A large number of sea kayaks come with a recess for mounting a deck compass. For most paddlers they remain empty and hand held compasses or the removable deck/hatch mount versions are used. Having a deck mounted compass installed during construction is usually an optional extra and you pay for the convinience. The typical price for a Silva deck compass is around £70. To have one pre-installed when you purchase a new Sea kayak means adding around £120-£150. Therefore, many paddlers choose to self install.
Tools & Parts
- Drill & Drill Bit
- Stainless Yachting Nuts & Bolts x 4 (optional)
- Silva Compass
- Kayak Stand (optional)
- string line
Clean the compass mounting area thoroughly.
Ignore the template! Well, not quite, but I used the template initially but also relied on the compass mounting itself which was slightly different. The template is stuck to the deck (easy peel to remove) and I used this to mark the holes, then utilised the actual compass itself to double check to position of the holes.
Drill slowly each of the 4 holes. I used a larger bolt size than the supplied self-tapping screws as I wanted to more secure fitting. Due to this I also had to drill out the compass housing and the brass insert that comes with it to the correct size.
Apply a very small amount of Sikaflex or similar to the holes. Drop in compass and feed bolt through holes.
Apply more generous helping of skiaflex to the underside of the deck around the bolt before attaching the nuts and tighten to hand tight. This should allow the actual compass the be rotated in its housing to align it.
This may prove to be tricky – I used a small adjustable spanner held ‘upright’ to the nut to hold it in place as I screwed the bolt in. Screwing the compass down would have proved simple but not, I fear, as secure.
Aligning the compass: It is vital that the compass is set so the lubber lines are in line with the longitudinal axis. The best way to achieve this is to run string from the bow to stern centre points and use this to rotate the compass in it’s housing until the lubber lines are in line with your string.
Tighten the bolts. This will seal the holes fully and also now prevent the compass from being turned in it’s housing.
Care & Maintenance:
To keep the compass in tip top condition, there are a few things you should do. Firstly take care carrying the kayak – catching the compass on a roof rack bar or wall edge (as I nearly did) could cause terminal damage. The glass needs regular cleaning with a lint free cloth to keep it readable. Finally, you should recheck the alignment on a regular basis.