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Old 03-03-2014, 12:00 AM   #1
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Compass, what stinking compass.

How many of use a magnetic compass for navigation. Seems to me they can only tell you which way your bow is pointed.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:03 AM   #2
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I use COG.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:06 AM   #3
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We have a couple, one on both FB and PH just rarely use them, since we have a butt load of electronics that all need some use.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:16 AM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. S. More to the point, how many have a magnetic compass that is accurate? When was the last time anyone had their compass adjusted or know how to correct a compass while underway? I use it for rough navigation. For highly accurate direction I defer to the Admiral.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:28 AM   #5
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My boat came equipped with one located in such a way as to be useless while operating. I scratched my head and considered an alternate location but that's as far as I've got. Find it pretty useless in the Delta.

I do however have a handy compass in my binoculars but admit to being clueless as to their accuracy.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:15 AM   #6
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Unless all your cruising is in a river or a smaller lake...I cannot believe anyone would be without one. When (not if) electronics go down, you can navigate with compass and depth sounder even in the dark
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:18 AM   #7
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Till I put radar on the trawler...or still on my assistance towing vessel, I use a compass for turning at night or low vis. GPS often responds slowly enough in very tight quarters you can overshoot real easy in a sharp turn. A compass doesn't have to be accurate to use it in this mode...it's really just for turning the appropriate number of degrees to the new course.

I do adjust them with the GPS now...very easy...yes I've heard all the oldtimer arguments why it doesn't work...but I'm using "modern thinking" so it works just fine....
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:39 AM   #8
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I will sometimes use mine to track a straight course but otherwise it's the chart plotter that's used for navigation.

Most of my cruising is on "rivers and small lakes" (the AICW).
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
I use a compass for turning at night or low vis. GPS often responds slowly enough in very tight quarters you can overshoot real easy in a sharp turn. A compass doesn't have to be accurate to use it in this mode...it's really just for turning the appropriate number of degrees to the new course.
+1

Couldn't imagine being out at night, in the fog, torrential down pour, or heavy snow fall (that will never happen again anyway ) were visibility might be only a few boat lengths without a GOOD non electronic compass.

Ted
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Old 03-03-2014, 08:09 AM   #10
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hmmmmm...which one is more accurate for a straight line???
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Old 03-03-2014, 08:59 AM   #11
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We have one at the lower helm, I admit I seldom even take a look at it except to dust it off. It is good to have in the unlikely event we lose electronics way, way, out in the Gulf I know we can point her North or East and run into land eventually. We do carry two handheld GPS which should take care of things barring a huge GPS blackout maybe more likely now the way foreign affairs are going.
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:17 AM   #12
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Old habits die hard. I use mine all the time. I no longer plot manually with paper charts, rather I take the course from the GPS & steer entirely by compass. No particular reason other than it is more comfortable.

Your right about keeping correction charts & finding a pro for swinging them, it's a dying art. There used to be a fellow here that was exceptional and would do it for $50.00 but by the time you got back to the dock you had to restock your beer fridge. Quite a thirsty chap. Was a time when most surveyors offered this service.
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:24 AM   #13
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Take a lightning strike and then the compass gets pretty useful!!
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:30 AM   #14
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A compass can only bring you back on heading....unless you are actively plotting set/drift...a course deviation indicator can tell you how far you are drifing off and what to steer to get back on your trackline instantaneously. If you use both then I can relate...but my habits have evolved to chartplotter based though I can still do much of the other in case of emergency from years of practice.

If you don't care about the extra time and distance that's OK with me...I just go slow enough both are precious, plus it saves fuel.

That's usually why I let autopilot do it for me as he's WAY more attentive than me...
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:03 AM   #15
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I find it much easier to steer by compass in thick fog. Crossed half of Dixon Entrance in the fog. Had the GPS on of course (and radar) but to steer a straight course the compass was a better tool. It's one of those things you've got to get the hang of too. I considered it a challenge and a good thing to know. Gotta watch it constantly though.

Whenever visibility disappears (or looks like it may) I use the compass as a reference point. If all else fails I have the ability to continue on the course that I was on. Sometimes I make a note on paper of the course so I can always return to it w the compass.

I'm fortunate enough to have a compass w just the right amount of stability. The compass I have is the only really useable compass I've used.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:21 AM   #16
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Sailing along the south coast of PR at night both GPS units lost their signal. Using the compass was the only way to continue until the signals returned. Would have been totally screwed without a compass.

Sailing in dense fog a week or so ago, a friend's chartplotter decided to do a reset. he didn't know about using the compass and ended up going in circles in some very marginal water until he got the plotter going again.

Wouldn't leave home without one,

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Old 03-03-2014, 11:28 AM   #17
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in open water a compass is OK to follow a heading you have been using...but many times in confined waters a heading will take you aground as fast as being lost unless you have accurate set and drift or are navigating by RADAR.

Radar in my operations is the next best tool after a compass for making turns in confined areas and low vis.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:29 AM   #18
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I navigate with the GPS but steer by the compass, if that makes any sense as stated. I use both.
So basically, I always use my compass. Adjusting you heading with a crab angle is no different with a compass than a GPS. I do it because I am comfortable with it. I'm sure I could come up with lots of reasons to use it as not - maybe.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I navigate with the GPS but steer by the compass, if that makes any sense as stated. I use both.
So basically, I always use my compass. Adjusting you heading with a crab angle is no different with a compass than a GPS. I do it because I am comfortable with it. I'm sure I could come up with lots of reasons to use it as not - maybe.
Probably the most important issue at hand......especially those with plenty of experience to know it works over a variety of situations.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:42 AM   #20
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This one is from a chart of my boating backyard, one of many in the area ...



Everyday I use GPS/chartplotter/iPad ... still, I would not go out without a magnetic compass and paper charts of the area.
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