning about celestial navigation have dried up in the past twenty years, the remaining business should rather naturally gravitate to you. So that's part of the puzzle.
     
    More generally, I think that there is enormous superficial interest in celestial navigation. Sextants are "cool". They look like they might be really fun to use. If a person could become a celestial navigator in three days or fewer, or better yet three hours, I am sure that the market for the tools would be very large. As it is, many potential students are eager to buy "stuff" but very few indeed get around to trying them out. How many of those boat show sextant sales end up on ebay a few months later? There are used Astra IIIb's on ebay on a regular basis, and the auctions almost always include these phrases: "hardly ever used", "used once", "never used, stored in a closet for ten years". You'll never see phrases like "normal wear from use" or "used on three Atlantic crossings". Those phrases do appear on auctions for old Simex sextants, Tamayas from the 1960s, and so on. And, of course, the great majority of sextants on ebay are purely decorative. But they sell well.
     
    The number of people with a greater than casual interest in the subject is debatable, but I think it's very low.
     
    -FER
    42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N 72.1W.
    www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars





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