Compass pocket?

SZihn

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Ok, here's one for all you experienced Kayakers out there:
I recently bought a Necky Chatham 17 and it has a pocket in the forward part of the deck for a compass. It's like the inside of 1/2 a ball and it's obviously made for some specific compass. But I don't know which one. I suspect it may be the Brunton (which used to be made about 16 miles from where I am right now) but I may be wrong.
I think for long trips the compass could be nice to have. So, if I were to buy one, what compass do I need to work inside the pocket that Necky used?
 

SZihn

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Cool! Thanks kayakwriter. I have no need for one yet, but I think it may be a good idea to outfit my Kayak with one for coming trips in the future. So I'll put that on my 'things to get list" and hopefully find one at a time I have a bit of extra money. For now I can see across all the waters I'd be going on, so I can set my standard pocket compass for a place up-wind of any point I'd like to paddle to and go from place to place without anything more than the compass and maps I already have.

But when I go with my sister to Alaska, (or maybe Coastal Washington) I'll be more comfortable with one mounted on the deck.

Too bad Brunton is not making anything in Wyoming anymore. I could just drop in and see, but most of their stuff is now made in China from what I am told. The old place on Federal drive is closed and has been for years now.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I find most of the 'factory spots' for a compass to be quite distant - I have not-great eyesight and I wear glasses which can get wet/fogged.

A deck compass which attaches to the boat with shock cords or webbing straps works better for me- I can get it closer!
:)
My favourite is the Suunto Orca/Pioneer:
sunto orca.JPG


No surprise that it is no longer made - corporate 'wisdom' at work.... But they do turn up online (ebay) and on local 'used' sites...

Very serviceable and popular is the Seattle Sports deck compass:
seattle sports deck compass.JPG


If the Brunton works for you , remember to keep it covered when you aren't paddling - UV will turn the inside of most compasses amber, and craze the clear plastic.
 

kayakwriter

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I find most of the 'factory spots' for a compass to be quite distant - I have not-great eyesight and I wear glasses which can get wet/fogged.
A deck compass which attaches to the boat with shock cords or webbing straps works better for me- I can get it closer!:)
My favourite is the Suunto Orca/Pioneer:
No surprise that it is no longer made - corporate 'wisdom' at work.... But they do turn up online (ebay) and on local 'used' sites...
Very serviceable and popular is the Seattle Sports deck compass:
I've used both of those "portable" deck compasses, and they both work well for what they are. I prefer the permamounted ones for several reasons:
The distance away is a feature, not a bug, for me as I wear contacts at sea and they're better for distances than close-focusing, so I don't have to change focus constantly (which older eyes are slower at than my younger eyes were).
Having the compass up near the bow makes it closer to a "heads-up" display so I'm less likely to lose situational awareness as I shift my centre of attention back and forth between a near object and the sea (it also seems to reduce sea sickness.)
A permanently mounted compass can be more closely aligned with the boat's keel (and won't get knocked out of alignment by waves or paddles), making for greater accuracy on long crossings.

But different strokes for different folks. And good point about the permanently mounted compasses needing UV protection.
 

Jasper

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The orca/pioneer was also my favorite portable, sadly it's out of production.

I like a permanently mounted compass, one less piece of kit to keep track of, and I've been out without a compass when fog rolls in a few time to often...
 

AM

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Whatever compass you get, it’s good to carry a spare orienteering compass in your PFD pocket. It’s also a good idea to index your two compasses with those of your paddling partners. Make sure they all agree.

A story I was told illustrates my point: a guide I know was crossing with a group from the Broken Group to the Deer Group in heavy fog, with the guide following the bearing of his deck-mounted compass. As time went by, the guide began to wonder why they hadn’t landed yet in the Deers, so he pulled out his pocket compass and saw that it didn’t agree at all with his deck compass. He immediately turned his group around to follow a 180 degree back-bearing to their launch point and, when they hit the beach, he pulled a ferrous pot out of his front hatch — the source of the problem.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

Jasper

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A quick and simple check for deviation (IE ferrous pots, speaker magnets, etc) is to line your boat up on a range, mark your heading and then line your boat up on the reverse range, any deviation from the reverse heading is an indication of your magnetic deviation.

On larger vessels I'd make a correction table for different headings, on my kayak I'd just move my dutch oven :D
 

SZihn

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As a former US Marine in reconnaissance, I have become VERY good at land navigation. But navigation on water is more difficult. We were trained to allow for wind and currents, but our pick-up boats (usually submarines) could find us if were were anywhere close to our extraction point. We didn't actually have to find them. They have radar.
If the wind or the currents move you sideways you can stay on azimuth (heading) perfectly but all that means is that you are heading toward a prescribed direction on the compass rose, not that you are heading to your target. 2 men could stand on the earth 5 miles apart and go on the same heading and after 1 mile of movement they are still 5 miles apart. They move parallel because they are on the same heading, but they will never come to the same place.

So dealing with wind drift and currents (or both) seems to be quite a task to me.

In the Marines we'd have a per-determined point to get to for the pick-up, but if we were within 1 mile of it in any direction the sub's radar could locate us, so we were told anyway. We'd do all we could to be spot on, and apparently we were most times. We'd be off shore enough to not be seen from shore, but still close enough to use out compasses to triangulates from the horison to a place where the sub could place the periscope between our 2 boats and catch a rope. Then they would treat us to the 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride to take us out to sea far enough that it was safe for them to surface.
But if a kayaker is trying to got to 7 different location for a week long trip and has to deal with fog, wind, currents and maybe "all of the above".
No sub is going to cover for any mistake you'd make, and all the "support" you have in on the kayak with you.

So I can see the potential for problems there, Big problems.

Anyone out there done that kind of thing with only a map (or chart) and a compass in areas they have never been to before?
What tips can you give to help with the corrections you'd need to allow for from wind and currents? Shooting for a place off to the side of a target and then "turning left" or "turning right" at the shore is a good way, but how do you know how much to allow for. Currents can be more predictable then wind.

What are your tips and tricks?
 

red kite

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As a former US Marine in reconnaissance, I have become VERY good at land navigation. But navigation on water is more difficult. We were trained to allow for wind and currents, but our pick-up boats (usually submarines) could find us if were were anywhere close to our extraction point. We didn't actually have to find them. They have radar.
If the wind or the currents move you sideways you can stay on azimuth (heading) perfectly but all that means is that you are heading toward a prescribed direction on the compass rose, not that you are heading to your target. 2 men could stand on the earth 5 miles apart and go on the same heading and after 1 mile of movement they are still 5 miles apart. They move parallel because they are on the same heading, but they will never come to the same place.

So dealing with wind drift and currents (or both) seems to be quite a task to me.

In the Marines we'd have a per-determined point to get to for the pick-up, but if we were within 1 mile of it in any direction the sub's radar could locate us, so we were told anyway. We'd do all we could to be spot on, and apparently we were most times. We'd be off shore enough to not be seen from shore, but still close enough to use out compasses to triangulates from the horison to a place where the sub could place the periscope between our 2 boats and catch a rope. Then they would treat us to the 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride to take us out to sea far enough that it was safe for them to surface.
But if a kayaker is trying to got to 7 different location for a week long trip and has to deal with fog, wind, currents and maybe "all of the above".
No sub is going to cover for any mistake you'd make, and all the "support" you have in on the kayak with you.

So I can see the potential for problems there, Big problems.

Anyone out there done that kind of thing with only a map (or chart) and a compass in areas they have never been to before?
What tips can you give to help with the corrections you'd need to allow for from wind and currents? Shooting for a place off to the side of a target and then "turning left" or "turning right" at the shore is a good way, but how do you know how much to allow for. Currents can be more predictable then wind.

What are your tips and tricks?

https://skils.ca/store/Navigation-S...-Paperback-Available-January-8-2021-p10572295
 

AM

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The most basic trick I use is “aiming off” - deliberately missing the target in a known direction. Example: if you want to cross to a small cove in an otherwise featureless shore, aim to miss it to the south. Then, whenever you hit land, you simply turn north and “handrail” (follow the shore) until you reach your cove.

I was taught vector calculations for wind/current, but I’m not convinced those are very useful for me, since I can often only guess at the wind and current speed, which are constantly changing anyway according to time and location.

Old-time mariners used a ship’s whistle in addition to their compass. Echolocation provided another piece of data to estimate their position. Sophisticated blind navigation of this sort is probably a lost art: my 81-year old stepfather, a retired ship’s master, tells me that youngsters like him were born too late to really learn these skills from the old-timers who acquired them over long years in the age of sail or steam, not diesel.

Honestly, the reason I hate fog is not the uncertainty of where exactly I’m going, but the danger of collision with a much larger vessel.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Honestly, the reason I hate fog is not the uncertainty of where exactly I’m going, but the danger of collision with a much larger vessel.
:thumbsup:
Me, too.
My compass won't protect me from a collision. and it doesn't have to be a much larger vessel to do damage - even a speedboat will do it.
The risk of collision does depend on the location. The one time I was 'caught out' when fog rolled in was in Oak Bay and I used the compass to hightail it right back to shore. I wouldn't launch to do the short (2 NM) crossing to Discovery Is in thick fog there.
Trevor Channel (Deer Group/Bamfield) would probably be in that category for me, too. (See the above anecdote about a guided party there.)
 

chodups

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The most basic trick I use is “aiming off” - deliberately missing the target in a known direction. Example: if you want to cross to a small cove in an otherwise featureless shore, aim to miss it to the south. Then, whenever you hit land, you simply turn north and “handrail” (follow the shore) until you reach your cove.
Same here and it usually works for me. Not always but usually.
 

JKA

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Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
As a former US Marine in reconnaissance, I have become VERY good at land navigation.

What tips can you give to help with the corrections you'd need to allow for from wind and currents? Shooting for a place off to the side of a target and then "turning left" or "turning right" at the shore is a good way, but how do you know how much to allow for. Currents can be more predictable then wind.

What are your tips and tricks?
Steve, I believe your experience in land navigation will be of better use for SEA KAYAKING than any marine (as in nautical, not your branch of service) navigation skills.

As others have pointed out above, you will likely be either following a coast (hand railing) where you will be checking off nav points as you go - often referred to as piloting - or you will probably be doing a limited distance between islands, using the ded reckoning techniques of direction/distance.

Obviously this is your concern in poor vis, where direction/time/speed calcs are compromised by an unknown cross-track error. Unlike land nav where Naismith's Rule can be applied (after enough experience to determine individual corrections), on the sea you are dealing with a guesstimate on the effects of wind and usually an unknown tidal stream/current effect.

There is little that can be done at a practical level beyond "aiming off".

I once paddled around Holy Island, North Wales, an area famous for its tide races. Due to these races, and the fact that the British Admiralty has long been surveying the waters of the world, these is very accurate information about the timing/strength of lateral sea movement around the island.

I was using a GPS to log the trip (I couldn't get lost as long as I kept the terrain to my right) and I was interested to note my speed changing on what seemed like a flat sea. Later I worked out that I was hitting eddies-within-eddies, while there was no evidence or information that I could have adapted to or planned for.

When I have been paddling in wind on a transit (US terminology = range) and watching the compass, my bearing/course made good variation is usually between 10 and 20 degrees. This of course doesn't take into account wind strength/direction, my speed, tide etc, but it's just an observation.

As an experiment, one mirror calm night I went for a paddle in very thick fog with no compass (It WAS deliberate!). I was paddling a route I have done hundreds of times, from a headland to an island, a distance of 1000 metres.

I set off and counted my paddle strokes. After one hundred double strokes I heard waves gently breaking on rocks to my right and I was surprised at my speed :o-o:, assuming I had hit the island exactly where I was aiming. As the land appeared, at a range of about 10 metres, I discovered I was EXACTLY where I had left from!

100 paddle strokes and I had done a 180 degrees turn, despite trying very hard to maintain direction.

Planning and experience is very useful, but the honest will admit that luck plays a big part.

And, these days, GPS!
 
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Mac50L

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Sophisticated blind navigation of this sort is probably a lost art: my 81-year old stepfather, a retired ship’s master, tells me that youngsters like him were born too late to really learn these skills from the old-timers who acquired them over long years in the age of sail or steam, not diesel.
Being only a little younger than your stepfather, I'm surprised at the suggestion of not having the skills. Yes, my father was a master mariner too.

Compass navigation - sailing up and down our coast, during the night watches while I was on watch (as did the other watches), we'd be steering by compass and I'd mark our course on the chart by taking compass bearings on lighthouses. We'd know exactly where we were and where we were going, staying usually up to about 5 miles off shore. For charting it would be a hand-bearing compass. The steering compass would be fixed. Crossing the East China Sea, Philippines to Japan, we had GPS as it was 3? 4? decades later.

As for astro-navigation, yes, I do own a sextant.

Three times while kayaking I've taken a compass bearing in case the fog did blanket us. Each time the weather cleared enough not to need it.
 

cougarmeat

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I’ve also fallen victim to “metal under the compass”. Joy has a deck mounted compass on her Fathom LV and it looks cool and I always ask her what direction we are heading (listening for her to say, “magnetic”). But - she can’t use a deck bag because it will block they view of the compass. I recall that little “box” on the Necky is far enough forward that it probably wouldn’t be a problem - during the day. Some compasses - like those built into binoculars - give a red illumination light with a button push.

When I plan a trip using Google Earth images everything looks distinct. When I’m on the water, most islands look alike and their sizes hardly fit what I imagined them to be.
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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. Some compasses - like those built into binoculars - give a red illumination light with a button push.
If you have a Suunto Orca, it's possible to DIY a red light under the compass. Leon Somme (ex BodyBoatBlade) made a video with details.
I did 'the mod' even though I had no plans to paddle at night. :)
 

JohnAbercrombie

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When I’m on the water, most islands look alike and their sizes hardly fit what I imagined them to be.
One of the charming features of older British Admiralty charts was the inclusion of sketches which showed the appearance of islands, headlands, etc from seaward. In the days of sail, sketching was part of every officer's training.
 

JKA

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Paul Caffyn's account of a serious crossing in fog, from his 1989 Alaska trip.


"The next big challenge was an exposed 55-mile crossing from Kenai Peninsula to Kodiak Island. Swift tide races and a reputation for rapid weather changes and strong winds left me apprehensive as I kicked out for the Barrens, a small group of islands midway across. It took me two days to complete the crossing, with an overnight stop on the Barren Islands. On both days I was enveloped in thick, damp fog banks. With visibility less than 200 feet, I was absolutely reliant on my deck-mounted binnacle compass, and had to juggle both wind and tidal stream drift to ensure a landfall.

The second leg of the crossing had all the makings of a major epic. I’d waited until 5.30pm for a series of big tide races and overfalls to settle down before launching. Initially, I had a visual sight onto a hazy snow-topped range on Kodiak Island, and was able to correct for tidal drift by checking transits over my shoulder on the Barren Islands. Then, from seawards, I noticed the swirling tendrils of a fog bank sweeping towards me. I scarcely had time to recheck the compass course to Kodiak Island before I was engulfed in a chilling gloom.

For the next three hours I struggled against a choppy beam sea to stay on my compass heading. It was a weather/tide situation, a 15-knot south-easterly blowing against the tide ebbing out of Cook Inlet and pushing up a five-foot breaking chop. By 10.30pm, I should have made contact with land, according to the elapsed timer on my watch. The sea had gone off when the tide began flooding, but I was still totally immersed in a grey-out — I could neither sight land, nor hear the sound of surf on shore.

Re-checking the distance for the umpteenth time, I could only hold my compass heading and try to keep mounting anxiety under control. I wasn’t prepared fora full night at sea: no food handy and the red navigation torch buried deep in the middle compartment.

Fifteen minutes later, I was desperately trying to work out why I’d overshot the island when I noticed a slight increase in the visibility. Glimpses of the sun sinking golden in the west lifted my sagging morale. I kept sweeping my gaze on a 180-degree arc over the bow. Then, a few minutes before 11pm, I glimpsed a faint smear of rock through the fog to my left. It was Dark Island, my aiming point. Wind had pushed me off course by just on a mile. Needless to say, I was pleased to reach terra firma again. I didn’t quite kiss the ground, but that was one tough crossing to have left astern."
 
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