Compass Options



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I can't see most kayak compass cards. They are too small. Here is some of the bigger ones meant for mounting on small boats and some hand held bearing compasses.






Ritchie Voyager Model RU-90
Voyager Small Sailboat Features
    • High-Visibility Blue 3" Dial with Extra Large Numerals
    • Internal Gimbal
    • Optional NiteVu Lighting
    • 45 & 90 Degree Lubber Lines
    • 45 Degree Heel Angle
    • Easily Installed. Click here to view a template of the mounting hole (NOTE: Be sure you print the template actual size).
    • 100% Repairable
    • Exclusive 5-Year Ritchie Warranty
Approx. Shipping Weight: 1 lb (454g)

Protective Cover: V-81-C

Replacement Parts

    • Light Assembly: NiteVu Lighting Kits: VL-100

Editor Notes: Compass does not have Built-in Compensators or Night Lighting. Order Protective Cover Model Number V-80-C if using NiteVu Lighting Kits. Requires cutting hole in kayak deck. There is also a version with a red compass card that has even higher visibility.
User Guide: Ritchievoyager.pdf



Brunton/Nexus/Silva 85R

Designed specifically for marine use, the Brunton 85R compass mounts to any dash or surface in the boat, where it provides intuitive, convenient navigation. The 85R includes such features as a direct reading disk and 5-degree graduations, making it easy to determine your bearing. And at 4.8 by 4.8 by 2.8 inches, it takes up a minimum of space. The 85R, which also weighs 12 ounces, is backed by a lifetime warranty.

20-25 Degree heal angle "Tolerates temperatures down to -30 centigrade"


manual: 85R.pdf


Editor Notes: There is a flush screw mounted version called the 70P for use if you have a built in deck recess. Not quite as readable as the above Ritchie compass but still quite good. It is more easily mounted. Factory available as an option on some kayaks.






Plastimo Iris 50 Hand Bearing Compass

The Iris 50 compass is clear evidence that a sturdy marine compass no longer needs to look austere.

  • Good protection against hard knocks ; the smooth finish feels soft in your hand, and it will not slip, even if it is wet.
  • Outstanding legibility of the card, with one-degree graduations
  • No parallax error : a prism projects the reading of the bearing to infinity. This also contributes to a more comfortable operation, as you do not need to alternate close-reading to read the card and infinite-reading to take bearings.
  • Optimum conditions to take bearings : thanks to the superb card stability and the wide 20 field of view, which will accommodate the roughest sea conditions.
  • Most accurate bearing : the pivot and very hard stone are a guarantee of long life and shock resistance of your compass.
  • Soft bottom cell : engineered using ultra-sonic welding, it acts like an expansion diaphragm, preventing the formation of bubbles and leaks.
  • Built-in photoluminescent lighting : completely maintenance-free, impervious to corrosion, operates without batteries or radio-active tritium.
  • Course reading from above the compass : you can read your compass like a standard compass, with no need to look through the prism.


Technical specifications
  • Two functions : hand bearing and traditional compass
  • Graduation : every 1
  • Field of view : 20
  • Clearance 12
  • Built-in photoluminescent lighting
  • Red lubber lines
  • Weight : 4oz
  • Working temperatures -20 C to +60 C
  • Water RESISTANT to 50 m

Editor Notes: Card digits are small but can be held close. Much less expensive than the Weems and Plath hockey puck hand held bearing compass and the digits on the compass card are much bigger. On the Weems and Plath the digits are so small as to make the compass unusable for direct reading. Looking through the sighting shows a large and highly readable compass bearing. Rugged construction and convenient size. I have heard some complaints about the difficulty of getting its photoluminescent night lighting to charge properly. Other military style hand compasses use tritium, a radioactive substance.

This compass is compensated for both hemispheres. I confirmed that it gives accurate readings in Chile Patagonia, at 48 degrees South latitude.

Confirmed: The luminous dial is not strong enough to be used at night. If you need to use this compass at night, get one with tritium on the dial.

Warning: Surprisingly, this compass unit does not float. I glued a cutout of 1/4 thick high density foam on the back. Now mine floats!

List Price: 120.00 Typical Price: $90.00



Available form West Marine.





Plastimo Iris 100 Course/Hand Bearing Compass
  • The Iris 100 is a universal compass
  • It can be installed on any inclination or position: vertical, horizontal, laying flat, upside down...
  • It is a course compass which can also be used to take bearings.
  • It can be taken away and moved around the boat
  • It is simply clipped on a smooth-edge bracket, designed not to catch sails or hurt fingers.
  • A soft rubber casing provides efficient Protection against shocks.

    These features make the Iris 100 an ideal compass for small boats dinghy, kayak, canoe, small fishing boat ....

    Technical specifications
  • Cone-shaped card with double reading (direct and horizontal)
  • Gimballed magnetic set : the card remains perfectly horizontal, whatever the angle of the compass installation.
  • 2 mobile lubber lines.
  • Legendary Plastimo pivot and hard stone guarantee the accuracy and the durability.
  • Iris 100 floats.
  • Weight : 295 g.
  • Available with buitin LED light using AAA battery
  • 30 degree heel angle

Editor Notes: Bracket is used to align compass to the lubber line on the kayak. Compass can be removed when hand carrying kayak or performing rescues. No information on water proof/resistance. I found this compass to be difficult to see through to make a bearing reading. The compass is difficult to sight when held close. It is more likely to be used at arms length. The Iris 50 was much easier to use as a bearing compass.

There is a deck version of this compass called the Mini-C which is essentially the compass guts of this hand held unit with a mounting ring. The unit requires drilling a hole in the kayak deck and some means of protecting the underside of the compass from damage, but the gimbaling mechanism is far superior to the compasses listed above and will provide good reading in all angles of lean.

The mount looks sturdy and the clips are recessed and protected from damage when performing a T-rescue. Additional mounts are available. Remember that if you just put this compass under your bungies on the foredeck that the reading does not necessarily correspond to the direction your kayak is going unless you have aligned the compass to the centerline of the kayak. Alignment and use of the bracket is strongly advised.

List Price: $210.00 Typical price $130.00 Best price $94.00


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EVEN THE BEST BOATERS CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN SERIOUS TROUBLE ON THE MILDEST OF DAYS IN THE OCEAN. PARTICIPATION IN THIS SPORT IS A STRENUOUS ACTIVITY. CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY SUCH ACTIVITY. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT EACH BOATER TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR HER OWN SAFETY, AND IS TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING THE DANGER LEVEL AND ACCEPTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF PARTICIPATING IN THIS SPORT.

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