It is both required and a good idea to have a fixed “ship’s compass”. Over the last several years, the B&G compass has met Dorade’s requirements, but this has changed. With blue water and long distance sailing planned, a reliable and power independent compass is a must. The problem for us then, is where to mount a fixed compass. When they were the primary method of navigation, clearly compasses needed to be mounted front and center, even if they were perhaps in the way. Today, with modern instruments we have our choice of displays that can read out the highly accurate gyro compass readings… Unless power is lost or any of a host of other issues bring the trusty magnetic compass back into the mix to get home.
On an interesting side note, in the early days, Dorade had a second compass on the aft deck. In Rod Stephen’s own words: “On Mustang and Dorade we had a standard compass on the stern. That wasn’t a good place but there wasn’t a good place forward and you can look at the aft or lubber line and you can read what course you are making and you can compare it very easily. In both cases it was very useful and warned if there was any problem.”
In the photo above, the binnacle mounted compass on Skylark shows one of the concepts considered for Dorade. Dorade’s installation would have a permanently mounted binnacle compass with a 5″ card half off and half on the bridge deck. The glass cover would be removed under sail to provide a lower profile.
A second option is completely removable and will also satisfy the requirements. Once the boom crutch is removed, a compass mounted in a small box can be inserted in a matter of moments into the crutch bracket on the cabin. It is relatively out of the way and has the benefit of being easily changed without marring Dorade. The compass shown would be moved to the right by an inch and made of mahogany, which would clear the port hole as well as look proper.