Where to mount a compass, how far fwd?

I finally exercised some xmas gift certificates and got a nice Ritchie Kayaker flush-mount compass for my Prijon Catalina. I normally rely on gps, maps, dead reckoning and a hand-held compass for back-up, but trying to read the little dial in rough seas is kind of nausea-inducing. I don’t do any expedition paddling (yet) but found myself to be uncomfortable following the little lcd arrow to our crossing point in a thick fog last year. Irishmanng was with me, and had a good bearing, as did two others, but still…

Because of my deck layout, I can either mount the Ritchie just forward of my cockpit opening, or so far forward I won’t be able to reach the movable bezel. Is there a downside to having the compass too close to yourself? I can’t mount it at arm’s length, as I wouldn’t be able to see it over my deck bag, a necessary evil as I often lead trips and must carry spares. Is 4" in front of the coaming’s forward lip OK? It would not interfere with my stroke or egress there, I’m more concerned about being able to follow the lubber line when it’s that close (visually) to me.

compass where ?
for me, i’ve found that mounting the compass as far forward as possible is best. you CAN see it, and looking forward rather than down enables you to see land positions relative to the compass. too, looking down causes some folks to get sea sick. look at where NDK and other such boats have the compass recess.

I Too
have found that mounting the compass as far forward as possible is best. It’s not hidden behind my deck bag (snacks&water?)where I can’t see it. I have one on my seaward Ascente that is mounted about about 24" from the cockpit witch seems to work fine and I can read it well too. This spot is good for navgating as I can line up the compass with the bow of my boat and a point of refrance. Well hope this helps, George

I have an NDK and the compass recess is right in front of the front hatch. It’s very easy to see and nice to have it that far forward when the going gets rough.

Thanks, so far it sounds like…
…Mounting it forward and forgetting about the movable bezel is the safest option.

Also reduces sea sickness
The reason that so many manufacturers moved their compasses further forward is they found most people are more prone to getting seasick from looking up and down all the time. The further away, the less looking up and down. If you were already having touble with that using your handheld, you want to get that compass well forward.

Forward of the front hatch
is the way to go. One of the few gripes I have about my Slipstream is that the company mounted the compass between the cockpit and the front hatch and it is in the way of not only a chart or deck bag, but also my intent of installing a bulkhead mounted foot pump. If I had only had p-net to advise me back when I bought the boat!

I’ve had boats with the compass recess before the front bulkhead and with it in front of the forward hatch. I much prefer the latter position, not only for visibility, but because it makes mounting accessories (bilge pump, under-deck bag) under the foredeck or on the bulkhead (foot pump) easier.

On the front hatch cover
If you are a bit leery of the commitment of drilling mounting holes in your boat, you could do what I have seen some others do - buy a spare hatch cover (good idea anyway) then mount the compass to the cover itself. You may have to make a rigid backplate out of a reusable thick plastic “picnic” plate or frisbee. You then also have the advantage of being able to remove the compass during transport, when it is most likely to be broken.

One more reason to
mount it far forward: it’s less likely to get damaged or dislodged by your paddle when rolling.