What is the best way to set up a compass on the boat? What compass is the best to use?

Thanks Paul

Flying Scot Inc. or 800-864-7208 offers three different compasses, along with the fittings for mounting them near the base of the mast. From least to most expensive they are the Aquameter Sailor II (about $80 with fiberglass mount), the Plastimo 101 Contest (about $220 with mahogany mount), and the TickTack Micro Digital (about $425 with mahogany mount). Prices for compasses alone are less.

Mounting the compasses near the aft side of the mast and near the base keeps them well in sight through most maneuvers.

The Aquameter is, I believe, a dome model, with degree lines. I think the mounting fits on the deck opening just above the tabernacle and behind the mast.

The plastimo is a globe which displays tactical numbers as well as degrees. Oversimplifying it, the tactical numbers repeat in each quadrant. So, for example, if you tack through 90 degrees, the number you see will be the same. Once you learn to use it it's quick to use. The mahogany mount for the compass covers the aft-opening of the tabernacle, just below deck level.

The TickTack is slick, the large digital display shows your heading, and a tactical setting tells you if you vary 5 degrees or more from the last heading. It also has a visual countdown timer that converts to compass heading when the timer expires. I believe the mahogany mount afixes to the mast, just above the deck.

I have used the Plastimo very happily for years, yet am about to go the TickTack route. I think both these choices give you good, quick visual readings, if racing is your bag. The Aquameter will do the trick if you don't track the compass as much.

FSSA Forum editor

Although I'm not doing any racing I do like the Plastimo compass.

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The compass is easy to install and remove. As Hank already mentioned, the compass is strapped to the tabernacle with a shock cord that wraps around the back of the tabernacle. The compass sits there very secure and is quite visible from any place in the cockpit.

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA