For the boat owner who thinks he has everything, there is yet still another bit of electronic wizardry…a widget that tells you how much anchor rode you’ve let out.
Called the Anchor Meter, it’s a fairly simple device that employs the usual magnet attached to the bow roller or winch. A usual sensor counts the rotations, crunches them through the usual microprocessor and displays via the usual LCD or LED (your choice) how much line or chain (another decision to make) you have out, in the usual choice of feet, meters or fathoms. The latter three choices are selected by punching the usual “program” and “mode” buttons on the face of the instrument.
The meter tolerates power ranging from 10 to 38 VDC and has the usual internal battery to retain settings if the main power fails. It comes to mind that a nice byproduct might be that, by just dropping the anchor straight down, this meter could be used to measure the depth of the water in which one is about to anchor…except that already aboard are other more sophisticated electronic circuitry that do that—as well as wake you up in the middle of the night if the alarm is set too precisely and the boat swings.
The Anchor Meter does, of course, enable one to get rid of those paint marks, bits of colored Day-glo plastic, leather thongs, cloth ties or whatever other junk you’ve been using for years to loosely keep track of how much anchor rode you’ve paid out.
Considering the importance of scope while anchoring, one should perhaps not be casual in assessing the utility of the Anchor Meter.
To go electronic will cost you $595. A remote control, which can also operate most windlasses, is another $225. Mentally borrowing $5 from that $225 to boost the $595 to $600 and then picking up the remaining $220, reveals the grand total to be $820. An electronic calculator proved that to be correct.
(Advanced Control Technologies Inc., 4982 Euclid Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23462; 877/873-8466.)
Boats tend to stink. Mostly because they’re tight structures. Water is verboten. Air is allowed in only by invitation. Hence, diesel fuel and head odors linger, seemingly amplified by the still, dank cabin air. A well-ventilated boat (hatches open) rarely smells, but inclement weather necessarily forces closure or at least restriction of deck openings.
The only sure way to get rid of an odor is to get rid of the source.
That, of course, is easier said than done. For most odors, we’ve found an ozone machine does wonders. As a bonus, it even kills mildew spores. The 110VAC ozone machines are much more effective than the small 12VDC machines, but few of us are going to run 110VAC anywhere but at the dock where shorepower is available.
The task then is to find another odor eater independent of electrical power. Over the years we’ve been sent a variety of liquids and aerosols. Most have masking scents, so it’s difficult to say whether they actually attack and disable the offending molecules or just wrap them in strawberry ambrosia.
Recently, we tried a product called Atmos Klear, of which the manufacturer makes great claims. We were told it got its start in the used car business (great credentials, eh?), ridding upholstery of cigarette smoke smells. Spray it into the dashboard heater/AC vents and let the air circulate Atmos Klear around the car. It also can be poured as a liquid into the bilge, or into a bucket and used to mop floors or scrub greasy/dirty/smelly surfaces.
The list of odors that allegedly collapse in the face of Atmos Klear include smoke, mildew, cooking odors, urine, fish, organic decay, mold, sewage, vomit and holding tanks.
We compared Atmos Klear against a few other bottles of stuff and it worked as well, but without having to use a masking scent. According to the company, it works by “chemically altering the source by changing the molecular structure of the odor.” We don’t know about that, but if you have sensitive olfactory lobes, you might want to check it out. Available in various sizes, a 4-oz. bottle sells for $3.99.
(Twinstar Industries, 1010 W. 80th St., Minneapolis, MN 55420; 612/884-0513; www.atmosklear.com.)