Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 08-03-2014, 23:14   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Med.. currently Greece
Boat: Oyster 45
Posts: 364
Is a Compass your Primary Navigation Instrument or Back Up?

There has been another thread running about this in the UK and I just though I would put a similar question on here and get all the flack again.

I have said that with the type of sailing I do my primary means of navigation is by electronic instruments.

I helm the boat as little as possible preferring to use the auto pilot which is most often set to sail by the wind.

I cannot remember the last time I looked at the ships compass let alone sailed by it.

My view is that it has been demoted from the primary navigational instrument to a back up should all go wrong.

I seem to be pretty much alone in my view as most in the UK said that they always use their compass to sail by, especially when crossing several tides.

I still stand by my assertion that for me and the type of sailing I do a electronics are better and the compass is just a backup very much like my lead line to the depth sounder.

What do you think?
__________________

__________________
If it works you did it right, if it doesn't you did it wrong.https://www.cygnus3.com/
Nostrodamus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2014, 23:46   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,005
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Sailed to Hawaii using the autopilot flux gate compass the whole way. Never took the autopilot out of standby, just used the A/P compass, as have a wind vane to steer. More stable than the magnetic compass and more convenient to read.
__________________

__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 00:02   #3
Moderator
 
noelex 77's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Living on dirt waiting for our new yacht to be built.
Boat: Half built Bestevaer.
Posts: 10,619
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostrodamus View Post
I seem to be pretty much alone in my view as most in the UK said that they always use their compass to sail by, especially when crossing several tides.
I think they are suggesting that steering to COG is not ideal in conditions of changing current, which is true. The objection is to the inefficiency of maintaing a 0 cross track error course rather than a calculated constant compass course. This is especially in important across the English Channel.

However, this has little to with whether you are using the electronic fluxgate compass display on the autopilot, or a conventional magnetic compass.

When steering on the autopilot (which is most of the time for me) using the autopilot compass display makes sense, and like you this is what I am doing most of the time. I always like to know COG and heading, but there are plenty of displays that can be configured to give this information.

Any one compass display should be cross referenced as there is a risk of someone placing something magnetic close by, particuarly these days with magnetic catches proliferating, but in most cases a check against COG is fine.

Hand steering is a bit easier with a conventional compass card, but I don't do this often so like you the autopilot display would be described as my primary display.
__________________
noelex 77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 00:45   #4
Registered User
 
centaur's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Dublin
Boat: Westerly Centaur
Posts: 49
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Mostly I use my lap top, phone, tablet navigation chart plotters.
Though coming out of Carlingford on a very fogy morning using the plotter I became completely disorentated and turned across the channel inadvertently. The compas heading , swinging North instead of South, was the immediate indication of my error.
__________________
Just here for the Craic
centaur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:00   #5
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,205
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

In fog. a real compass... is you're only real NAV...aid.

So if not in FOG, why would it be any different?

It's realtime, unlike a digital North/South Pointer.

Fly in a hood and learn to trust your instrument.

The guys with wings, learned it from the guys with sheets.

Lloyd



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostrodamus View Post
There has been another thread running about this in the UK and I just though I would put a similar question on here and get all the flack again.

I have said that with the type of sailing I do my primary means of navigation is by electronic instruments.

I helm the boat as little as possible preferring to use the auto pilot which is most often set to sail by the wind.

I cannot remember the last time I looked at the ships compass let alone sailed by it.

My view is that it has been demoted from the primary navigational instrument to a back up should all go wrong.

I seem to be pretty much alone in my view as most in the UK said that they always use their compass to sail by, especially when crossing several tides.

I still stand by my assertion that for me and the type of sailing I do a electronics are better and the compass is just a backup very much like my lead line to the depth sounder.

What do you think?
__________________
FlyingCloud1937 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:15   #6
Moderator
 
noelex 77's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Living on dirt waiting for our new yacht to be built.
Boat: Half built Bestevaer.
Posts: 10,619
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
In fog. a real compass... is you're only real NAV...aid.
Not sure I understand this. What about Radar and GPS to name a couple of useful NAV aids in fog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post

It's realtime, unlike a digital North/South Pointer.
I think you may be referring to COG which requires movement before it detects a direction. It cannot determine the boats heading directly, but autopilots at least have a fluxgate compass that works like a like a normal magnetic compass. Many boats have a gyrostabilised compass, or even a GPS compass. The better models are superior in most ways to a conventional compass (as long as there is electricity)

Of course COG is also important especially in fog.
__________________
noelex 77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:15   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Med.. currently Greece
Boat: Oyster 45
Posts: 364
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
In fog. a real compass... is you're only real NAV...aid.

So if not in FOG, why would it be any different?

It's realtime, unlike a digital North/South Pointer.

Fly in a hood and learn to trust your instrument.

The guys with wings, learned it from the guys with sheets.

Lloyd
In fog... chart plotter, AIS and radar... they are better nav aids.
__________________
If it works you did it right, if it doesn't you did it wrong.https://www.cygnus3.com/
Nostrodamus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:19   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,948
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

I use a variety of instruments but my basic compass is used more than anything else on longer passages.
__________________
robert sailor is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:19   #9
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,205
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Evidently,....

"YOU", have never sailed in FOG...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostrodamus View Post
In fog... chart plotter, AIS and radar... they are better nav aids.
__________________
FlyingCloud1937 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:21   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Med.. currently Greece
Boat: Oyster 45
Posts: 364
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
Evidently,....

"YOU", have never sailed in FOG...
Hey, I am English.. is there another way of sailing besides in fog?
__________________
If it works you did it right, if it doesn't you did it wrong.https://www.cygnus3.com/
Nostrodamus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:34   #11
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,205
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

A proper floating Card never lies!.

A digital/repeater only tells the truth, at every update.

A 2 second lag in update, is a lie.

Lloyd


Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Not sure I understand this. What about Radar and GPS to name a couple of useful NAV aids in fog.


I think you may be referring to COG which requires movement before it detects a direction. It cannot determine the boats heading directly, but autopilots at least have a fluxgate compass that works like a like a normal magnetic compass. Many boats have a gyrostabilised compass, or even a GPS compass. The better models are superior in most ways to a conventional compass (as long as there is electricity)

Of course COG is also important especially in fog.
__________________
FlyingCloud1937 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:46   #12
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,205
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostrodamus View Post
Hey, I am English.. is there another way of sailing besides in fog?
O I don"t know
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937
Evidently,....

"YOU", have never sailed in FOG...


Hey, I am English.. is there another way of sailing besides in fog?
__________________
If it works you did it right, if it doesn't you did it wrong.Cygnus III | Sailing around the world slowly]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostrodamus View Post
There has been another thread running about this in the UK and I just though I would put a similar question on here and get all the flack again.

I have said that with the type of sailing I do my primary means of navigation is by electronic instruments.

I helm the boat as little as possible preferring to use the auto pilot which is most often set to sail by the wind.

I cannot remember the last time I looked at the ships compass let alone sailed by it.

My view is that it has been demoted from the primary navigational instrument to a back up should all go wrong.

I seem to be pretty much alone in my view as most in the UK said that they always use their compass to sail by, especially when crossing several tides.

I still stand by my assertion that for me and the type of sailing I do a electronics are better and the compass is just a backup very much like my lead line to the depth sounder.

What do you think?
__________________
FlyingCloud1937 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:46   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 1,373
Images: 7
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

I don't navigate with a compass anymore as I pretty well always set way points and routes and tend to only be interested in XTE if I have to take the boat off autopilot. But one of the things I find I really need the compass for is to avoid disorientation if I have to move the boat at night. I usually take a bearing to clear out of an anchorage when I drop the anchor and have had the situation where I then used the bearing to clear out to sea when the weather went bad in the anchorage.
__________________
RaymondR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:51   #14
Moderator
 
noelex 77's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Living on dirt waiting for our new yacht to be built.
Boat: Half built Bestevaer.
Posts: 10,619
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
A proper floating Card never lies!.
All instruments have some error and lag including the traditional analogue magnetic compass. Perhaps one day they will have zero mass compass cards and zero friction bearings, but not in my lifetime.

I am not sure this has such a great influence on our relatively slow turning cruising boats, but a GPS compass, or even a good gyrostabilised compass is superior.

My own boat has a simple gyrostabilised fluxgate compass which is probably on about par with the conventional magnetic compass. The biggest difference is the human interface. For autopilot steering the digital display is superior, but hand steering the analogue display is better (at least for me). More modern instrument systems can present the electronic compass in an analogue format when desired.
__________________
noelex 77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 01:53   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Probably in an anchorage or a boatyard..
Boat: Ebbtide 33' steel cutter
Posts: 3,537
Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

Long distance a Kindle is more use than a compass

Sent from my SGP312 using Tapatalk
__________________

__________________
conachair is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
compass, men, navigation, rum

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
marine survey advice Ardi Monohull Sailboats 13 28-02-2013 18:07



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 13:54.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.