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    Re: ebbco sextant
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2009 Aug 2, 00:34 +0100

    I've been away for a couple of weeks, during which Ken Gebhart wrote-
    | I went to visit John Weatherlake, the inventor of the EBBCO in 1978.
    | I found him in his garage, putting them together.  At the time his
    | address was Wargrave Rd, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon (George, aren't you
    | from Oxon?).  We had a kindly chat about my importing them to the US,
    | which we later did for a few years, until the Davis sextants came
    | out.  The advertising literature of that time listed a 16 page
    | instructional booklet that came with the sextant.  I still have the
    | literature, but not the booklet.  Until a few years ago a French
    | company (either Topoplastic, or Plastimo) was selling the EBBCO under
    | the name of ANTARES.  I will be seeing some of these people in Europe
    | in Nov, and will try to track down the latest on EBBCO.
    This question arose a year or so back, and I tried investigating then. There
    was no longer any ring-tone when trying John Weatherlake's phone number at
    his Wargrave Road address. Various chandlers were still listing this plastic
    sextant, some as the Plastimo "Antares", others (more cheaply) under its
    original name as "EBBCO". But when I tried to discover more about the EBBCO,
    all I received were evasive responses, that the chandler was out of stock,
    the instrument was "temporarily unavailable", "the factory had burned down",
    John Weatherlake, it appears, ran one of the larger stores in Henley, and
    was involved at one time in the production of the local monthly
    town-magazine. That's about all I've been able to discover, but if a more
    serious search is needed, maybe I could help.
    I've owned, in my time, three Ebbco sextants. First was the original Vernier
    model, replaced later by a micrometer type. This, in its time, survived
    several droppings on to the grating of the cockpit, without ill effects,
    until a particularly bad boat-lurch, when, after dropping the Ebbco, I
    lurched too, abd trod on it. That was too much. My present Ebbco then
    replaced it, about 15 years ago.
    My assessment is that the Ebbco sextant is perfectly adequate for the sort
    of altitude work that can be done on a small boat, good to a couple of
    minutes. I've never bothered to calibrate it, but have never found any
    evidence of calibration errors. Some owners have reported deterioration of
    the shades, but mine remain quite usable. They are, perhaps, the weakest
    point, being (apparently) darkened film sandwiched between plastic windows,
    showing a noticeable line where they happen to touch, but without
    ill-effects on an observation. The other difficulty is a lack of rigidity,
    in that you can induce a bit of side-error (which matters little) by
    over-gripping the handle too tightly. I prize it for its cheapness,
    robustness, and particularly its light weight, but would would never
    consider using it for a lunar, which calls for real precision.
    contact George Huxtable, at  george@hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK..
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