A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Brad Morris
Date: 2014 Jan 17, 20:00 -0500
Seb's site is interesting. Its obviously the background information to the Chasing Shackleton program. Interestingly, he never mentions Worsley's navigational log. You'd think that might be of interest. It has been posted here on NavList for years. Maybe he can't decode it.
My identification is based upon a tourist photograph of the sextant with the James Caird. It wasn't the best photo but the match was good. The binoculars matched. The frame matched. The star scope matched. Particularly telling was the missing scope (of the companion to the Caird) and its holder. Its a very odd scope. The optics at the far end are twice in diameter that of the near end. The scope stands upright in the box. I've not ever seen one like it (which of course is laughably insufficient evidence) nor its holder.
I won't die on this hill. I believe we are encountering specs-manship. Seb points out the sextant used by Hudson aboard the Endurance (probably true). Then we have another sextant used by Sir Shackleton (probably true. But now that's TWO sextants pointed at by Seb, which one is true). Then we have photographic evidence of Worsley holding 'his' sextant. (Definitely true). We know that Worsley navigated the Caird (absolutely true). We have the sextant that tours with the Caird with statement saying this is "the" sextant (probably true). I think the sextant that tours with the Caird, identified as "the" sextant used, matches mine (trust me, okay? Hahaha).
So we have a bunch of 'true' statements but only one sextant can be the one Worsley used. I cannot understand why Worsley would switch sextants at the juncture of his most critical journey. He could go with the one he was used to. He could take Hudson's sextant or he could use Sir Shackleton's and experience another learning curve. Why?
Seb also points out two sextants, but fails to mention the sextant with the James Caird. Why wouldn't he pick just one. My answer: he suffers from lack of certainty. Everyone wants to have "the" sextant. "Come see the actual sextant blah blah blah". Just like me. I want a match to "the" sextant used by Frank Worsley, especially if its the one used on "the" journey. At a minimum, my sextant matches one that we know he used by photographic evidence. Is it a match the one he used on the Caird. First we have to identify that one!!
Comparing your photo to the on of Worsley holding the sextant, it is still hard to tell if they are the same scopes. However, comparing the relative sizes of the objective lens and the horizon shades, I'd say that it could very well be the same model.
As to whether the flickr photo is Worsley's sextant or not, the photo may be the same as the one at http://www.sebcoulthard.com/navigational-instruments.html. The caption reads "Sextant, pocket chronometer, and pocket watch used by Sir Ernest Shackleton & Frank Worsley during the voyage of the James Caird (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)". It also says
Instruments used by Shackleton & Worsley‘Heath & Co.’ sextant (owned by Lt. Huberht Hudson, navigator onboard Endurance)
aboard the James Caird:
So you be the judge. Is it Hudson's sextant that was used aboard the Endurance, or was it used by Worsley aboard the James Caird? The only place where it says "Shackleton's Sextant and Chronograph" is with the flickr photo, which also omits mention of the watch. The sebcoulthard photo also mentions Worsley, so I suspect the flickr photo only says Shackleton because many more people are familiar with that name than with Worsley.
According to http://www.jamescairdsociety.com/, the Caird is normally preserved and exhibited at Dulwich College, but it has made the rounds. I can't find anything about the sextant being exhibited with it as a rule, even at the Dulwich College site, although when the Caird was at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, "To the stern of the Caird, in a glass case, was the sextant used by Frank Worsley in his incredible navigational feat."
From: Brad Morris <Bradley.R.Morris---.com>
To: slk1000 <slk1000---.com>
Sent: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 3:40 pm
Subject: [NavList] Re: Chasing Shackleton
Hi StanHere is the sextant with the requested star scope mounted. The optics on this create an erect (non-inverting) image. They are, IMHO, spectacular optics.One must be careful with the online image of "Shackleton's Sextant". He was indeed a licensed master and undoubtedly had his own sextant. In my opinion, it would be somewhat ridiculous if Shackleton did not possess a sextant. However, and this is the important distinction, Worsley was the navigator on the expedition, not Shackleton.. So when the display says "Sir Shackleton's Sextant" it is not Worsley's sextant! Worsley's sextant is exhibited with the James Caird.Brad
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