The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Sextant Theory & Practice

Brent Alley

NADEN Wardroom, CFB Esquimalt 3300 Wishart Rd. Esquimalt

08 Jun 2024 0900h-1430h  

Members $75.00 / Non-Members $90.00

Brent Alley - VI Education Watch Keeper

The Vancouver Island Chapter is pleased to offer this one day, in-person course instructed by Scott Crawshaw.  Knowledge of the theory and use of the sextant provides an excellent foundation skill for all offshore sailors and can provide a trustworthy navigation tool when modern systems fail for whatever reason.

Do you have a sextant but don’t know how to use it?  Do you know want to know what MERPASS is? Do you want to learn more about Celestial Navigation?  Would you like to have a back-up navigation system you can use if your GPS stops working?  Then this is the course for you.

Course Format

The course is planned to provide education on the basic theory of Celestial Navigation and go over the parts of a sextant in a morning session, using a PPT presentation and a real live sextant, followed by a practical session at Saxe Point in the early afternoon.  MERPASS is at 13:10 and so we want to be down at Saxe Point no later than 12:30 to allow people to play with their sextants before apparent noon.

Everyone will need to bring a sextant.  Although you can do the theory part without one, the practical part requires a sextant.  We will have a limited number of “borrowed” sextants available from members not taking the course, but to get the most out of the course, it is best to practice with the sextant you plan on using.


Scott Crawshaw has sailed for over 40 years and has over 50,000 miles of ocean experience.  This includes skippering the Royal Canadian Navy’s Tall Ship, HMCS Oriole and four years of offshore sailing with his family aboard the sailing vessel Peregrinata.  His qualifications include a Transport Canada Master Mariner, unlimited tonnage; a Navy Surface Command Qualification, unlimited tonnage; an ISPA Instructor qualification and is a CYA Yachtmaster and a CRYA Ocean Yachtmaster Instructor.

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