hand bearing compass

jbfraser

Member
85
6
Minnesota
I've used a weems & plath and have a plastimo puck. Great for RC work. One subtle difference between the two: the plastimo is designed to be held close to your face to be able to read the prism (but optically it looks further away, so reading glasses not needed, I think.) while the weems & plath is designed to be pulled away from your neck and held a few feet away pulling on the neck strap.

I think both designs work well enough, but it can be a surprise when switching from one to the other. Very happy with my plastimo to save $$$.
 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
11,078
2,711
I've used a weems & plath and have a plastimo puck. Great for RC work. One subtle difference between the two: the plastimo is designed to be held close to your face to be able to read the prism (but optically it looks further away, so reading glasses not needed, I think.) while the weems & plath is designed to be pulled away from your neck and held a few feet away pulling on the neck strap.

I think both designs work well enough, but it can be a surprise when switching from one to the other. Very happy with my plastimo to save $$$.
Oddly that was one of the reasons I spent the extra money for the W&P. I like having the compass out in front of me while doing the good old “string on a stick” wind readings. I can see the string and the puck at the same time.

I’ll also admit those useless rubber wings on the Plastimo just annoyed me. Did it ever occur to them that we might put it in a pocket? Either way, they’re both great compasses.
 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
11,078
2,711
Not so much for racing, but for RC, these two toys are probably the most critical things besides a radio.

AA044EC1-9A1D-47CC-A77D-3358F3D63778.jpeg
 

beercanned

Member
50
50
'fornia
Vion user here. They're super steady and easy to read.

Have two, one on the boat, one in my nav bag for when I'm racing other people's boats.
 

Crash

Super Anarchist
5,205
1,110
SoCal
I liked the Autohelm ones. Could store up to 9 bearings. So for a 3 point fix I'd click button 3 times on first point, 3 more for second time, 3 again for last point.

Then when reading them out you can look at the first 3 and take a mental average. But it has a fluxgate compass that must be kept very flat or it gets inaccurate.

Nowadays I use a hand bearing compass for collision detection and sometime clearing bearings on an obstacle (like clearing a reef)
I still have Autohelm! Still works great. Also have a hockey puck as a backup.
 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
7,102
1,469
worldwide
I had one of those autohelm electronic, flat like a mobile phone hand bearing compasses

nice tool…

but the battery was always dead because I forgot to turn it off

I finally broke it…stepped on it…crunch ..bummer

but it was a nice tool
 

mckenzie.keith

Aspiring Anarchist
861
290
Santa Cruz
I had one of those autohelm electronic, flat like a mobile phone hand bearing compasses

nice tool…

but the battery was always dead because I forgot to turn it off

I finally broke it…stepped on it…crunch ..bummer

but it was a nice tool
Actually I had one way back when, too, now that you mention it. It was cool. But for some reason I used a "pistol grip" non-electronic one most of the time. Don't remember who made it. I remember it being kind of cockeyed when we got to Australia. I guess due to the vertical component of Earth's magnetic field pointing in a different direction or something like that.
 

sAiLiNg AnArChY

Novmember
39
16
The W&P has an infinity prism that allows you to view it at arms length and not required reading glasses. Handy feature!

Does the Vion have this? Can't tell from their web site. The Vion seems $100 cheaper.
 

mckenzie.keith

Aspiring Anarchist
861
290
Santa Cruz
IPHONE has a compass, works ok.
My cell phone (not an iphone) has a compass but it sucks. I have the Iris now. I will see how it works out on the water before buying anything else. I played with it a little and it seems to be a quality item. The "infinity prism" allows me to focus on the bearing without reading glasses, so that is night. I am sure the iphone has no infinity prism. But it might have a hold reading button or something like that.
 

mckenzie.keith

Aspiring Anarchist
861
290
Santa Cruz
Can you post the link? I see them only for closer to $100


Looks like SA automatically ads affiliate links. I didn't do that. Feel free to strip the link.
Also, and this is weird, the price in the thumbnails is different from what I see when I clicked on the link, and changes from time to time. Now I feel like I got ripped off paying 80 bucks!
 
Last edited:

beercanned

Member
50
50
'fornia
The W&P has an infinity prism that allows you to view it at arms length and not required reading glasses. Handy feature!

Does the Vion have this? Can't tell from their web site. The Vion seems $100 cheaper.
Yes, the Vion is also an infinity prism. Really good when sailing with contact lenses in.
 

10thTonner

Hazard to Navigation
1,730
659
South of Spandau
silva-schiffskompass-70-une-mit-beleuchtunggarmin_1.jpg



I have a Silva my dad bought some 25 years ago but since I’m mostly sailing inshore I never use it. Might even leave it at home next spring.

However, I like it. It has a nice handle and it comes with a mounting bracket so you could also use it as a steeeing compass for a small boat.
 
Last edited:

mckenzie.keith

Aspiring Anarchist
861
290
Santa Cruz


Davis. I have one on my boat that I bought in the 70's. I find it easier to use than the hockey puck. It can however be fragile, you can't just toss it down. I've glued mine together a few times.....

Today, going through an old go bag with expired flares and such, I found one of those in it. So now I have one of those AND a puck. My impression of the Davis is that it might be a little bit fiddly to have both a front sight and rear sight to keep lined up.
 

CFS Klopas

Member
88
13
Surprised no one mentioned the lensatic compasses used by hikers that perform a similar function. $5-$30.
 

Se7en

Super Anarchist
1,482
593
Melbourne
Surprised no one mentioned the lensatic compasses used by hikers that perform a similar function. $5-$30.
Thanks - I was just thinking the same thing. I've got good use out of a silva hiking compass over the years. Take a bearing, set the compass to that bearing and check. Check again later, easy to see variation.
 




Top