Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Trivia and compasses


What is the most common first name among men who have IOF world ranking points?

Give it some thought...the answer is at the end of today's post.

Compass preference

From a comment on yesterday's entry:

Would you give your thoughts, personal, researched or both on the use of base plate and thumb compasses?

I use one of these:

I've been orienteering for about 25 years. For maybe 15 years, I used a baseplate compass. For about 5 years I carried just the round housing part of a baseplate compass (i.e. a baseplate compass without the baseplate). For the last 5 years, I've been using the Silva compass in the photo above. I've tested a thumb compass a few times.

My preference is the compass I use now. I like how easy it is to carry. I like how when you look at your map you see the compass easily. You can't "take a bearing." But, I can only recall one time in the last 10 years when I wished I'd been able to take a bearing.

In the first few years I orienteered, I did a fair amount of training where I'd set a bear, follow it for 400 meters or so, and then check to see if I'd run in a straight line. The idea wasn't to train to run on a compass, it was to train to run in a straight line. I'm glad I was using a baseplate for that sort of training (though a thumb compass would have worked just as well).

My preference for compasses is weak. If I was standing at the start, with one minute to go, and you took away my compass and gave me another type, I don't think I'd have any trouble adapting.

Trivia answer

The single most common first name among men in the IOF world ranking list is.....Martin. But, you could make a case that Alexander-like names are more common (counting the various spelling: Alexander, Aleksandr and Oleksandr). Here are the top 10:


Don't ask why I checked on this. It was just a moment of curiousity. Maybe I'll check the most common women's names tomorrow.

posted by Michael | 8:46 PM


Any idea where you can get one of those compasses? I think it would be perfect for Adventure Racing (easy to use on the bike or while paddling).

Gale tells me they stopped sending them to US distributors due to low volume. Compass Point has a picture of one on it's website, but the product isn't listed.
Canadian team member and 18 time (or something like that)Canadian Champ, Pam James also uses one of those. She says she really likes the solid thumb grip that you get with it as opposed to the thumb compass
Bruton Canada, or whatever Silva is called here, used to be able to get them in. They were based in Peterbrough Ontario, but I can't seem to locate their website now.
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