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More on Anchor Alarms

Various people have commented, ie Newsgroup posts, etc - that anchor alarms on gps are not worth bothering about.

The general feeling being, that gps positioning is somewhat variable, so is unlikely to be reliable enough for an anchor alarm. Also, that in reality, if its absolutely flat and calm you are going to get some kip anyway, and if its a bit wilder, you will be up all night anyway - this I think is probably true.

However - so long as you allow a generous 'error' into the radius you set - and treat it as a last ditch sort of back up to your own instinctive feelings - it can't do much harm. Also, even in dead flat calm conditions, we still can have 3 - 4 kts tide running around the Bristol Channel area. You also know that that tide is most likely to drift you out to deeper water - so an anchor alarm set with a generous radius is not going to do much harm.

The other issue of the extra audible alarm I've set on the Garmin - not especially related to the anchor facility, is just the abitity to 'hear' any alarm it chucks out. As supplied. you will not even notice its waypoint arrival alarm, even with the unit cockpit mounted. The notice it flashes up is only a brief few seconds - so for proximity alarms its useless - and generally as an 'alarm clock' the same. At least with my 107 dBs buzzer I now know its gone off - and it stays on until I turn it off. I can always chose within the Garmin menu to activate whatever alarms I want.

Once I have actually anchored Lena overnight - I expect I shall be learning a few lessons the hard way. I'll keep you posted.

Sorting out this alarm buzzer/data box has seen me browsing Maplins a bit - i've actually bought a catalogue now. Here are a couple of good new bits I'm going to give a try. The small indicator light are 12v led, no extra resistence needed, so only pull about 20 mA - they will take the narrow spade terminals as well - and they will screw directly into an 8mm hole in wood, or panel mount as usual. I wanted something to show my main Service or Engine power was on - without draining excess current.

The stiches are new - 12v 20 amp rated, with an illuminated toggle, again led, so only about 20 mA. They are about £2 - ideal for deck flood, compass binnacle, etc - things easy to leave on by mistake. The first two will probably go on my compass and autohelm switches, as I'm always uncertain as to whether they are on or off.

Hopefully be getting out sailing soon - but while I'm going down to check her out on the mooring, I tend to get all these small bits and pieces done - it gives me something to do if I stay overnight - ' no ', I'm not going to get a 12v small tv, I'm not, I'm not - he tries to convince himself. Actually, I find it great staying aboard overnight - always got the radio - but generally I enjoy the total silence of the Axe - almost a privilage to be able to stay in such a location.

Geoff - March 07.