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Old 25-10-2010, 16:43   #16
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Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
While I do have a nicer hand bearing compass on board, I also find a basic orienteering compass useful. At $7 each, I can leave one out in the cockpit and not worry about loosing it. It can be used to take bearings, calculate bearings and triangulate. For the money, it's a very useful tool.
I learnt my basic mapping skills orienteering in the Australian bush. The really basic Silva models are not far off this price you mention. As you note they are a good tool to have onboard. As I stated above, it is just nice how you can put them over the map and use them as a tool plotting course. The same navigation tools although much bigger are generally more expensive. Nice thing with the compass is you can lift the compass off the map to see if you are heading in the right direction. (Noting to allow for magnetic deviation).

For taking precise navigational back bearings I am seriously thinking about having a look at one of those Weems & Plath pucks. (for that matter something seriously on my gadget list is one of those Weems & Plath digital barometers). Really, like warps of rope and spare sail needles, what’s the problem with having a few extra compasses on board?
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Old 25-10-2010, 16:57   #17
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Old 25-10-2010, 17:05   #18
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Compasses, I love 'em. I carry an orienteering type in my pocket. On board in addition to the two binnacle and one compass for the autopilot I have a hand held with a pistol grip. I don't know the make but I find it great for taking bearings. The grip makes sightings easy.

New Zealander David Lewis reports that polynesian mariners in times before magnetic compasses would navigate by testicals. Even when the sea was confused they were able to determine the direction of the swell and by knowing prevailing swell directions could navigate by that. The testicals are sensitive to swell when properly trained and employed. This tidbit is brought to you via a marvelous book "Passage to Juneau" by Jonathon Rabin.
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Old 25-10-2010, 17:12   #19
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Hand bearing compass ? another unnecessary cost . Just sight over your binnacle, or if you have a bulkhead mount alter course for a few secs. and put bow of boat on object and you will obtain a more accurate bearing than any hand held jobbie. Am I missing something?
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Old 25-10-2010, 17:41   #20
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We use Plastimo puck type. One for here, the other for the S hemisphere.

You put it in the light for 10 seconds and can take bearings at night - no battery required.

Good stuff.

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Old 25-10-2010, 19:46   #21
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Mine is blue. But I do like it. My old Morin is my favourite, but I can no longer use it at night as the tritium cell has died and is not replaceable.

I have some binoculars with a built in compass, but I find the hand bearing compass settles down more quickly.
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Old 25-10-2010, 21:39   #22
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I also like the Plastimo Iris "hockey-puck" compass. I use it to confirm bearings to landmarks, and to monitor other vessels when in a crossing situation. I will occasionally sight across the binnacle compass, but find that I get better resolution with the handheld. I can also move around as needed to take a bearing where I would have a blind spot with the binnacle compass. I'm not too interested in tacking or jibing just to be able to take a bearing with the binnacle compass.

My binocs with the built-in compass are great too, but most of the time I reach for the hockey-puck.
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