Posted by: towmasters | November 11, 2009

Old-School Plotting & Navigation Tools For The Discriminating Mariner – Part IV

Having already reviewed the “old” old-school stuff, it’s time to move on to some of the more modern versions of old-school. While certainly not new, years ago Weems & Plath did a great update of the basic divider with their 7″ aluminum Ultralights. What separates them from all the others is that the adjustment wheel allows for very precise measurements to be made and, most importantly, maintained and accurately transferred while using them. They hold their setting until you change it, which is something that many cheap dividers are mediocre to poor at. Celestaire has them for $14.50 and there’s not really a lot of room for improvement as far as I can tell. You’ll have to pry mine out of my cold, dead hands…..

wp_ultralight_divider

But if you’ve got to have the latest, the most recent incarnation of them is the LED LIGHTDivider. They sport a pair of red led’s (which won’t destroy your night vision) on the legs that provide illumination without casting shadows in the area you’re measuring, but otherwise appear to be very similar to the Ultralights. They sell for $29.99 at Landfall Navigation.

wp_led_lightdivider

Then we come to the Millennium dividers. These German-made, ergonomic one-hand dividers are compact at 6″ long and are made of very lightweight polyamide/glass fiber which won’t corrode. Or…..

wp_millenium_divider

…..they can also be had as a kit, one with the nifty thumb wheel similar to the ultralights. American Marine Supply has them both for $17.99 and $29.99 respectively.

wp_millenium_divider_kit

All three of these can be used as a compass and small leads are provided for that purpose, but changing them and adjusting their length is kind of a pain in the ass. Swapping back and forth frequently between using them as dividers and as a compass is an even bigger pain and will discourage the most determined amongst us. If you really have need of a compass you’re much better off having a dedicated one, so either buy a second pair of dividers and set them up for use as a compass or go all out and get the new 8-1/4″ Professional Brass Pencil Compass. It’s far better suited to that task and you’ll be way happier with it in the long run. They’re yours for $46.99 from Landfall.

wp_pencil_compass

For more see parts I, II & III of this series…..

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Responses

  1. The LED dividers are a nice idea but simply do not deliver what they promise. It’s a gimmick that might be useful under some circumstances but for every night…they aren’t worth it

  2. […] out the previous posts (Part I, Part II, Part III & Part IV) in this […]

  3. I really disliked the ultralights. I thought they were too stiff. Somewhere there is happy medium between being easy to move with one hand and not losing the setting.


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