Has anyone had problems with the Nylon "bolts" stripping out making it impossible to keep the unit attached? It appears that the only weakness in design is the connection between the unit and the bracket.
I agree with many of Geoff's points. The Tactic Race Master seems to be a great compass and is in its final stages of refinement. It is still a new product, but the company has a very good track record so far. From what I am told, the newest models will be out in March. The Race Master has dual angled readouts with top and bottom displays. The top is heading and the bottom has true wind direction. I think this is a nice feature. We have them on order at Hall Rigging and they should be in soon. Our 1999 J/24 catalog was mailed to the class last month. If you are not a member and wish to get one see www.hallrigging.com
Geoff and the J/24 community;
I started using the TackTick product last year and it is an excellent compass. I used the single display and found it adequate to read even from the rail. I think the Race Master is even nicer but for the price conscience I think the single display is plenty adequate. I also have a dealership set up with Tack Tick so its nice to see some support besides myself in the J/24's. If anyone has any questions please feel free to call me at 973-972-3902 or 718-356-2069.
Thanks and Happy Sailing.
Quantum Sail Design Group - New Jersey
First there was floating card compasses. They required a lot of concentrated
attention, and even the best compass watchers could only realistically detect a
5 degree wind shift.
Then came KVH's Sailscomp. It was a fantastic improvement because the numbers were easy to read and the dampening could be adjusted so that you did not have to have someone constantly staring at the compass. Two or three degree wind shifts could be easily noticed. Eventually every serious J/24 had a Sailcomp. KVH is a great company and they have a good track record, but any one who has owned one for any length of time will have experienced the occasional failure. It may have been that battery died, or the connection became corroded, or maybe the wire leading into the switch box became damaged when the mast was raised. Another common failure occurs when a small abrasion in the wire insulation allows water into the wire. The water is then wicked up into the display through capillary action and the display eventually dies.
Now there is a company called Tacktick which sells a new product called the Racemaster. It is a self contained, waterproof, dual display, solar powered digital compass. No wires! It weighs 13 ounces. The characters are 30 mm high, and it has a battery that allows for up to 200 hours of use with out the back-light. It also has a countdown timer as well as some other features that I don't really care about. The Racemaster sells for $699.99 and it includes a mast bracket and a carry case. They have a smaller, single display, model that is less expensive, but the characters are too small for a J/24.
I have used their prototype and it works very well. I don't usually endorse products other than my sails, but this is definitely something that I am going to use from now on. I expect it to be more reliable than a Sailcomp, and I won't have to be concerned with recharging that big heavy battery anymore. It's not going to give you any better information than a properly functioning Sailcomp, but it is a very slick device. A lot of other one design classes have already switched to the smaller versions.
So before anyone goes out and buys a new Sailcomp, or spends a lot of money trying to repair an old one take a look at the Tacktick's Racemaster compass. You can buy it though me, or you can try www.tacktick.com.