Sextant - Guided by the Stars
In the tradition of Dava Sobel's ‘Longitude’ comes sailing expert David Barrie's compelling and dramatic tale of invention and discovery – an eloquent elegy to one of the most important navigational instruments ever created, and the daring mariners who used it to explore, conquer, and map the world.
This is the story of an instrument that changed the world. In prose as crisp as the book’s subject, David Barrie tells how and why the sextant was invented; how offshore navigators depended on it for their lives in wild and dangerous seas until the advent of GPS – and the sextant’s vital role in the history of exploration. Much of the book is set amidst the waves of the Pacific Ocean as explorers searched for the great southern ocean, charted the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Alaska as well as the Pacific islands. Among the protagonists are Captain James Cook, the great French navigator, La Pérouse, who built on Cook's work in the exploring the Pacific during the 1780s, but never made it home, George Vancouver, Matthew Flinders – the first man to circumnavigate Australia, Robert FitzRoy of the Beagle, Joshua Slocum, the redoubtable old ‘lunarian’ and successful pilot of a small boat across the wild Southern Ocean and Frank Worsley of the Endurance.
Their stories are interwoven with the author’s account of his own transatlantic passage aboard Saecwen in 1973, using the very same navigational tools as Captain Cook, and the book is infused with a sense of wonder and dramatic discovery.
A heady mix of adventure, science, mathematics and derring-do, ‘Sextant’ is a timeless tale of sea-faring and exploration. A love letter to the sea, it is narrative history for star gazers and sailors, for everyone with a love of salty breezes and a sense of adventure. Beautifully produced, ‘Sextant’ offers storytelling at its very best.
Paperback: 368 pages
FREE UK Delivery for orders over £50
Our current holiday season UK standard processing
and fulfillment time is 5-7 working days from the time you placed your order, excluding Custom Prints, online-only telescopes and personalised clothing.
All UK orders (excluding personalised clothing) are sent using a tracked service.
Custom Prints (those which are customised by choosing a size and frame) and personalised clothing take a little longer to fulfill due to being made to order.
Please see our Delivery & Returns page for more information and last order dates.
Online-only telescopes are shipped directly from Celestron. Please place your order before 12 noon on 18th December.
FREE Standard UK delivery for all orders over £50 (Royal Mail)
For all other orders, we offer Standard UK delivery for £4.95 per order (Royal Mail).
We also offer UK FedEx 1-3 Working Days for £9.90. Excludes Custom Prints and Personalised Clothing. Please place your order by 19th December.
International Delivery Information
Delivery rate varies by country and value of order, and starts from as little as £6.95.
Please allow 5-7 working days for standard orders to be dispatched.
Custom Prints (those which are customised by choosing a size and frame) and personalised clothing take a little longer to fulfill due to being made to order. Please see our recommended last order dates for these items on our Delivery & Returns page.
We send using a Royal Mail/FedEx tracked delivery service (excluding personalised products). Please allow 7-10 working days to receive after we have dispatched.
Please see our Delivery & Returns page for all information.
For all returns, please contact us as soon as possible using the contact form, expressing your wish to return. Please wait for confirmation from one of our team before returning.
Custom Prints (those which are customised by choosing a size and frame) and personalised clothing are made to order and therefore we are unable to offer a refund or exchange, unless they are faulty.
Please see our Delivery & Returns page for full information.
Every purchase supports the work of Royal Museums Greenwich
All proceeds from all purchases made on the Royal Museums Greenwich online shop support the work of the museum.
Should you wish to, you can now add a voluntary donation to your order. All donations, big or small, will make a difference.
Thank you for your continued support.