I'm just back from a month of cruising, during which we spent most nights at anchor
. Some of them in North Brittany and the Channel Islands, where the tidal range can be huge -- up to 14 meters. When you're dealing with a huge tidal range, it is particularly important to put out the right amount of chain.
Somewhere low on my wish list for a long time has been to install a proper chain counter like the Lewmar
one. But this is expensive and a hassle, because you have to install a little magnet in the gypsy
and a bunch of wiring
Why couldn't we measure the amount of chain out by simply measuring the time during which the windlass
is active in the "down" direction? I know this wouldn't be accurate in all conditions, because when running "up", the length of chain per second of operation will vary according to load. But going down, it must be pretty consistent, and this is mostly all we care about anyway.
All it would take would be some kind of intermittent timer which counts second when energized on "down" (and ideally, subtracts seconds when energized on "up"). Then calculate how many meters are in one second, print up a conversion table, laminate it, post it next to the timer. Wouldn't that be a great, simple, cheap
solution to the problem? Anyone thought of this? Anyone know a suitable electronic timer?