Double kayak - compass location

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Freaky, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. Freaky

    Freaky New Member

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    Hi there,

    Found my new hobby and now this nice community. Yeah. :)

    Just recently bought a double kayak without a mounted compass.
    I'm still undecided what compass is a good one to go on a double kayak. Thsnks for your recommendations.

    But more importantly: where do I mount it? In the front or behind the front paddler?
    Or do I even need two (front&back)

    Thanks
    F.
     
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I wouldn't 'permanently' mount a compass,if that's what you are thinking.

    Most of the paddlers I know use a deck compass that attaches with straps or shockcord (& hooks) to the deck lines or deck bungees. There are several choices available.
    This one works pretty well and isn't too expensive:
    https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5025-343/Sea-Rover-Deck-Compass

    The compass should be visible to the person steering the boat; I think this is the aft paddler in most doubles?

    You don't need two deck compasses, but I always take a spare (cheap orienteering style) compass on trips. These also work OK on deck, once you get used to them, but the bigger numbers and more intuitive deck compasses are better, IMO.
     
  3. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Whether permanently attached or temporarily connected to deck lines, pay attention to what you store under the deck, below the compass.

    Back when bike frames were more metal than carbon fiber, I'd point out in a compass class that when you straddle your bike and look at a compass, North always seems to be in the direction the bike is pointed.

    I've found it doesn't take much metal (cooking gear, camp knife, etc.) in a dry bag to throw the compass (above) off.
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Agree a dismountable compass of the type John references in the link is good. We have put ours just forward of the bow paddler, and that worked well for us. Taking bearings and holding a course bearing while paddling demanded communication between paddlers, but we never had an issue with that. The rear paddler has to find ranging landmarks to hold a course in any case, and only needs the forward paddler to tell him whether the range has the correct bearing.

    A deck compass between paddlers got in the way too much, especially when we had to deck load the boat, which occurred frequently.
     
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    All excellent points! :big_thumb
    You can tell I've never paddled a double! :oops:
    Also, I was thinking more about paddling in 10/10 fog than the much more usual situation where we use the compass to set a heading and then use a visual landmark to help with steering.
     
  6. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Yeah, paddling in dense fog sans a GPS is a real test of a navigator. Never done it in battle conditions for two reasons: 1. Can't tell what my drift is. 2. Places I have paddled, getting run over by some hot rod power boater is a significant hazard.

    We did a couple miles via compass (no GPS) in light fog one dazzling day when we could see about 100 feet horizontally, and maybe twice that vertically upwards. The sun was slowly evaporating the mist, and so much sunlight was being scattered everywhere we were almost blinded. We had a good estimate on the drift because were were on home waters at a known stage of the ebb, plus we knew our hull speed from numerous previous ventures. We hit our small target, a 100 meter wide island, as the sun finally removed the fog. We were stunned. We figured we would miss it. And then we were chagrined ... there were three power boats at anchor, fishing, scattered along our path. We neither saw or heard a peep out of any of them!

    I have navigated by compass in dense fog on glaciers several times, with good success ... no drift!
     
  7. VanIslePaddler

    VanIslePaddler Paddler

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    I'd say the compass on a double should be in front of the Stern Paddler. Almost always the stern cockpit is in control of the rudder and should be the one in ultimate control of the boat. Therefore they are the one navigating etc...

    Maybe in very co-compatible situations the compass could go in front of the bow cockpit...
     
  8. Pawistik

    Pawistik Paddler

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    Welcome to the community.

    For the best visibility, the compass should be mounted on the back of the bow paddler's head. That's why the loops are there on the removable compasses, to slip over the ears and hold it in position.

    Cheers,
    Bryan
     
  9. Alana

    Alana Wave Seeker

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    Why not?

    I have had deck mounted compasses on all of my boats, and all of my partner's boats. We have never had them sustain any damage, and they have been through a fair bit.

    Personally, I like that there is always a compass with you, no matter how benign the outing.
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I'm guessing that your eyes are younger and better than mine. :D
    The 'usual' place I see compasses mounted in factory molded recesses is so far forward that I can't see the numbers on the dial, especially if it's wet and windy with water on my glasses.
    Closer to the cockpit, a permanent compass would be visible IF it weren't covered by the chart case.
    With a 'removable' compass, I can strap it over the chart case if necessary, or move it closer or farther away.
    I can also move the compass a bit off the center line if I want, if the GPS is on the deck as well.
    Also, compasses are not cheap - some are over $100- so I like to be able to move the compass from boat to boat.
    Compasses need to be protected from UV- either with a cover or by removing them from the boat when not on the water. The 'clear' parts of the compass will eventually craze and discolour with UV.
    Will a replacement compass to fit the permanent location on your boat be available if you need one?

    With my Suunto Orca compass, I've done the Leon Somme 'mod', adding a red light.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKU7qXrWNw4
    That requires access to the underside of the compass.

    But a 'permanent' mount compass works for a lot of folks, I know. Lots of options. :big_thumb
     
  11. designer

    designer Paddler

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    No Damage yet to the permenant compass mounted on Joy's EL Fathom LV. It is not way up in the bow so she can see it. The slight downside is any kind of deck bag will block sight of the compass.

    But my removable deck compass was living in the kayaking gear RubberMaid box and when I pulled a pump out of that box, the compass's deck straps grabbed hold and it leaped out of the box. It's next stop was the garage floor and some clean up.

    So that would be an interesting study - the permanently mounted compass seems like it would be more susceptible to breaking; posted up at a fixed position on the deck. But it's very existence inspires care in moving the boat. The removable spends more time in very secure locations. But it has much more movement and play as it's pulled out of storage, packed, attached, unattached, repacked, and put back into storage.