Is the Binnacle Compass Obsolete? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 83 Old 03-31-2010
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Aaaaand you have just been struck by lightning, everything electrical has just crapped out Oooor your batteries have just gone flat everything electrical has just crapped out Ooooor perhaps the main fuse has just blown and you know you have a spare somewhere but where but again everything electrical has crapped out.

What now skipper.

Remember it is not IF it is WHEN will your electrical gubbins fail.....
Nice try, but lightening strikes have massive magnetic pulses too that tend remagnetize and throw off a compass. After a strike you cannot rely on your compass without verifying it.

You still need one - but this isn't the argumnet for it.

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post #12 of 83 Old 03-31-2010
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I'd never move the compass away from the helm. It's one of the items that you should frequently compare with your GPS heading if you are using one. There are numerous options if real estate is at a premium. The new Garmin 640 touch screen is hardly larger than the unit itself. Imagine where you want the unit, chances are there is a Ram Mount that will get you there.
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post #13 of 83 Old 03-31-2010
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I love my "gadgets".

However, like everyone else on this thread, there will always be a compass on our boat. When it comes to electronics, crap happens.

I'll go one step further: if our compass ever needs to be replaced, a new compass will replace it.

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post #14 of 83 Old 03-31-2010
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Presbyopic you say? I'll tell you what's more challenging - a crew of two with a combined age of 150, only one good eye between them, and both half deaf with short term memory issues (CRS) to boot. Our territory is Virginia to Maine. Now, how to set up the helm unfestooned with fancy gadgets?

First, a binnacle compass. Otherwise would be unimaginable to me. Then a chartplotter right on the binnacle that can be rotated and tilted for optimum viewing. This enables a straight-on view no matter where we sit or stand. It can be easily removed for an unmodernized look that is more appropriate for this old boat. There is a RAM Mic on the binnacle as well. The depth sounder is forward next to the companionway.

I put in the little rant about the Garmin 546 because it would be a good fit and enable AIS display, unlike the current Raymarine 435i plotter.

Is the Binnacle Compass Obsolete?-1002091003.jpg

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post #15 of 83 Old 03-31-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_L View Post
Nice try, but lightening strikes have massive magnetic pulses too that tend remagnetize and throw off a compass. After a strike you cannot rely on your compass without verifying it.

You still need one - but this isn't the argumnet for it.

Paul L

How well I know this. I was struck by lightning in Beaufort NC on a steel boat while at anchor. I fixed / replaced stuff and left heading North only to find that no matter what direction the boat was heading the compass gave the same reading. My hull had been turned into a giant magnet.

The ancient Neco autopilot had survived the strike and as the compass for that was half way up the mizzen it still worked ok. Between that and a hand bearing compass we survived till the boat was degaussed. Another story!
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post #16 of 83 Old 03-31-2010 Thread Starter
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Heck, you don't need lightning to ruin a binnacle compass. That's one reason why genuine "Navy" belt buckles are BRASS. Yes, compasses have been driven mad by simple belt buckles.

Fishsticks, the main reason I was thinking "binnacle" for the plotter instead of having it bolted on, or mounted on an arm, etc. is that it is next to impossible for a stray loop of line to rip the top off a binnacle. But easy to rip off any kind of mount or arm. One less thing to foul, one less thing to fail.

I suppose the compass could be mounted like a giant deck prism in the cockpit floor itself.
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post #17 of 83 Old 03-31-2010
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Hello- whether you move the compass to another location or not is not too important IMHO. As long as you can view the compass when things get rough or the electronics don't work anymore your are good to go. Personally, I want the compass at the binnacle because nothing is easier to steer by if you are really being tossed around. Ever try to steer a straight course using the chartplotter when the boat is veering 30-60 degrees every few seconds? Or how about when you are in the soup and running strictly on radar, no substitute for the compass, so I want it right in front of my nose.
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post #18 of 83 Old 03-31-2010
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I wonder how many still carry a slide rule and math tables? It isn't if your fancy electric calculator is going to fail but when!

No doubt the generation that grew up with the astrolabe would never trust a sextant but eventually people will trust the sextant and leave the astrolabe ashore. Having a compass on board (just on board not even at the binnacle!) is a good idea just as it is a good idea to have a slide rule, math tables, star charts, sextants, astrolabes and an endless number of old nav books including the Icelandic Sagas but are such archaic systems needed? No.

At least I hope not.

If you really need your compass or other archaic bits of technology, if you are unable to control your vessel without them or unable creep along an unknown shoreline, unable to anchor and effect repairs or rescue without a binnacle mounted compass then having these archaic bits of history are really just a crutch. You will likely fail even with them.

I would suggest those claiming they would be unable to respond to the unusually emergency which results in all their main and back up GPS and modern technology being unusable are either incorrect or…well I’m glad the odds of them running into me blindly under such conditions are low.

Eventually every boater will accept the new fangled sextant, and other new technologies just as we accepted the once new fangled compass.

Have faith that the oceans are going to rise and flood the world, that plague and pestilence brought on by Climate Change is going to punish us for not believing. Please do as they say it is our only hope. :P
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post #19 of 83 Old 04-01-2010
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Ever try to steer by chartplotter alone? With the Raymarine 435 you certainly can not. Last summer a huge bubble evolved in my compass, making it almost unreadable. We were in very thick fog dodging ledges in Maine, We tried to steer by chartplotter alone and found it impossible. That particular plotter is dangerously slow to refresh and zoom.

Having the chartplotter atop the binnacle, as you can see in my photo does make it vulnerable. It should at least have a pipe frame guard over it, but that is easier said than done. So far we have managed, finding it invaluable with a shorthanded crew that knows it is not a handhold. It is actually on a breakaway bracket. At times, when there is a crowd in the cockpit, I stow it and have someone keep an eye on the Garmin 276C below. I always sail with paper charts in the cockpit.

Never sail closer to the wind in degrees than your age

Last edited by FishSticks; 04-01-2010 at 06:49 AM.
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post #20 of 83 Old 04-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishSticks View Post
Ever try to steer by chartplotter alone? With the Raymarine 435 you certainly can not.

Well........ I bought mine specifically to self deliver my NC from Annapolis to RI 5 years ago and it got me here. I have been using it ever since including to steer in heavy fog with no problem.

Stan
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