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Old 19-12-2005, 08:16   #16
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Lensatic Compass

John, I agree with an earlier post about the Old Military Style called a "Lensatic" compass. They are incredible durable and last forever. They maintain their accuracy for ever as well. After 20 years in the military, I function on the acronym of PACE. Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency. I would fit the Lensatic in the contingency catagroy and an orienteering compass in the emergency category. they are small and work well as a back up. best of luck.

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Old 19-12-2005, 19:59   #17
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"Hockey-Puck"

The hockey-puck style, hand bearing compasses with a battery-less light source, prism are the best ones I think. We have a twenty-five year-old unit that works flawlessly.

I'm not sure about the current ones -- West Marine brands a couple, Plastimo makes one, etc.

About a $105 - 120 US.
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Old 05-01-2009, 22:00   #18
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Compass for star bearings

Does anyone have any recommendations for a compass suitable for taking bearings (and vertical angles) to stars as they cross meridian (ie bearings to elevated objects)?

I did find the Brunton pocket transit. Impressive but expensive.
http://www.brunton.com/manuals/curre...es/Transit.pdf

Although I can't quite imagine a situation where I would benefit from knowing my longitude to within one or two hundred miles, it's interesting (to me) to see what you can accomplish with a watch and compass.

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B McG
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Old 05-01-2009, 22:28   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SG View Post
The hockey-puck style, hand bearing compasses with a battery-less light source, prism are the best ones I think. We have a twenty-five year-old unit that works flawlessly.

I'm not sure about the current ones -- West Marine brands a couple, Plastimo makes one, etc.

About a $105 - 120 US.
I have two handbearing compasses. One is a 25 year old Morin (hockey puck) that is great. It settles down quickly and is easy to read. It had tritium illumination which has since "died", making it unusable at night. The other is a Plastimo that looks like something out of Star Trek. It fluoresces after leaving it under a light. Both are great. I have used binoculars with compasses (Nikon, Steiner), bit I still prefer the dedicated hand bearing compass. Those prices are about right.

Jack
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Old 05-01-2009, 22:49   #20
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To finish the holiday shopping, I'd like to pick up a hand bearing compass.

At the boat show last year, I picked up a Suunto model that seemed very good:

Suunto Floating Handbearing Compass

However, I note that it isn't carried by West Marine and a few other major marine vendors. Instead, they have more of the "hockey puck" models. Is there a strong benefit for these instead of the smaller Suunto design? The pucks also seem more expensive.

I've also seen the pistol-grip models, but they seem to less precise in what bearing can be read, and the fore and aft plastic sights look like they could break easily.

Two other options-- binoculars with a built-in compass (starting at $150), or a monocular range finder with compass (which appear to be uncommon).

Thanks!

Jim
I don't think I saw anyone mention it, but the advantage to the hockey puck style over pisto grip with sights, is that the sights are not required. Whatever degree marker that lines up with the object is the bearing.

John
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:54   #21
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Autohelm made a very nice fluxgate handheld compass. Although no longer made, they're still around on eBay, etc. The unit had to be held flat to get an accurate reading; a built-in peep site helps with a) aiming and b) holding the unit flat when taking bearings on the horizon. KVH also makes a handheld fluxgate compass (KVH Datascope) that does some other tricks but, IMHO, the setup process is so tricky it's questionable at sea. At least that's the experience I have with the one I own.

As to pulling down a star for a meridial transit, you've really answered the question there, it's probably going to take a transit or something close to it. Or maybe you can take on building a replica of an antique device (cross staff???) to get the sight and horizontal bearing?
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:35   #22
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I used to have one with a lock. I like using a HB Compass at times, once you get used to some of the things you can do with them. The lock was handy: take a bearing, uh oh, is that freighter changing course?, crap the headsail is flapping, adjust that. now what was that bearing?
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:18   #23
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I used to have one with a lock. I like using a HB Compass at times, once you get used to some of the things you can do with them. The lock was handy: take a bearing, uh oh, is that freighter changing course?, crap the headsail is flapping, adjust that. now what was that bearing?
We keep one on deck.

I, or a crew member, write the bearing down. If we are getting a fix, the bearings must be taken quickly. That involves some pre-planning: are the objects on the chart, are they visible, what are the approx angles between the objects, ideally one is ahead or astern. Those bearings are initially on a note pad and then transfered to the deck log after the fix is on the chart.

If we are taking a bearing to determine if a collision is possible, that bearing also goes into the deck log.

I do have the advantage of sailing with 3 - 6 students. Many hands do make light work.

Jack
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Old 15-10-2009, 23:13   #24
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I've used a weems & plath hand bearing compass for the past 10 years. it's easy to use & read. definitely an upgrade from my old pistol grip. can't believe they're over $120 now.
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Old 15-10-2009, 23:35   #25
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"the old style military hand bearing compass... has a lens system so that you can simultaneously look at a distant object and at the compass dial and both will be in focus. "
Got a pair in a supermarket for 5 each.
Easy, accurate to use, and pop in a pocket.
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Old 16-10-2009, 01:01   #26
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I too use a Silva Ranger compass. I've had it since I was a teenager, and its got me thru about a 1000 miles of bush so I know it works. Its always given me good readings up until now. I tried it out on Sabre Dance last year and the readings were way bizarre. Steel boats n pocket compasses don't work really well together, no way to compensate. I'm going to see about getting a Pelorus for bearing and then use the ships compass for direction. Its been swung and is quite accurate. No more than half a degree according to the compass comp card.


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Old 16-10-2009, 03:17   #27
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SabreKai, I think I may know your boat and in fact briefly considered buying it if it was the beigy Robertson 38 with the sabre motif at the bow that was at Outer Harbour in Toronto for a few years. I'm glad that boat has an owner.

Anyway, I also own a steel boat (it overwintered at OHM in 2007 and is now on the hard at National YC), and I have a compass in my wristwatch, a Suunto model with a barometer that I find most useful. Predictably, the compass didn't work on deck with my wrist at mid-chest level. It "recovered", however, if I held it at chin level, or basically above 5 feet over the deck. So while I don't know your "height of eye", but a hand compass of the Davis type might work if sufficiently elevated.

My issue shortly will be to get a binnacle compass for on deck as nice (if smaller) as my Ritchie Globemaster in the pilothouse, which requires compensators (as I'm sure you are familiar with), but is currently as accurate as any other compass I've seen.
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Old 16-10-2009, 04:35   #28
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i'm using the silva 80 and is just works fine for me. it floats and has a rubber cast so when you drop it it won't get broken plus the rubber cast stops it from moving around.
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Old 16-10-2009, 19:41   #29
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SabreKai, I think I may know your boat and in fact briefly considered buying it if it was the beigy Robertson 38 with the sabre motif at the bow that was at Outer Harbour in Toronto for a few years. I'm glad that boat has an owner.
Yep, thats me. I bought her in December of 2007. Thought I got a decent deal on her but things didn't quite turn out that way. Lost the mainsail furling to a wind storm about 6weeks later, and replaced the foresail gear as well because it was the same vintage and you could hear the bearings grinding in the drum. No thanks. Anyway, shes what I always wanted, so I can live with her problems and just bodge along fixing them. I'll be retiring on her soon enough.

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Old 16-10-2009, 22:22   #30
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We accidently chcuked the hand bearing compass overboat the night before we came through Singapore Straits!

The other thing the Singapore Straits had was a lot of discussion: Gimee the Binoculars! NO I'M STILL USING THEM! I Want then NOW!


So we bought a second pair of Binoculars, this one with the compass inside.

They were about $350 - A good hand bearing compass $100, but as we are cruisng 24/7 the expensive ones are good value


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