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    Could anybody recommend a compass for use in a Wayfarer. We hope to start cruising in the Bristol Channel soon, as opposed to going where the wind takes us. A compass is one thing we don’t have.

    Not looking to spend too much, and don’t want to drill too many holes or cut outs.




    The cheap solution would be the Silva-85 mounted on top of the deck in front of the mast, just behind the V of the breakwater.

    One step up is the Silva-103 mounted on a mast bracket. The latter is also available in a racing versions (103PE). A racing compass makes it easy to recognize headers or lulls and it gives a prediction of the new course to steer after the tack.

    Finally there is the pinnacle of compasses, every racer’s wet dream, the ‘Tacktick’ digital compass, mounted on a bracket on the mast. It gives perfect header/lull information, has audible indications, has a start timer and lots and lots more goodies. A real wanna-have. It just shouldn’t be that bloody expensive!


    Dont know what experiences anyone else has had with Tacktick but I bought their Micro compass a while back for cat racing. Used it a small amount, it then lay idle for a few years until I bought my first wayfarer. Decided to start using it again but totally struggled to get any degree of charge into it despite leaving in bright sunlight for long periods such that it barely worked even on sunny days. Its now totally given up the ghost so I too am looking for a compass. Perhaps its because I didn’t use it for a while or maybe these things just have a finite life. Either way I’m definitely not a fan of items that have a built in bespoke battery – I think I read somewhere that the unit isn’t serviceable. Whatever I replace it with has to be something that can be relied upon 100% when cruising.




    Another option is the Silva 70. see attached picture – mounted on a couple of wooden blocks with ‘v’s sanded to fit the mast and held on by a bungee that pulls over clips. Mounting idea stolen from Matt, I think.

    Some considerations are keeping it away from genoa sheets, which is why I moved it off the deck. Another is if you need a lit compass – I steer by red headlight at night, but a lit compass might be a better idea.

    By the way, it is guaranteed to work in he Bristol Channel – photo taken off Portishead

    Dave Bevan

    We have a Silva 73, which was fitted onto the centreboard case on our MKII, and now on our MKIV. Ours is the racing version, with the tactical scale around the card.

    No need to drill holes; fix the bracket to a small piece of ply, which can be attached with self-adhesive Velcro, or similar (I use 3M dual-lock, which is velcro on steroids!). On the MKIV, we had to raise the compass up to clear the spinnaker halyard – I used a piece of square rain-water pipe, and the halyard runs through the pipe. I’ve mounted it slightly to the right, and it just clears the centerboard.

    The Ritchie Tactical compass also looked a good option, and could probably be fixed without drilling the boat, but is a bit smaller and might be more diffiicult to read.


    Thanks all, just taken delivery of a Silva 70UNE, with the optional red backlight.

    Will experiment with mounting at the weekend…


    Just wondering if you have any feedback on the 70UNE? In particular have you had chance to try out the backlight and possibly assess battery life?


    Bob Harland

    The handbook states approx 20 hrs – but I have not tested that.

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