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Discussion Starter #1
I am posting this because hellosailor's thread deviated from the original question of the compass position.

Interesting he posted that as I was just wondering the same thing.
Matter of fact I have a binnacle compass and I am moving it – not removing it.
The binnacle compass is there because boats were raced.... with one person behind the helm following instructions… or so I think. Otherwise, why are they there?
If anyone have done any crossing at all, how many minutes (not hours) have you spent standing up behind the wheel? Most stressful!
Sit down and make yourself comfortable beside the wheel and steer, but!! you cannot see the compass! The binnacle is not the best place to put it.
I am not advocating the use of something else at the binnacle, I am just saying that it is the worst place to put the most important piece of navigation instrument. If it is OK for boats without a wheel, why not for all boats? The compass should be placed somewhere where the helmsperson can see it anywhere where he/she is positioned - behind or beside the wheel or the tiller. Full stop.
Who cares to disagree? :D
 

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There are several reasons why a compass is normally located on the binnacle.

1. Traditionally, the helmsman is always standing. It is still the case today but with some deviations (i.e., tugs, etc) where there is a dedicated steering station. Thus, the compass is in the best location for the person that needs it the most.
2. Centering the compass on the wheel allows best viewing from either side or center while standing.
3. A compass located on the bulkhead can not be easily observed in anything but small boats (<25') or from the side on which it's mounted.
4. A binnacle mounted compass is easily read even while sitting by using the 45 degree markers. I do it all the time.

To be honest, if I bought a boat without a compass mounted on the wheel, I'd put one there. Ironically, I am not a great fan of mounting other instruments on the pedestal. Wind speed & direction, depth, boat speed, VMG, etc. should be viewed by the crew as their performance is reflected on those instruments. I dislike crewing on boats where I can't see what's going on. That's why we see large displays mounted on racing boat's masts. And while one of those displays may be compass heading, the helmsman always has his own display.
 

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In think its still the best position for a compass still...especially if you have wheel steering and its a big slow compass, has to be big and filled with correct liquid not plastic flimsy and quick...

also this position has the least deviation and "electro" magnetic interference as its far away from radars, vhf signals, engine, etc...

I have sailed hours not minutes at a time simply trying to keep my course within 10 degress or so...on some points of sail its a blast to keep as straight as possible using the compass did it many many times out in the open ocean...I frequently took the windvane off for a few hours of fun sailing like this. or the autopilot if it was light.

anyone who would argue against a compass in this position simply has not enjoyed the basics and simplicity of sailing much

my own BIASED opinion

or 2c

ps. if I HAD to chose another position besides the binnacle I would chose under the dodger, amidships on the companion way entrance...still good visibilty and location...

using the tiller I prefer on either bulkhead side of the companionway
 

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Barquito
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Tatia - I see your point. I would think that tiller steered boats would put the helmsman closer to the the bulkhead, where a compass on each side would make sense. Maybe, keep the binnacle compass to keep her looking shippy, and add one under the bridgedeck for keeping track of things when under the dodger.
 

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My J24 had twin bulkhead mounted units that allowed a perfect view

I still prefer my binnacle unit on the Cal
 

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sunfish?junior?
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I am trying to decide on what kind of compass to buy. I have been looking at threads and find very little to go on.
My boat is a Catalina-22 It has no compass. I also have an FJ 13ft I have been looking at a Richie tactician flush mount . I am trying to figure out why it has 12345678()12345678 below I get that it must have to do with tacking and wind shifts a lift and throw. I would like to have a better understanding before I buy what I don't know about. Can anyone help me I assume the 1-8 is on the card and rotates.
I am not going to drill a hole in the bulk head or any hole. I am so happy that this 1974 has made it passed so many without looking like a dart board. This is off center anyway. I have a good place near my barney post but I think a spot on top of the companion way sliding hatch might be good and give a heads up display. I would also like to take it from one boat to the other. Yes I know it could have mounting error. It is far better I remove it at the end of the day than a thief in the night.
Good day, Lou
 

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Our problem with anything above the companionway on a non-race boat is that it's a very popular place for someone to sit/stand underway, blocking the view of anything there.. Same with bulkhead mounted.

As Sabreman suggested a binnacle is useable/viewable when steering off to the side using the 45deg lines.

On a previous boat we had two compasses, mounted flush in the deck just fwd of the outboard steering positions (large 60" wheel on an A-frame non-binnacle set up)

 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am trying to decide on what kind of compass to buy. I have been looking at threads and find very little to go on.
My boat is a Catalina-22 It has no compass. I also have an FJ 13ft I have been looking at a Richie tactician flush mount . I am trying to figure out why it has 12345678()12345678 below I get that it must have to do with tacking and wind shifts a lift and throw. I would like to have a better understanding before I buy what I don't know about. Can anyone help me I assume the 1-8 is on the card and rotates.
I am not going to drill a hole in the bulk head or any hole. I am so happy that this 1974 has made it passed so many without looking like a dart board. This is off center anyway. I have a good place near my barney post but I think a spot on top of the companion way sliding hatch might be good and give a heads up display. I would also like to take it from one boat to the other. Yes I know it could have mounting error. It is far better I remove it at the end of the day than a thief in the night.
Good day, Lou
Lou I don't an answer to your question, but you'll get much better response if you cut and paste this into a new thread.
 

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I'm with the keep the binnacle people . I would love to have one , I'm tiller so that wouldn't work . Mine is bulkhead off center. I admit some times it is hard to read , however it does have forward and rear lubber lines so really it's not too bad. So rather than get rid of the Binnacle I would just ad another compass . Also for some more ideas you could look at Bruce Bingham's book the Sailors Sketchbook .
 
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