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Plath Navistar Classic Sextant U.S. Master's Two Scopes 5 Stars

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Plath Navistar Classic Sextant U.S. Master's Two Scopes 5 Stars

This Fine Instrument Has Been Sold. Thank you!

C. PLATH NAVISTAR CLASSIC SEXTANT TWO SCOPES
U.S. Unlimited Master's - 5 plus STARS

Plath sextant with 4 x 40 scope mounted image
 

 

We are the premier source for all versions of the Plath Navistar premium sextants and have sold more than any other dealer in the world! The pictures in this presentation are all of the actual instrument.
 

Presented

is a C. Plath Navistar Classic sextant, Serial No.62542, with undated matching certificate. The certificate for the accompanying Plath 6 x 30 Sun scope is dated 12/21/83. Both were purchased at  George Butler's in San Francisco, by the young third mate who was to use this instrument thought his 33 year U.S. Merchant Marine career. He felt that the customary hardwood case was not suitable for a life at sea, so he substituted a Pelican style phenolic case with foam liner.
The former owner, now a retired, U.S. Merchant Marine Unlimited Master, says "this sextant has navigated all over the world and that the Navistar Classic is hard to beat when taking sights in a gale, and that it's quality is unmatched by other makes".  Remarkably, we were impressed on inspecting it and taking some practice sights, that even with all it's sea time, the sextant and both scopes are in excellent, "Like New" condition.
 
Back in the early days of satellite navigation, there were only six satellites in space so the fix interval could be quite long, averaging 12-14 hours between them. This system was called SatNav and was the predecessor to GPS. When its use was opened to commercial shipping in the early 1980's, the most economical and useful receiver was made by Magnavox. It was called the MX 4102. It was widely accepted and his ship had one. He writes about one experience.             

A NAVIGATOR'S STORY:

"In 1984, I was sailing as second mate on a loaded tanker sailing from Cristobal, Panama to Houston, TX.  SATNAV units were just becoming available on commercial ships.  We had a Magnavox 4102 unit, that unlike today, would only occasionally get a fix.  Sometimes it would be 12 hours or more before a fix. That fix was of dubious quality due to the few number of satellites used to determine position, so the fix was always plotted with suspicion.

When navigating outside of pilotage waters, we used  dead reckoning, celestial sights, fathometer soundings as well as electronic navigation.  In the 1980's that included Loran-C and RDF.  Loran-C was good, but in many areas, the coverage was of not so great. One such area was in the Caribbean, east of Nicaragua.  This area of full of shoals with such names as Misteriosa Bank, Rosalind Bank and Thunder Knoll.  The Captain would always be on the bridge well before entering this area to ensure that our position was accurate. Besides spotty LORAN coverage, this area has very strong currents with extensive shoal areas where the ship could run aground.  That being the case, prior to entering these  waters, anxiety about an accurate position was always high. Our main concern was to have an accurate position entering the channel east of Gorda Bank, which would take us up past Thunder Knoll.

 

I was able to get a very good AM star position the morning we would be entering shoal waters.  The star scope on the C-Plath is tough to beat and I really felt good about our position. I plotted our position with a somewhat anxious Captain looking over my shoulder. The LORAN unit was acting up so we did not feel great about its accuracy.  The MX 4102 was "still cooking", our term to mean it was waiting to get a fix.  

The Captain, being of WW 2 vintage and being of what today would be called  "old school", knew a good celestial sight was tough to beat and had faith that our position was correct.  He obviously would have liked the verification from the electronic navigation, but celestial and dead reckoning was the best we had.Venus was available for sights during the morning daylight hours.  I was able to get accurate positions using a LOP of Venus with an LOP of the sun.  We felt good about our position and our faith in position was reinforced when the soundings from the fathometer were spot on. So the decision was made to continue on our present course.

As one always does when navigating, you always want a double check.  Another mate was using the ships sextant, but due to the blustery and cloudy conditions, he was having a few issues and was not "feeling good" about his sights.  The C-Plath has a great star scope which made Venus show up great during the day and being of heavy brass, wind is normally not much of an issue with getting a decent sight. I was no better at celestial than the other mate, but I did have the right sextant and I have no doubt, this is the best sextant ever made. 

The 4102 finally did give us a fix about 20 hours after we needed it.  The LORAN unit started working correctly just after we entered deep water again. The Captain ordered a C-Plath Classic to replace the ship's sextant.

I know when sailing  today, GPS is thought of as bomb proof.  I must admit, its easy to be lulled in that the perception its never wrong.  Ships lose power, batteries die, GPS units malfunction, but a good sextant will never let you down."

Even with that background, there are no visual cues that this sextant was used at sea in sometimes rough conditions because it was maintained by a trained professional who valued his instrument as he valued his ship, and crew. For example, both its index and horizon mirror are unblemished and everything else is in like new condition making it an outstanding example of a sought after Navistar Classic.

 

Sextant
                                    with 6x30 sun scope mounted image
back of sextant with 4x40 scope mounted image

Top: Sextant with the 6 x 30 Sun scope mounted. Bottom: Back of sextant with 4 x 40 scope mounted.





Some of the ships served in. From top to bottom. Florence, Liberty Star, Cape Orlando, Maersk Nevada, Cape Vincent. The grey hulls were Military Sea Transport ships.  

WHAT IS A NAVISTAR CLASSIC: There are some sellers, either through ignorance or on purpose, call some Plath sextants by this name or claim they were made to the same standards or were the predecessor of this instrument.

Don't confuse this model with the similarly named Navistar Professional which. in our opinion is the worst sextant made by Plath or the Navistar Traditional which was made shortly before sextant production ended. That instrument has an error up to 20 arc seconds.

You can identify the Navistar Classic by these clues:

1. It has a special micrometer drum
2. The Navistar brand imprint on the arc.
3. The vernier has six indents and reads to 10 seconds of arc.
4. Comes with a fine wood case with a green absorbent liner as standard 
5. And originally came with an instruction booklet, and Plath's
certification with matching numbers.

For the seven year period from 1978 through 1985, only 1693 Navistar Classics were made. That is only 211 per year to satisfy worldwide demand.

Crystal clear horizon mirror image
Crystal clear horizon mirror 
Like new index mirror image


























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Perfect index mirror

Vernier and Navistar Classic imprint image

Vernier, working light and Navistar imprint and SN

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                               original manual

Original manual and 2 certificates of accuracy

STAR RANKING: Taking the non-standard case into account, we still classify this instrument and it scopes to be in except exceptional condition and worthy of a 5 Stars Plus ranking.

This is the 22nd Navistar we've offered. In our opinion, they are the finest of the contemporary sextants. They will be equally desirable at sea or in a collection of only the best, and should only appreciate in value.

The Navistar Classic was the top of the Plath line and was made in limited quantities, and was manufactured with a guaranteed non-adjustable instrument error of 10 arc seconds or less. It sold for a premium over all its other sextants. For example, almost 30 years ago, they sold for over $1000.00, and as recently as 2001, the price had risen to $4000.00.

Closed
Open case with sextant and accessories image
Top. Picture of closed Pelican style case. Bottom. The open case with the sextant and all accessories
This C. Plath Navistar Classic requires someone who can appreciate the fine points of a sextant, and is willing to pay an appropriate price for this level of quality and excellence. It is suitable for a collector or for use at sea.
OUR QUALIFICATIONS: We are one of the few company's still selling navigation instruments   that know anything about them. For purposes of judging whether Joel's opinion counts, he was the editor of the chapter on sextants of the 1977 Edition of "Bowditch", The American Practical Navigator, NAVPUB 9; a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Navigation Symposium, 1975 -1978; the author of a book on marine sextants, Cornell Maritime Press,1975, and the founding president of Nautech Maritime Corporation which partnered with Tamaya of Japan in the introduction of the MS 733 Spica, the MS 833, Jupiter, MS 933 Venus sextants and the famous NC-2 navigation computer, in the U.S. market. Joel is a retired Master Upon Oceans, and held a U.S. Navy "D" Qualification as a Senior Skipper - Oceans. For six years he was a Varsity Offshore Sailing Team Coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. Some of his memberships have included the: Association of Naval Aviation, Silver Wings, The Tailhook Association, Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, McCampbell's Aces Squadron, Naval Historical Foundation, and the Naval Order of the United States.

C. PLATH COMPANY HISTORY: In brief, Carl Plath started manufacturing sextants, in addition to other nautical products, in Hamburg Germany in 1862 though the purchase of the David Filby instrument company though the company's origin dates back to 1837. As a result WW II, C.Plath was dismantled completely by the occupation forces. Around 1950, various prohibitions were lifted, and C. Plath was allowed to begin production again of sextants and other nautical instruments. Also in 1949,C.Plath was offered a gyrocompass patent and in 1951 the first gyrocompass designed to this patent was presented to the public. C.Plath progressed from the role of instrument maker to that of a modern marine navigation equipment manufacturer. In the following years the product range was expanded by many more modern designs such as autopilots, speed logs, radio direction finders, etc.

In 1962 C.Plath was acquired by Litton Industries, a large American concern.The C.Plath North American Division was set up in 1978 in College Park near Washington. 1996 saw the introduction of the world's first fiber-optic solid-state gyrocompass by C.Plath. The first ever gyrocompass with no moving parts. Sperry Marine was formed in 1997 with the combination of C.Plath, Decca Marine and Sperry Marine with more organizational changes yet to come. After 163 years, C.Plath changes its name to Sperry Marine in May 2000. In 2001 Sperry Marine becomes part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation. In the 1990's Plath came out with a series of new sextant designs with overlapping designs and confusing names. They seemed to have lost their way. Shortly thereafter, C. Plath quit producing sextants. The parent company has completely liquidated everything including machinery, equipment and spare parts.

C. PLATH NAVISTAR CLASSIC SPECIFICATIONS:

Measuring Range: -5 to 125 degrees
Telescope: 4 x 40 Coated optics
Frame: Bronze with black enamel paint and bronze arc.
Micrometer Drum and Vernier Scale: reads to 10 seconds of arc
Index Mirror: 59 x 44 mm. aluminized on the rear side.
Horizon Mirror: 57mm diameter.
Shades:
4 for index mirror
3 for horizon mirror

Weight sextant: 4.2 lbs with 4 x 40 scope.
Weight case 6 lbs.

INCLUDED ARE:

  • 1 C. Plath Sextant frame
  • 1 4x 40 star scope 
  • 1 6 x 30 sun scope
  • 1 Mirror adjustment tool
  • 1 Phenolic Pelican style case 
  • 1 Plath Navistar manual
  • 1 brush
  • 2 certificate of accuracy
  • 1 brush
  • Original Plath mania
  • Stopwatch

STANDARD FLAT RATE SHIPPING, INSURANCE & PACKING to 48 contiguous States, $40.00

OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are included in this offer if the error is due to our fault.

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.

 

STANDARD FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer, cashier's check, money order, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. Our prices are quoted net to us so that the use of credit cards or PayPal incur extra charges. Terms on overseas sales are different. 

This is the 22nd Navistar Classic or one of its variations that we have offered since 2005. In our opinion, they are the finest of the contemporary sextants. They will be equally desirable at sea or in a collection of only the finest.

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