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Old 18-08-2020, 00:11   #1
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Hand Bearing Compasses

What are people using for hand bearing compasses these days? Mine are going on (or over) 20 years old -- a Davis Instruments one with pistol grip; an ancient Plastimo hocky puck one.



I had compass binos for a while which were superb for taking bearings in collision avoidance situations, but gave them away.


Some people used to swear by the electronic ones -- I believe Autohelm made a popular one. Do these have advantages worth the extra complexity?


Are there any new types worth looking at?
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Old 18-08-2020, 00:30   #2
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

I've had one of these Plastimo Iris 100's for about 5 years now, i think it is probably the best i've had and i've got a cupboard full of them lol...

I use it all the time and am very happy with the accuracy...

One of the better features is 'Global balance for use in any world zone - ideal for cruising yachts'...

Not cheap (here in Aus) but recommended...

https://www.theboatwarehouse.com.au/...yABEgIRFPD_BwE

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Old 18-08-2020, 02:31   #3
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

When my Plastimo bearing compass frooze I looked at replacing it. But some months before I used a pair of binos with compass on a charter boat. So I searched the internet for prices and found the difference between a new Plastimo and the cheap binos to be around €40. So I decided to go with the cheap binos for the superior handling & precision for bearings.
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Old 18-08-2020, 02:45   #4
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

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Originally Posted by sailormed View Post
When my Plastimo bearing compass frooze I looked at replacing it. But some months before I used a pair of binos with compass on a charter boat. So I searched the internet for prices and found the difference between a new Plastimo and the cheap binos to be around 40. So I decided to go with the cheap binos for the superior handling & precision for bearings.
I thought the thread was about "Hand Bearing Compasses", if id have know it was also about Binocular/Compass i would have framed my answer differently....
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Old 18-08-2020, 02:52   #5
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

This is the one I've been looking at. (Apparently IRIS has taken over manufacturing the round-the-neck handheld ones...?)

https://www.amazon.ca/Plastimo-Iris-...58271903&psc=1

I've always used the kind you can hang around your neck...

Hope this is helpful,
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Old 18-08-2020, 03:05   #6
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

i use Silva forestry compass. Mainly because i have used it for many years in forestry and prospecting and it is always in my pocket. i have to hold it level but i like the fact that i can move the dial and use it on a chart. i have deck compass it has a mind of its own and a electronic compass with my chart plotter system the most accurate but needs to be setup ie sail around a bit.
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Old 18-08-2020, 03:15   #7
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

If you are using one of the "hockey puck" type that you hold close to your eye; make sure your glasses frames are non magnetic. No need to ask me how I know this!!!!
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Old 18-08-2020, 03:18   #8
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

I have been using the Iris 50 from Plastimo for many years. Compact and easy to use.

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Old 18-08-2020, 03:27   #9
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

The ones that you've got'll do the job fine for another 20-odd years.
We had both the Iris 'hockey-puck' ones and an Autohelm electronic job too, though the latter was invariably buried at the bottom of the box, so the Iris was always the first to come to hand; on that basis, I guess we both preferred the Iris.
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Old 18-08-2020, 04:23   #10
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

Suunto Hand Bearing Compasses are quite nice and come in many different styles

https://www.suunto.com/en-us/Product...all-compasses/
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Old 18-08-2020, 04:37   #11
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Suunto Hand Bearing Compasses are quite nice and come in many different styles

https://www.suunto.com/en-us/Product...all-compasses/

The Suunto KB20 looks very nice actually. Anyone have one of these?
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Cushion me soft . . . . rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet . . . . I can repay you."
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Old 18-08-2020, 15:18   #12
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

As with most compasses, ensure you that they are suitable for the region you use it in.
I use mostly the binos for taking bearings, but have a Plastimo puck (Iris 50) and a 50 odd year old Saura as well, all 3 work well, with the Plastimo being the smallest, the easiest to use. I borrowed a photo of the net for the Saura.
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Old 18-08-2020, 16:57   #13
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

Well known in the boatbuilding world as manatee, my name is actually Silva...
How can I say anything about any other compass company..but..
The Japanese build beautiful things. Had a Ritchie which I liked too.
Im enjoying this thread. Nice to see the opinions without all the static overlay.
Great idea for a thread. Hats off gentlemen to the OP please
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Old 18-08-2020, 17:30   #14
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

I've been using one of the old Autohelm fluxgate models ever since my two hockey puck models from the USA died from southern hemisphere dip disease. It is now somewhere approaching 30 years of age and still works flawlessly. It's ability to store several readings is useful when taking bearings sequentially to determine if a ship is on a converging course, or for averaging several readings when things are a bit bouncy and accurate readings are difficult.

IMO, it is the best HBC I've ever encountered, and likely the best single bit of kit that Autohelm ever sold. Dunno why they discontinued it.

As I've aged and my vision has degraded, I'd now like to have some magnification involved, so the compass/binoc combination has appeal, but that's not what DH was asking about!

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Old 18-08-2020, 18:16   #15
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Re: Hand Bearing Compasses

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Or I take the cover off the binnacle and sight.
Ive had a ton of others. They all have issues, and most work ok!
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