The most useful bit of kit in your kit bag – a good hand bearing compass is essential for a Race Officer.  Also essential equipment for your mark laying teams – we just can’t set a laid course without them.  I also like my rescue team to have them in case of poor visibility. 

For thirty years I have used the same Silva Type 30 Compass initially for navigation and then Race Management.  Unfortunately the prism has lost a lot of its mirror coating and has had to be replaced by an Iris 50.  If you know anyone who could fix my old Silva – get in touch.

In the UK and Ireland this is the one Compass that is universally available and almost indestructible: the Plastimo Iris 50

It comes in a variety of colours, has a rubber surround and lanyard.  In this type of compass you sight over the top focusing on the distant object.  Easy to use and will cost around  £60.00

I have found this in use all over the world.  Works for me.  Great choice for mark laying teams as it is very robust.

Plastimo Iris 50

Silva Sight Master

This particular compass takes some getting used to - you sight it with one eye and keep the other eye open and focused on the remote object. it did not suit me - try it in the shop before buying. Around £60.00

The Ritchie

Flat bottom so can plonk it down on a RIB console and use it to steer by but not so good for sighting distant objects. Would probably do if the budget is really tight. Costs around £35.00 to £40.00.

Hand Bearing Compass

These older type hand bearing compasses can work well but are usually more expensive and need to be looked after - don't like getting dropped. Prices from around £80.00 upwards

My Old Silva Type 60

Really was a favourite of mine for a very long time but old age has taken its toll and the silvering on the prism has deteriorated to the extent that it is no longer useable. If you know who can fix it . . . . . .

My current, and all time favourite is this Japanese Compass gifted to me by my freind Hiro Hosaki, a Japanese Race Officer (who also owns a great Irish Pub in Fukuoka called The Ship). The photograph does not do the optics justice – they are just superb.  Unfortunately can not find it for sale online – but if you do – please let me know.

Fantastic Japanese Compass
View through viewfinder