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Old 19-06-2012, 04:13   #1
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Chain Counter

I am very tempted to install a chain counter on my anchor winch but I'm not sure if it is something nice to have or more a must have.
What do you sailors think out there?
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Old 19-06-2012, 04:38   #2
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Markings on the chain are a mist have
A chain counter is a nice to have but you should still mark the chain.
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Old 19-06-2012, 06:00   #3
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Re: Chain Counter

a counter is a "nice to have" and markings are kind of a "must have", but of course you must have know this
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Old 19-06-2012, 06:09   #4
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Re: Chain Counter

A chain counter is great, almost essential, if you drop or recover the anchor from the cockpit, without anyone on the foredeck.
If there is a crew member at the front chain markings are simpler and foolproof.
Not many yachts anchor without someone at the front, but if single handing or medmooring it can be useful to at least control the chain deployment from the cockpit. Cheap wireless remotes make this easy to do.
Without a chain counter you can estimate the amount of chain from the time if you know your gypsy speed and if you have plenty of chain it's not too critical, but with not much chain and lots of medmooring they are worth having, particularly if you have trouble estimating distances.
I fitted a new anchor winch recently and did not bother with the extra wiring of a chain counter.
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Old 19-06-2012, 06:12   #5
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Re: Chain Counter

I installed a Maxwell AutoAnchor on our boat. It counts chain by counting revolutions of the windlass so no "markings" on the chain are needed. It also allows programing of the chain drop so Med mooring with only two of us on the boat was easier. It will also retrieve the anchor automatically stopping when the anchor just hits the surface. It cost about $350 if I remember correctly and I installed it myself.
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Old 19-06-2012, 07:02   #6
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Re: Chain Counter

Chain counter is very good for big boats where there is no way you can lower the anchor and then quickly go back to the cockpit. It is also a very good thing if you sail solo, in any boat that has an electric winch.

Both assuming your control station (or one of them) is already in the cockpit.

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Old 28-06-2012, 06:02   #7
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Re: Chain Counter

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
A chain counter is great, almost essential, if you drop or recover the anchor from the cockpit, without anyone on the foredeck.
.....
No its not - depends on the boat - I can see the markings on my chain from the helm, as it runs through the winch, and I have the remote switch for the anchor winch at the helm, I do have to go forward to put the bridle on but only do that when I am satisfied I am anchored and holding.
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Old 28-06-2012, 06:10   #8
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Re: Chain Counter

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No its not - depends on the boat - I can see the markings on my chain from the helm, as it runs through the winch, and I have the remote switch for the anchor winch at the helm, I do have to go forward to put the bridle on but only do that when I am satisfied I am anchored and holding.
Yes there are a some boats where the chain can be seen adequately, from the helm, to see how much chain is out, or rarer be seen well enough to stop the windlass at the appropriate spot when retrieving the anchor. They are mostly smaller boats that would not fit a chain counter anyway, but as you point out there are exceptions, hence the
ALMOST essential.
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Old 28-06-2012, 15:53   #9
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Re: Chain Counter

Thanks for all the good feedbacks. I am fitting a new winch and most likely a chain counter as well. Wireless remote is tempting too.
My old winch takes up a lot of room in the anchor box but the new one will sit on top with motor and gearbox giving me more room downstairs.

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Old 28-06-2012, 15:59   #10
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Re: Chain Counter

Get a Maxwell Autoanchor. It counts chain but also allows you to program how much chain to drop - great for Med mooring when short handed. It also will retrieve chain and stop when the anchor is at the surface. It requires a magnet in the windlass and a microswitch that come with the unit + three wires back to the cockpit.
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Old 28-06-2012, 16:11   #11
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Re: Chain Counter

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Originally Posted by reiner View Post
Thanks for all the good feedbacks. I am fitting a new winch and most likely a chain counter as well. Wireless remote is tempting too.
My old winch takes up a lot of room in the anchor box but the new one will sit on top with motor and gearbox giving me more room downstairs.

Cheers
Reiner
Chain counters are great, and as already pointed out when singlehanding saves on sprinting up and down the deck....

But what is this downstairs?....
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Old 28-06-2012, 16:26   #12
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Re: Chain Counter

i neither count nor mark my chain yet i always know exactly how much i have down when at anchor.
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Old 28-06-2012, 16:29   #13
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Re: Chain Counter

Chain counter? I married mine. She loves it when I ask her to drop 957 links.
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Old 28-06-2012, 17:33   #14
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Re: Chain Counter

Caution - sardonic content follows:

Auto-anchor - next generation (not as yet released) consults the chartplotter, sounder, weatherforecasts.com and tidesRus - and the radar - in order to compute the necessary scope.

It interfaces with engine controls and helm unit to set and test the anchor while you're "downstairs" fixing drinks.

Sale will be contingent on prospective buyers posting a bond and signing a waiver indemnifying the vendor, the manufacturer, and all their heirs and assignees in perpetuity.

To use this system you must fly a flag with current contact details for your attorneys and insurance company.
In fact, the 'latest and greatest' enhanced Auto-Anchor will fly that flag for you.
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Old 28-06-2012, 18:13   #15
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Re: Chain Counter

As convenient as the remote anchoring and chain counter systems undoubtedly are, I actually prefer to eyeball my anchoring system whenever I'm going to be relying on it to keep the boat and crew safe. Actually going onto the foredeck and checking the anchor-chain connection, dropping the anchor and watching the chain as it runs out at least gives me the opportunity to make sure the ground tackle doesn't have any major issues. Marked chain is never going to have electrical issues or suddenly stop working .... its simple and effective. Sure you have to renew your markings every now and then, but its a great reason to pull out your chain and lay it out, check it and re-stow it again.

I don't begrudge anybody their modern conveniences like remote anchoring systems, but our boat doesn't have it and I'm not in a hurry to fit it .... at least not at this stage. Communication issues between foredeck and helm are easily solved with the use of small UHF walkie talkies .... avoids the need for yelling and allows a more civilised domestic dispute at discrete volumes
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