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Old 17-09-2008, 13:43   #1
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Can you carry-on a binnacle compass on an airplane these days?

Ahoy, All;

Since my last trip down to Trini I've gotten my ancient Barking and London binnacle compass completely rehabbed by Steve Colt in Florida (he did a fabulous job, I recommend him highly: compassfix@islandcompass.com), and I've just booked my flights down for December.

I brought the compass home last year in my checked luggage; the TSA had to have a good look at it, but passed it...thing is, the alcohol was drained from the bezel at that point. Now, she's all pretty, shiny, carefully balanced and chock full o' fluid...am I going to be able to carry it on going back down? Or will the "liquid and gels" restriction bite me in the tuckus?

I sure don't trust the baggage apes with this one, even wrapped in an acre of bubble wrap.

Anybody carry-on a compass lately?

Geoff
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Old 17-09-2008, 13:48   #2
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I'd ship it down in advance of your arrival. TSA doesn't know it's own rules.
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Old 17-09-2008, 13:51   #3
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In the past two years I carried on a complete set of stays for a Velux race boat (Newark to Rome).

I carried two winches in a backpack, Seattle to Norfolk Va
I carried various hardware, toggles and such, Seattle to Norfolk
I carried an Interphase display and Yanmar engine console.

All of these items were swabbed and returned to me. Hardly any questions asked. In Newark the TSA did go look for a sailor on the staff who confirmed the stays were what I claimed they were.

I am guessing a compass isn't going to be an issue.
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Old 17-09-2008, 14:09   #4
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Depends on if you feel lucky. I recently wanted to bring a tube of specialized silicone with me to Hawaii cus I can't get it out here. Since I picked it up at the last minute, just threw it in the carryon - and they would'nt let me take it. Had to go back to the checkin counter and check it, and it cost another $25 since they called it a second checked bag. That wound up being one expensive tube of silicone. Thing is, i had carried four tubes of the same stuff in carry-on jus 6 months ago. Not to mention that probably half the women on that plane were carrying silicone .
I would not risk the compass, once you are at the airport you have no more options. Remember the TSA is not there for security, its there to create an image - reality is irrelevant...
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Old 17-09-2008, 14:31   #5
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Once they look at it and see liquid - you are done. Ship it 3 Day UPS packed well and it will make is safer. With 3 day service it never sits around long enough any place to get lost plus they track it.
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Old 17-09-2008, 14:35   #6
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I would not risk the compass, once you are at the airport you have no more options. Remember the TSA is not there for security, its there to create an image - reality is irrelevant...
Sadly, Thermal is correct. They will not allow the liquid, assuming they find it. (They flunk every time they are tested on finding guns, knives, and bomb components, but you can't count on that.) Worse, if you check it and that TSA staff sailor from Newark is doing checked baggage that day, you may very well lose the compass entirely.

I'd go with Funsail and ship it in advance. That acre of bubble wrap should just about do it. Good luck.
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Old 17-09-2008, 19:35   #7
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Hm, the ship-aheads are outvoting the give-it-a-shots by 4 to 1... Sigh, shipping to Trinidad is a supreme headache. Expensive (I'm looking at over $100 to air-ship this compass), and frought with complications, delays and extra fees at Trini customs. I've shipped things down 10-11 times over the last six years, and it never fails, there's always some crazy BS involved. Prime example: I shipped an Engel freezer down last year, and Tropical Shipping hadn't checked some box that caused a six-month delay, the hiring of an "agent" and, get this...storage fees! Ended up costing me an extra $300 to get it the last half-mile. Hence my desire to "self-ship" as much as I possibly can when I go down. If anybody has any success stories or methods for shipping reliably and inexpensively to Trini, please let me know!
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Old 17-09-2008, 19:43   #8
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In my experience with the TSA, they are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Because of this, there may be problems because as it has already been stated, one hand does not know what the other is doing with them.

I would ship it Fed-Ex, insured, well packaged and well in advance.
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Old 18-09-2008, 12:44   #9
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Ahoy, All;

I sure don't trust the baggage apes with this one, even wrapped in an acre of bubble wrap.

Geoff
If shipping to trini is such a problem, then your best bet is to get a big duffel bag and use TWO acres of bubblewrap, even if you gotta pay for an extra bag. Fedex etc. also hire baggage apes. Insurance would soften the blows, but you would still be without a compass if they broke it.
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Old 25-02-2009, 01:54   #10
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So Geoff did you ship or take?

I have a 44 yr old sailboat that came with a Kelvin and White compass..
I drove it home to florida from maryland to store..and then flew back with it..
Called TSA at Tampa International and showed up early with a kid in tow who could take it and ship it if she had to... The captain happened to be a sailor.. he carried it in the cockpit for me and presented it to me when I was getting off th plane.

The photo below is one I took the first day I saw the boat when she was still rather messy.. it is about 18 inches high.. has its own shelf in the forward end of the cockpit..for cache it is awesome its a pia otherwise.
I want to have it rechromed but I am fearful of something happening to it. it is in perfect shape..even the light works.
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Old 25-02-2009, 07:44   #11
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I ended up packing it in boocoo squishy and crossing fingers, eyes and toes. It arrived unscathed, though I saw evidence that TSA in either DTW or MIA did have to have a peek at it. I enclosed a photo of the compass just under the easiest tape flap, and wrote "Sailboat Binnacle Compass" and its make/model on the photo; perhaps that kept them from having to go further than the top flap, who knows.

Your compass is very cool! Well worth refurbishing. Shoot an email and the photo to Steve Colt (compassfix@islandcompass.com) and he'll give you a ballpark.
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Old 25-02-2009, 10:28   #12
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So Diva is still in refit mode? 6 yrs later.. poor guy.. she is lovely.. is there an end in the future to her refit and your cruising off into the sunset?
Did you ever find those eye shaped ports you were hunting back years ago?
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Old 25-02-2009, 11:35   #13
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Nope, didn't find the ovals, went with NFM rectangles.

I'm just one lottery ticket away from sailing off into the sunset...!
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Old 25-02-2009, 11:50   #14
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I'm just one lottery ticket away from sailing off into the sunset...!
Aren't we all hun, aren't we all...

btw.. look at Belize as a retirement place.. great incentives..
and the 2nd largest coral reef in the world.. great diving..
am working on the process right now. to get my
"qualfied retirement person" visa.
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