Preview: Early Navigation Instruments, by Jim Sharp at the Sail, Power & Steam Museum

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Schoonerman Captain Jim Sharp takes us on a tour of early navigation instruments through the ages he has collected at his Sail, Power and Steam Museum. Ever wonder how a cross staff, astrolabe, or latitude hook works? Well, here’s your chance to find out about the early navigation instruments that preceded the modern sextant and more.

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21 Responses So Far to “Early Navigation Instruments, by Jim Sharp at the Sail, Power & Steam Museum

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    Robert Mather Jr. says:

    I had the honor to sail on the Adventure in 1986 on my honeymoon with Captain Sharp. With my luck it was rain and fog for 5 days, on the 6th day it was the perfect day for sailing. Captain Sharpe got the Adventure up on her heels and showed us what she was made of. What impressed me the most was his wonderful sense of humor, his storytelling skills and a lifetime of knowledge which he so generously shares. I need to get myself down to Rockland.

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    Frederick Schoenberger says:

    Jim was a frequent speaker at my yacht club in Stuart, FL (Circle Bay Yacht & Sailing Club).
    He is one of the best tale tellers around and can also perform sea chanties at the drop of a hat!

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    Richard Whiting says:

    Wow, I have visited Jim Sharp’s museum in Rockland and found it fascinating. I actually met Capt. Jim that day and what a delight. I had just finished a passage from the northern stretch of Newfoundland to Rockland. We had a good gam.
    Thank you for such insightful videos. Living now on the west coast, my heart is still back there in Maine. Long live celestial navigation. When the lights go out, be prepared.
    Capt. Rick

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    James Noonan says:

    I’ve been a member for 3 years now and still find this to be a novel and informative site.
    Love it! Question — where is “chart navigation part 3” — can’t find it.

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Thanks James. We’re still having (a lot of) fun doing it. Navigation Part 3 is in the editing cue, and should be out in the next few weeks.

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    Dean Wilson says:

    Thankyou Jim for your knowledge and enthusiasm.

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    Keith Pullin says:

    Being an Englishman I’m very proud of Mr Harrison, but not so proud of the Admiralty.

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    Sanders Brot says:

    The museum’s value is easily seen with Captain Sharps wonderful explanations. Thank you for capturing some of his understanding and his skill at sharing it.

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    Donald Jones says:

    The Grasshopper Escapement is right up there with the invention of fire and the wheel.

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    Stephen McClure says:

    I remember standing on a pier in Road Town, BVI decades ago, wondering if my self-taught celestial skills were adequate to safely find Gibbs Hill Light. This video would have been a wonderful primer for Mary Blewitt’s 1967 edition.

    Very nicely done. Thanks to Captain Sharp for the museum and for adding another must see location in Rockland.

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    George Johnson says:

    The knowledge and Lore of Captain Sharp is AWESOME!!!… I would LOVE to visit his museum one day. I’ve owned sextants, but I never did master them.
    Geo. Johnson…Houston

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    Greg Mactye says:


    The fellow who ran it passed on a few years back, but there used to be a Lighthouse museum in – I believe – Rockland ME as well. That was a neat place and (I believe) would make a dandy video as well.


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      Lawrence Baum says:

      Greg, you are correct. His name was Ken Black. He created the Lighthouse museum many years ago while he was the CO of the Rockland Coast Guard Station. It’s downtown now. When the Coast Guard was automating all the light stations he found that they were throwing out pieces of history and collected items from the lights that he could preserve. Over the years he collected enough stuff to display almost every piece of equipment that was used aboard these lights. He was a good friend for many years. I was one of the last Coast Guard light keepers in Maine. And, yes, the Lighthouse Museum and some of the lights would make great video

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    Bob Burk says:

    Thanks. Didn’t know the history. Great explanations. Would love more on navigation.


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