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  #1  
Old 5th April 2018, 13:35
pete8 pete8 is offline  
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Compasses

Could someone please remind me what the bridge compass arrangements were around the 1950 /60s. Not that it would make any difference but my query is relative to the BTC / BP fleets.

I do recall that the magnetic compass , within the binnacle was on the monkey island but am I right that the steering compass within the wheelhouse would be a gyro repeater.

Can't believe that I have forgotten this!

Pete
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  #2  
Old 5th April 2018, 16:09
Cutsplice Cutsplice is offline  
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I do not know about BP in that era, however there were many companies with a standard compass on the bridge but a gyro repeater was used as the steering compass. There would also be the usual standard compass on the monkey island, it was a no no for the helmsman to turn up for his steering trick wearing a knife and spike if a standard compass was on the bridge.
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  #3  
Old 5th April 2018, 17:42
Split Split is offline  
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The war built Forts had no gyro. We steered by magnetic compass. We got compass errors every watch. The first gyro I saw was on Woldingham Hill, when I was 3rd Mate., that was 1954. There was no room for the master compass, so it was stuck in the chartroom. Took up a lot of space. The OM would not allow steering by gyro, though. He did not trust them. T2s had them. Radar, too! Thank God for the Yanks!

I remember that, when I got my gyro and radar certificates, one OM quizzed me the whole time because he had to get them next leave. He was frightened that he might lose his job. Naturally, I made it sound worse than it was.
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Old 5th April 2018, 18:41
China hand China hand is offline  
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Normally a dry compass on the monkey island, a liquid compass in the steering position in the wheelhouse. Or have I got it the other way around?
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  #5  
Old 5th April 2018, 18:46
Dartskipper Dartskipper is offline  
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Some compasses I saw were supposed to be liquid, but were mostly dry.
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  #6  
Old 5th April 2018, 19:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartskipper View Post
Some compasses I saw were supposed to be liquid, but were mostly dry.
Never seen a dry compass. I thought that they were too lively for working on ships. The liquid in them dampens the movement down.
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  #7  
Old 5th April 2018, 22:38
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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On the "Ocean" class of cargo ships built for the UK goverment during WWII the compass on the monkey Island was the standard compass and the "official compass". The one in the wheelhouse was the steering compass.
There were no Gyro compass at the time I was on them.
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Old 5th April 2018, 23:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete8 View Post
Could someone please remind me what the bridge compass arrangements were around the 1950 /60s. Not that it would make any difference but my query is relative to the BTC / BP fleets.

I do recall that the magnetic compass , within the binnacle was on the monkey island but am I right that the steering compass within the wheelhouse would be a gyro repeater.

Can't believe that I have forgotten this!

Pete
Hi Pete, my memory of the wheelhouse may be a bit clouded after 66 years - I was on the BTC British Caution in 52&53 - but I recall, after many hours of steering, that the binnacle was on the bridge and the compass was magnetic. I'm pretty sure there was no binnacle on the monkey island, perhaps the DF, though.

Cheers,

Taff
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  #9  
Old 6th April 2018, 11:00
pete8 pete8 is offline  
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compasses

All these interesting and differing replies have set me wondering if , in fact, the Br. Renown (1927) had a gyro compass. Certainly there was a standard compass / binnacle on the monkey island.....I had to polish the brass hood of the wretched thing twice a week with a piece of old bunting and an oily mix of powdered bath brick and colza. No fancy metal cleaning chemicals in those days.

The magnetic compasses were ( are) wonderful things ....are they still standard equipment today.
I never came across a dry compass either.

Pete.
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  #10  
Old 6th April 2018, 18:44
China hand China hand is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Split View Post
Never seen a dry compass. I thought that they were too lively for working on ships. The liquid in them dampens the movement down.
The "card" was made up of segments, I forget how many degrees per segment. It was indeed lively, but on Westbank in 1960 we had one wet and one dry. I just can't visualise which was standard and which was steering.
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  #11  
Old 6th April 2018, 19:20
saudisid saudisid is offline  
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Magnetic Compass

Ellermans had dry card on Standard on Monkey Island and liquid as a steering compass.

Dependent on the age of the ship the Master Gyro was

a] in Gyro room about ships cog
b] in the wheel house
c] in chart room
e] In the City of Ottawa [ ex Glasgow ] the Arma Brown was 2 decks
on the boat deck.
Alan
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  #12  
Old 7th April 2018, 00:25
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John Rogers John Rogers is offline  
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I have also seen a compass on the Poop Deck.
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  #13  
Old 7th April 2018, 00:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rogers View Post
I have also seen a compass on the Poop Deck.
Yes John, and some of those mid war built ships with the straight vertical stems and overhang counter sterns had an emergency wheel on the poop as well in case the power steering gear broke down.
I imagine that it would be a strong armed job to man the wheel there in heavy weather .

Bob
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  #14  
Old 7th April 2018, 03:07
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I was told by a few old salts I sailed with that they had seen crew members break the glass in the compass and drink the fluid with a mix of lime juice.
Sailed on a few with the big wheel on the stern.
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  #15  
Old 7th April 2018, 10:32
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I was wondering if anybody had ever sailed with the gyro made by an Italian company, which for the life of me I can't remember, which was much used with CP Ships. With CP the gyro was usually left to the REO to look after.

It was situated in the Bridge console, and the gyro itself was built into a sort of cannonball, that floated free in a large tub of strictly temperature controlled fluid (and no John, I didn't try to drink it, it was I think some kind of glycerine mix ) all of this controlled by magnetic suspension.

You peered through a small window to check that the cannonball was floating in exactly the right position. It was very Heath Robinson, but it worked well. The main problems I had with it was keeping the 'ball' at the right level.

I would much appreciate if anybody could remember the name of the make, which I'm sure was Italian.
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  #16  
Old 7th April 2018, 12:21
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I would much appreciate if anybody could remember the name of the make, which I'm sure was Italian.
They were Microtechnica and you are right they were Italian, we were agents (Racal- Decca) for them in the UK and I serviced many of them, they were pretty reliable provided they were serviced regularly, they needed the fluid changed about every two years which involved opening them up giving a thorough clean with alcohol of the container and gyrosphere then refilling with new fluid that had to be mixed pretty accurately so that when the container was up to temperature the sphere was floating at the correct height which could be checked through the window, there was nothing magnetic about it the height was purely dependent in the fluid temperature which if I remember rightly was controlled between 49 and 51 degrees.

I can remember some being fitted on trawlers in Fleetwood they put them just inside the bridge by a wing door and had a major problem, when they got off Iceland in the winter every time someone opened the door the sudden big drop in freezing temperatures caused the container temperature to drop and the sphere started giving errors as it touched the bottom, in the end they had to relocate the complete gyro compass to a room below the bridge.

Last edited by cajef; 7th April 2018 at 13:41..
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  #17  
Old 7th April 2018, 13:49
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Many thanks cajef. Microtechnica … been trying to remember that for a while.

Yes I think I got the magnetic part mixed up with the way power was fed to and from it. Also with this little lamp on my desk that keeps a 'round' Earth suspended via a magnetic field. Nice little toy apart from the 'round' Earth thing.
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Last edited by BobClay; 7th April 2018 at 13:52..
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  #18  
Old 7th April 2018, 13:58
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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My own experience, for what it might be worth, is that ships of that era commonly had the standard magnetic compass on the monkey island, steering (magnetic) compass one deck below, in the wheelhouse, with gyro compass standing alongside. Another remembered snippet is that a gyro compass gives three clicks to a degree.

All of this, as far as I can recall, was standard rig in Blue Flue and other major players from the late 1950s until most such things disappeared.
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  #19  
Old 7th April 2018, 15:49
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I seem to remember that the actual gyro of the gyro compass lived in a temple down in the belly of the ship, where it spun and clicked. On the bridge was a repeater, connected by some mystical means with the God below. A task was to visit the Temple and tell an acolyte above via telephonic apparatus what the God said, so it could be compared with the repeater, or perhaps with the magnetic.

Scary stuff of a mystical nature.
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  #20  
Old 7th April 2018, 16:07
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The first Arkas JO4 autopilots had a magnetic compass in a binnacle in the wheelhouse with a bezel around the face of the compass which could be turned until an arrow pointed to the course you wanted to steer, there was a voltage from the JO4 fed to a plug under the compass it had an electrolyte in the liquid and electric sensors so as the card swung the sensors picked up the magnetic field and the vessel came round onto the chosen course.

Last edited by cajef; 7th April 2018 at 16:10..
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  #21  
Old 7th April 2018, 19:00
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While I remember those 'gyro-rooms' further down in the ship where a mysterious Dalek like machine lurked, by the time I left the sea in the mid-eighties the gyro-compass had been reduced to the size of a small box in the wheelhouse (S.G. Brown or Hawker Siddeley as I remember it from CP Ships.)

There was a large box on the bulkhead which was concerned with the distribution to the repeaters. There were a lot of repeaters for things like auto-pilot, radars, DF's, Satnavs plus all the observational repeaters scattered about everywhere.

The gyro-compass and its various related systems was a subject in itself ..
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  #22  
Old 8th April 2018, 13:10
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Yes the Sperry had this massive great machine down the bowles of the ship and as second mate you were required to care for the beast. A short coarse at the Sperry works and you were on your own.One had mercury pots in its workings and we always had extra. Going down West Africa there was a market for this stuff. Found out latter it was used to find gold. Gold bearing ore was powdered down with rocks and the dust sprinkled on the mercury. After a little while the dirt was wiped off and the mercury poured into another container. If there was gold it was at the bottom. Only gold which was heavier than the mecury would filter down. No body ever questioned why every trip we ordered more mercury. By the way were were never told of the hazards on being in contact with this stuff.
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  #23  
Old 8th April 2018, 17:33
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I am quite glad that the robot in the room wasn't just a bad dream.
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  #24  
Old 8th April 2018, 18:56
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Served my time on BTC tankers fro Jan '55 to 1960. All the ships that I served on had Brown gyro steering compass with the Magnetic compass on the monkey island.
It was not until I joined Shell Mex and BP coastal ships that the one and only magnetic compass was in the wheel
house for steering in quarter points. All instructions were given in quarter points also.
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  #25  
Old 8th April 2018, 18:59
Engine Serang Engine Serang is offline  
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Mr V has a compass whilst magnetically sound has a bit of variation on the moral scale. Or should that be deviation?
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