Sextant - a young mans daring sea voyage and the men who mapped the worlds oceans
by Barre, David
pub. by William Morrow - Harper Collins, NY. 1983       isbn 978-0062279347 - - Maps. Atlantic and Pacific - - some diagrams - - black and white photos between p. 232 and 233 - - Notes p. 293-308 - - Glossary p. 309-312 Bibliography p. 313-317- - Illustrations credits p. 319-320 - - Index p. 321-340 - - 340 p. total
Barre wrote this book as the story of his sailing trans-Atlantic as a young man on a family friends 35 ft. sloop Saecwewn. The story is begun straightforwardly with his flying from his home in England to Falmouth, Maine, USA and with the owner Colin MMcMullen (retired from the Royal Navy) and a Colins cousin Alexa.
They sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia and began the trans-Atlantic trip from there. The first few days were foggy. They began using celestial navigation on the third day, which is about the time they crossed from the Labrador current to the Gulf Stream. The first sights were translated to navigation by the Zenith distance method (Meridian Altitude.) The next chapter covered the origins of the Sextant including precursor instruments.
Chapter 4 begins the cycle in the book where it begins with a few paragraphs describing navigation and conditions of the Atlantic drossing, followed by the body of the chapter about a major feat of navigation and/or exploration. In this chapter Barre explores Blighs boat journey after the mutiny on the Bounty.
Chapter 5 had several pages on their condition and Ansons squadron circumnavigation in 1740.
Chapters 6 and 7 share information on the Marine Chronometer and Celestial timekeeping.
Chapter 8 is about Captain Cook mostly in the Pacific for the English.
Chapter 9 is about Bouganville charting the Pacific for the French.
Chapter 9 is about the sail by La Perouse in the La Boussole and the Astrolabe . The expedition left France in 1785 and sailed the Pacific including North around from West to East including Alaska, then across the middle of the Pacific to the Mariana Islands which were reached December 1786. In January 1788 sailed to Botany Bay.Hhe met with a British ship and sent a batch of papers home on that vessel. Then headed off to determine the exact location of the SOlomon Islands.... and disappeared forever.
Chapter 11 - George Vancouver mapped around the island which is named for him in the Pacific coast of Canada, as well as Hawaii.
Chapter 12 Matthew Flinders maps coastal Australia.
Chapter 13 Flinders is imprisoned by the French on Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean.
Chapter 14 The Beagle under Stokes and later FitzRoy surveys the southern part of S. America
Chapter 15 Joshua Slocum sails the Spray around the world. Longitude by Lunars only. The Sumner Line is discovered in 1837 by Capt. Thomas Sumner and a new type of celestial navigation is perfected by Marcq St. Hilaire. The method was published in 1875. This is the style of celestial navigation that is most often practiced today.
chapter 16 Ernest Shackleton and Capt Frank Worsley sail from Elephant Island (SE of the southern tip of S. America near Antarctica) to South Georgia Island in a very small boat through incredibly dangerous seas to rescue his expedition. - Some discussion of Polynesian navigation.
Chapter 18 Landfall of Saecwen in Falmouth, England. - A much later trip from England to the Azores.
Epilogue - Electronic navigation - GPS USA - GLOONASS Russia - TRANSIT (early version of GPS) - LORAN - ECDIS (electronic chart display) - A warning not to totally depend on electronic navigation as it risks humans becomming less situationally aware.

This readers note -
The Sextant is a very fine instrument for measuring angles. With exception of measuring the altitude of the star Polaris (North Star), it is of limited use unless one also has tables showing the positions of the sun, stars, planets and/or moon for the comparisions needed to do actual position finding.

~ 2016-12-21 ~

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