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    The Zen of Sextant Navigation
    From: Mike Hannibal
    Date: 2005 Oct 15, 08:46 +1000

    This might be better suited to "alt.culture.sextant"
    or somesuch. If it's not really a topic for here I
    apologise.
    
    It seems to me that sextant navigation has an
    aesthetic component to it. That the use of the
    instrument, the feel and look of the instrument and
    the "directness" of sighting on an object and getting
    a position line are part of an aesthetic which
    provides some of the motivation for at least some of
    us to continue to do this.
    
    In photography the closest analogue I can identify is
    with people who use Leica rangefinder cameras. The
    look, feel and functionality of these cameras,
    together with the connection to history and the way
    they dictate picture taking are all part of the reason
    people use them. There's not much difference between
    the first Leica rangefinder in the 20s and a 2005
    model. Not to mention the mystique of these cameras.
    
    Any rational person would probably use something with
    lots of LEDs, LCDs and buttons and batteries. Quite a
    large number of people don't however and they feel
    very passionate about not using such instruments.
    
    The same applies to sextants and GPS units. It's a bit
    hard to feel much for a GPS unit but I'm sure many of
    us feel something for our sextants.
    
    Are sextant navigators also Leica rangefinder users?
    Is there an aesthetic that is part of our attachment
    to this art/craft/science? Are we luddites who insist
    on "Mechanical Perfection" as opposed to "electronic
    mysticism"? Or are we all just pragmatic navigators.
    
    I'd be interested in your responses. And you can no
    doubt see that I have too much time on my hands this
    morning.
    
    Now really to the boat this beautiful morning.
    
    Regards
    
    Mike
    
    
    
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