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Usage conditions apply
Ebbco began making inexpensive plastic sextants for emergency or educational use in the 1960s. In this example, the arc is graduated every degree from -10° to 120° and read by micrometer with vernier to 12 seconds. The inscription reads "Ebbco" and "EAST BERKS BOAT CO., ENGLAND."
Ref: J. P. G. Weatherlake, The Ebbco Sextant. Its Use, Care and Adjustment (n.p., n.d.).
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1965
East Berks Boat Co.
place made
United Kingdom: England, Berkshire
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
overall: 3 1/2 in x 9 in x 9 3/4 in; 8.89 cm x 22.86 cm x 24.765 cm
overall: 4 in x 10 in x 6 in; 10.16 cm x 25.4 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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My friend and sailing partner Lad Lavicka and I purchased this sextant in Lymington, England in 1973 in preparation for a trans-Atlantic sail aboard the 33' gaff-rigged yawl, Sea Harmony. Sea Harmony was designed by Albert Strange after whom an association honoring his art and yacht design has been formed. We used this Ebbco to navigate from England to France, Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, and eventually to Barbados where we made landfall in June 1974. This instrument served us well.
My father was one of the best Navy Officers the Chilean Navy ever had and he always liked to use his own stuff like parallel ruler, pocket barometer, hand held distance meter (never seen it anywhere), etc. When I went into the Navy (even when scientific calculators were in full use) he gave me a slide ruler and said to me "Son, here you are. This thing will never be needing battery replacement or else. It will always work". I learned my lesson. Along my merchant career (A.B, 3rd Mate, 2nd Mate, Chief Mate and Captain of some ships) I was always able to find my exact position on Earth because I always thought "what if...". Well..., working in a Spanish fishing boat in the middle of the South Pacific we lost all the electronics and luckily, I was the only one able to calibrate the errors and use that very nice german sextant. Moral of the story... "We need to go back to the basics because electronics DO FAIL".That's why when I got to navigate around the world I always wanted my very own Ebbco sextant but those ship chandlers never complied with my request. Now here I am without my Ebbco sextant and at the same time very willing to teach celestial navigation.

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