Wednesday, June 1, 2011

'Tis the season

It seems to be that season again.

You know, the one where folks spool out their anchor rode on the dock and, thru various techniques, mark it so that the person who is up front dropping the anchor knows how much rode is paid out.

There is no standard marking method for this.  We have seen:
  • colored cable ties
  • spray paint
  • Fabric strips tied thru the links
  • Little colored hard rubber gizmos which get wedged inside the links

And the color schemes used to designate lengths are even more varied than the methods.

But we don't participate in this season's ritual.  Our ancient Simpson Lawrence windlass (which is built like a brick outhouse, by the way) makes it unnecessary.  See that black circle?  It is a footage counter.  As the wildcat revolves, the black dial revolves too - it is geared to the wildcat.  You can see the only problem with the system:  The raised numbers on the dial are a little difficult to read. 

Why don't modern windlasses have a similar system?  It is dirt simple and rock solid.  Too easy I guess.  There are no LED's or LCD, and it is analog instead of digital.  But - there are no batteries to replace, no delicate electronics to fail, and none of the false precision that a digital readout provides.

My only wish?  That I could buy a replacement dial with engraved white letters on a black background, or vice versa.  And since I am wishing already, I'd really like one calibrated in feet instead of meters, please.

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