Introducing the Sextant

Sextant 001This is a course intended for students interested in the sextant and how to use it for navigation at sea. Students will need some basic navigation skills such as those from the RYA Day Skipper Course, and be able to plot latitude and longitude and measure bearing and distance on a chart.

Some simple arithmetic and chart work will be used. The course will be partly classroom theory and partly practical sessions on a public beach a short walk away.


The cost of this course which is based at the Sussex Yacht Club Shoreham club house is £100 for SYC members and £125 for non-members.

Course dates and times

Sunday 22nd May 2022     09.00 - 17.00 

Materials & Equipment

You will need to bring a sextant to use on the day (or a friend who will let you share theirs!) A simple training sextant will be perfectly suitable. You will also need the usual notepad and (2B grade) pencils, your favourite chart plotting instruments and ideally a chart of the eastern English Channel (Sussex coast area). If you have almanacs, tables and books then please bring them to compare and discuss. A packed lunch may be convenient.


The sextant: how it works, how to check for errors and how to use it to measure angles.

  • Measured angles for coastal navigation.
  • Terrestrial and celestial objects.
  • The nautical almanac and sight reduction tables (AP3270)
  • How to prepare a "sight" and work out a position line.

By the end students should be able to check a sextant for errors, make various measurements and use the results to determine a position line at sea. After the course some students may go on to the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean course, or continue self-study to practice and better understand the sextant.


Back to the RYA Yacht Training Homepage where you can also find out how to book ››