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    Sextant use
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2002 Jun 13, 13:22 +1000

    At first sight I thought I had no useful information to offer (and that
    may still be the case) but can add to the sort of comments recently
    received.
    
    Australia has a population of about 18 million, Sydney the biggest city
    about 4 million. In Sydney curently I am aware of only 2 classes
    teaching celestial navigation, of the only one I have personal knowledge
    of it struggles to remain viable, with class sizes you can count on the
    fingers of one hand. Try to keep in contact with as many classmates as
    possible, invite them to join us making observations (even those I don't
    know personally) and would estimate that a figure of 10% remaining
    interested and regularly using a sextant would probably be wildly
    optimistic. There are very few retail outlets selling sextants, they
    typically may have one on offer.
    
    As far as I know Celestaire seems to be the largest and most active
    company selling sextants and associated materials. Presumably they would
    know how many they sell, now and in the past, but might prefer keeping
    such figures to themselves. And that doesn't tell us how many users
    there are with machines that could have virtually any age. I imagine
    some people collect or keep them for other reasons than practical ones,
    just as some people collect expensive camera equipment simply because
    they appreciate fine instrumentation.
    
    Actually I know this is the case. There is a shop here, in the tourist
    trap, which specializes in old stuff with a marine flavour, presumably
    for decoration. They have some lovely old sextants there in woeful
    condition.
    
    
    

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