Sextants in the Clipper Race
When you think of vessels that might serve as platforms for learning celestial navigation, a traditional ship like Oliver Hazard Perry, currently being finished in Rhode Island and the vessel on which ON will teach two week-long offshore navigation and weather cruises next fall, springs to mind. So it's intriguing to hear that the crew of Switzerland, a race boat competing in the Clipper Round the World Race, is learning how to handle a sextant and do sight reductions while at sea. The fleet is motorsailing to Hong Kong for the restart of Leg 9 after that leg was halted on Feb. 25 when three boats experienced forestay failures due to faulty turnbuckles.
According to skipper Vicky Elis, the crew are eager to practice their celestial skills. “Today, out came the sextant and the morning’s watch learnt how to tune and play this precious piece of equipment used for finding the altitude of the sun in the sky.”
Race director Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “It is extremely satisfying and I’m chuffed the Switzerland crew are learning. I want to give the sailors the chance to learn the widest range of skills possible so they are well equipped when they finish the race.”