The U.S. Coast Guard Museum, Seattle, Washington

Sinuous Course Clock

Sinuous Course Clock - US Coast Guard Museum - Seattle

A Sinuous Course Clock used during WWII. The clocks were attached to the Gyro Compass and had a cam that drove a pointer to help the helmsman steer so that ships traveling in convoys would turn at the same time and in the same direction.

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2 Responses to Sinuous Course Clock

  1. John Dapper says:

    I was a helmsman on several destroyers in the 1960s. The clocks were still around, but rarely used. The cams were classified. I only got to steer once using the clock. All the ships have to start at the same time and at the same point on the cam. You never steer a straight course. You keep the pointer over the base course and are always using some rudder. The ship are continuously on a curving line of advance. Reaching a major change on the cam, points and valleys, usually means full rudder turns. It’s interesting to watch several ships turning together. I noticed all of these clocks are removed from museum ships. I don’t think they were used on auxiliary or merchant ships. Just high speed warships.
    The point of the clock it to make it difficult for the enemy to predict your course and speed in the time before homing torpedoes.

    • captnmike says:

      Thanks for the history update – I would think watching the ships all move in formation was awesome – thanks for your service – have a couple of friends that were in the navy about your time

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