Looking for Suunto K-161 Compass

Thread starter #1
Price $
100
State
TEXAS
Suunto stopped selling this model 20 + years ago. Hard to find, but must be a few out there.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#4
Suunto stopped selling this model 20 + years ago.
I think it was discontinued at least thirty, maybe even forty years ago... I associate them with 1970s OK Dinghies.

Just curious: why do you want one? My impression is that they were complicated to use, hard to read, and didn't tolerate more than a few degrees of heel.

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Thread starter #6
I think it was discontinued at least thirty, maybe even forty years ago... I associate them with 1970s OK Dinghies.

Just curious: why do you want one? My impression is that they were complicated to use, hard to read, and didn't tolerate more than a few degrees of heel.

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On the contrary, I love this compass for its simplicity! The K-161had a rotating bezel with 2 translucent green wedges. The compass card has a red sector the same size, about 40 degrees. Sailing close-hauled on Starboard tack, I would align the Starboard green wedge above the Red card sector. If I saw Red between the green, it was a lift. Red on the other side was a header. After talking to Port, the other wedge comes into play.

The beauty is that you never need to read numbers. This is great for us nearsighted folks with water spots on our prescription sunglasses.

You’re right about not tolerating much of a heeling angle, but if you’re sailing to win races on a Texas lake with oscillating shifts, you shouldn’t be heeling much, and you’re generally not watching your compass in the middle of a roll tack.

So should I look for one on an OK Dingy group.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#7
should I look for one on an OK Dingy group.
Well, that's just the boat from which I remember the K-161; many other classes used it in the mid-1970s during the heyday of the "flat" tactical compasses.

When I said "hard to read", I meant that like the K-16 and other "flatties", it needs to be viewed from as straight above as possible. You can't really see it very well from a hard-hiking position, and to compensate, you usually had two of them, each close to the gunwale in front of you.

The K-161 wasn't very durable, either - if you see an old boat that still has them, the adjustable green sectors are likely broken off.

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