I've used both a base-plate compass and a thumb compass and have concluded that each has its advantages and disadvantages. Like you picked up on today, you do have to fold the map more and be careful with allignment when using a thumb-compass, but you get used to it with time. When I was using a base-plate compass, it would often slip around on the map while I was running with it and I would have to adjust it often. (But this was also a year ago, when I spent 3 hours on an orange course, so perhaps I'd do better with one now.) Nonetheless, I do think I get a steadier grip on the map and worry less about dropping my compass when using a thumb one.
You should probably give this new compass a few more tries and then experiment with using a base-plate again, just to see which one is more comfortable. Both types are available with fast-settling needles, so it's really just a matter of how to hold the compass that you need to consider.
I traditionally held my base-plate compass in the same hand as the map, and on the map itself - and I never take bearings, but rather just run on an estimate - so the thumb compass didn't feel too unnatural today. It was definitely useful that it was always in position when I looked down at my map. But I'll still need a few runs before I'm used to it, and will keep the base-plate handy pre-race for a backup.
3 hours on an orange is impressive - might even qualify you for membership of OCCO if you had been at Oxford then!
distracted can, I expect, offer a more complete history/synopsis of OCCO. It was set up by the legendary Ian Cumpstey, although it might have existed before then. Membership of OCCO is automatically awarded to anyone who has taken *over* 3 hours to finish a normal race (so you are probably OK) or with a split of more than 45 minutes for a normal race. Nailest was the secretary, and for some reason I was on the committee too, despite having never qualified. There is an occasional OCCO dinner - see links below.
I tried Googling for OCCO - the only references i can find are on the OUOC website, here
- there's a few others.
OCCO stands for 'Oxford Coven of Crap Orienteers'. I think I have membership of this elusive sect after a disastrous run at Epping Forest a few years ago.
A couple other things: shame about the weather, it was gloriously sunny in the Lakes :). And happy birthday for yesterday!