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Help me choose a new compass

Discussion in 'Smaller Boats' started by Kermit, Oct 24, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Kermit


    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,490 posts, 1,632 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    As y’all can see here my compass is shot. I wouldn’t feel the need for one on our lake but this one really makes our boat look bad. I’d like to get a nice one without spending too much over $200. SBO has what must be OMG nice ones. has some that seem to be reasonably priced. There’s got to be one that will tell me which direction I’m headed without costing a fortune. What say y’all?

    Attached Files:

  2. Dave Groshong

    Dave Groshong SBO Staff Staff Member

    Joined Jan 25, 2007
    1,255 posts, 72 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Seattle

    Alansails and Kermit like this.
  3. JRacer


    Joined Aug 9, 2011
    680 posts, 161 likes
    Beneteau 310
    US Cheney KS (Wichita)
    I've always had the Plastimo Olympic 135's - Both on the J24, bulkhead mounted, and now on the B310, binnacle mounted. 135 may be a bit bigger than what you have there, can't tell - hard to read it ;-). But I think they have a smaller version available. Think you got your money's worth!

  4. CloudDiver


    Joined Sep 8, 2014
    2,525 posts, 405 likes
    Catalina 22 Swing Keel
    US San Diego
    I like the Plastimo Mini Contest on my small boat. The Ritchie Navigator is nice but $$$ and huge. Even the Ritchie SR-2 Venture seemed too big. I did not want to make the previous mounting hole bigger, I actually used some thickened epoxy to make it slightly smaller. I think the Mini Contest 101 is the perfect size for 22 - 27 foot boats, IMO.

  5. kloudie1


    Joined Nov 6, 2006
    7,760 posts, 489 likes
    Hunter 34
    US Mandeville Louisiana
  6. Jackdaw


    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,657 posts, 2,030 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Hey froggy,

    Even on a lake, if you’re not using a compass going upwind, you’re missing half of your flies!!

  7. Justin_NSA


    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    4,544 posts, 677 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    Okay, someone had to post it. What is it that you want most?


  8. Ralph Johnstone

    Ralph Johnstone

    Joined Jan 4, 2006
    2,434 posts, 265 likes
    Hunter H-310
    CA West Vancouver, B.C.
    Great Scott man.

    That's not a compass ......... that's something out of a Stephen King novel.


  9. JimInPB


    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    783 posts, 221 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us West Palm Beach
    I've always had good luck with Ritchie compasses. 30 years ago, I even had one on my Sunfish.

    I currently have a (less expensive) V-537 explorer on my 212 & I'm happy with it. Unfortunately, that one is probably too small to fit the existing hole that needs to be filled on Kernit's 260. The explorer goes in a 3" hole.

    When I bought my 212, the existing compass had a smashed ball. I was able to buy the same model of compass from Ritchie & just swap out the broken ball. That let me avoid prying loose gobs of 5200 that anchored the original compass housing into the bulkhead.

    You often have a choice of 2 or 3 different card colors with the Ritche compasses. That is usually worth thinking about before an order is placed. A compass cover may also be worth thinking about.

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
    Alansails likes this.
  10. flynhi4u


    Joined Oct 28, 2013
    618 posts, 160 likes
    Hunter 20
    US Lake Monroe
    My thought too. Whatever compass you get I would suggest swapping the bulb out for a LED bulb if it comes with the old style incadescent bulb. I was appalled when I turned our compass light on for the first time and saw it was pulling more power than all the LED running lights combined! One 3 buck led wedge bulb solved that problem. Good luck Frog.


  11. bletso


    Joined Aug 20, 2013
    93 posts, 8 likes
    Globe 38
    US PCB

    Sailm8 likes this.
  12. Roland5048


    Joined May 12, 2004
    993 posts, 270 likes
    Hunter Cherubini 30
    US New Port Richey
    I'd go with the Moral Compass but they seem to be in short supply these days. :poke:

    Will Gilmore, Kermit and Rick D like this.
  13. Justin_NSA


    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    4,544 posts, 677 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS

  14. Rick D

    Rick D

    Joined Jun 14, 2008
    6,512 posts, 153 likes
    Hunter Legend 40.5
    US Long Beach, Shoreline Marina, CA
    Perfect, Justin! I had mine serviced about ten years locally, but the guy did large commercial ships and only did mine as a favor. I bookmarked that page.

  15. Kings Gambit

    Kings Gambit

    Joined Jul 27, 2011
    2,639 posts, 438 likes
    Bavaria 38E
    US Alamitos Bay
    Andrews helped me w/ repair & parts for my Suunto binnacle compass, now 20 yr old. Great guy; very helpful.

  16. Kermit


    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,490 posts, 1,632 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    Looks like refurbishing may not be possible and almost certainly not cost-effective. Right now I’m leaning toward ordering from SBO. The one I have is made by Aqua Meter. I can’t tell from the picture what model it is. The el-cheapo model (likely what it is) can’t be repaired. The better model will cost as much to repair as the one @Dave Groshong recommended.

  17. Meriachee


    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,460 posts, 629 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Wabamun - on the orange ball
    I was gonna take a picture of the one on the iPhone, but my iPhone was busy.

  18. Apex


    Joined Jun 19, 2013
    724 posts, 72 likes
    Oday 28
    US Traverse City
    highly recommend SBO! This thread made me check offerings for a new mainsheet traveller I was looking at. Dave price matched sale price. THANKS DAVE.

    Dave Groshong likes this.
  19. Drew13440


    Joined May 6, 2004
    191 posts, 17 likes
    - -
    US Potomac
    Kermit, I bought the compass Dave recommended. It's not installed yet (I need a rainy Saturday to make a faring block) but I can tell you it's well made, well balanced and looks sharp. I don't see any downside to it.

    Kermit likes this.
  20. Kermit


    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,490 posts, 1,632 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    My iPhone can multi-task.

    Attached Files:

    Meriachee likes this.