Instructors Corner Hugh Blair-Smith

DIY device improves sextant training


By Hugh Blair-Smith

When taking sextant sights on any celestial body, one key measurement to log and feed into the sight reduction calculations is height of eye (HE) above water. On a boat, this measurement is straightforward using a plumb bob and tape measure. However, we commonly teach sextant use at a known location on the beach (or other convenient point on land), so any discrepancy between the student’s observed location and the actual location can be attributed to the quality of the instruments used—the sextant and timepiece—and the student’s skill in using them.

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