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Old 12-01-2009, 06:31 PM   #1
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I am a new member to this site. I hope no one thinks me too old fashioned, but where can I find a good compass for a Seafarer 38 Ketch? Also is it possible to find a good used compass.

Thanks. Boajoetwo
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:14 PM   #2
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Where are you? Sailor's Exchange in St. Augustine, FL has lots of used boat gear. What compass did you have on your boat? Ritchie is a good compass, you can find it in just about any boat gear catalog, or on line at, say Defender

I'm sure other have different favorites and sources. I've got no connection with any of them, just am happy with what we have, where we got it.

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Old 12-02-2009, 01:22 AM   #3
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Welcome to the site Boajoetwo

I was just in the Sailors Exchange a couple weeks ago for the first time.... a bit overwhelming... just too much stuff to be able to find much on your own... but indeed they did have lot of classic gear... it was nice to see so much real brass (not anodized or anitqued) in one place.

As for being old fashioned... nothing old fashioned about most compasses these days, unless you're actually looking for an old one. I also second Defender as a good online store, I've bought quite a fe bits and bobs through them...if you are just looking for a new compass don't discount your local marine store, most will have some run of the mill binnicle and combing mount compasses in stock if that's all our looking for.... Where abouts are you located
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:52 AM   #4
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I take it that you worry that folks might find it "old fashioned" to use a regular magnetic compass. Believe me, that isn't the case. Not old-fashioned at all but rather prudent! If you find a good mag compass, even if it has a bubble in the oil, you can re-fill it or have it refilled and calibrated by a professional.

Are you looking for a very traditional compass to set in a binnacle? or box? If it will be in your cockpit, you might end up purchasing compass and binnacle together. If inside, you have more options available to you in terms of mounting. There are some great compasses that you can mount on a wall of the cabin or cockpit, too. Lots of choices.

Once you have a magnetic compass, make sure and generate a compass calibration card that you can keep at the helm (or with the compass) so you'll know its characteristics within its operating environment. Things change, so you'll keep checking and updating your "card" as you use your compass.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:44 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by boajoetwo View Post
I am a new member to this site. I hope no one thinks me too old fashioned, but where can I find a good compass for a Seafarer 38 Ketch? Also is it possible to find a good used compass.

Thanks. Boajoetwo
thanks for the responses. They are all helpful. I am in eastern North Carolina. I have done some sailing around St. Augustine, so I will check out the Sailor's exchange for a good compass. Good to know they can be rebuilt and re-calibrated.

Boajoetwo
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:02 AM   #6
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Sorry, just sold my old sestrel compass. Nice compass but not balanced well for a steel boat so I got a replacement.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:29 PM   #7
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... If you find a good mag compass, even if it has a bubble in the oil, you can re-fill it or have it refilled and calibrated by a professional.
It doesn't take a professional to refill a compass... if it's not completely empty just drain it dry (there's usually a plug on the underside somewhere) and then refill it with cheap vodka... it can be a bit tricky trying to find just the right tilt while filliing it to keep from having new airbubbles but it saves a few bucks and works just as well as having a professional do it as far as I can tell...

and you of course then have an emergency vodka supply if you get into real dire straits
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:59 PM   #8
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and then refill it with cheap vodka... it can be a bit tricky trying to find just the right tilt while filliing it to keep from having new airbubbles

and you of course then have an emergency vodka supply if you get into real dire straits
now that's the Spirit ....
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:29 AM   #9
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Who is swinging the lead, when they should be swinging the compass? Good Link

Refilling a compass with Vodka may work BUT its viscosity might be too low to have the necessary damping effect to stop wild fast swings. This site has a mineral oil that is used in some

boat compasses :-

CLICK
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Old 12-03-2009, 04:15 PM   #10
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The viscosity seemed to be ok... long story short the boat we did this on we were delivering from Tortolla to Sweden. The auto pilot compass was whack but would hold a course so you had to set the heading from the vodka filled binnicle compass then hit 'auto'... never noticed any problems with the compass dancing.
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Old 12-03-2009, 04:28 PM   #11
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I'd suggest that the alcohol could be corrosive as well whereas mineral oil isn't.
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Old 12-03-2009, 04:36 PM   #12
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now that is possible... we were just delivering the boat and needed liquid in the compass.. and had vodka on hand... in the 8 weeks it took to make the trip no signs of corrosion were visible but it may just take longer... we did tell the owner about this jurry rig.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:27 PM   #13
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I am a new member to this site. I hope no one thinks me too old fashioned, but where can I find a good compass for a Seafarer 38 Ketch? Also is it possible to find a good used compass.

Thanks. Boajoetwo
Southwest Instrument Co/. 7th Street San Pedro, CA. they may have what you need. It is worth a try, anyway.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:39 AM   #14
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I hope it isn't too offtopic here, it is not about classic technology, but about new one.

As a side note, I have researched the possibility to build cheap gyrocompass with some of my electronically inclined friends.

There are cheap gyro chips out there, but they measure the speed of change in direction rather the direction itself, so it seems it is not possible to build a compass out of them with useable level of drift in time.

There is also laser based gyro equipment out there, which have no moving part, but it is not cheap.

But there are also magnetic compass chips, and it is suggested that putting one on the top of the mast may minimize deviation.

The same old situation: punctual, rigid, cheap. Pick two.
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