Friday, April 11, 2014

Best in show

This post originally appeared on Windborne in Puget Sound

We've been to a lot of boat shows since our first, in Chicago, in 1971.  From one year to the next, you see mostly the same gear.  But every once in a while, you see a new product that is truly new and innovative.  This was one of those rare shows, and The Anchor Buoy is one of those rare products.

When we anchor here in Puget Sound, we always try to be as far from other boats as possible.  Most times that works our for us, but on busy weekends the anchorages are crowded, and then there is always that yahoo who drops his anchor too close.  We have experimented with using an anchor buoy, but managing the buoy and its line while retrieving the anchor was just too big a job.  And then, with our tidal range here that can reach 16 feet, how much line to put on the buoy?  Too little and the buoy will be submerged at high tide; too much and the buoy no longer marks the location of your anchor.

The Anchor Buoy addresses these and many more issues...
  • First, it self-deploys.  There is an encapsulated microprocessor inside it that knows when it is submerged, and reels out more line to compensate.  Therefore no action is required to deploy it - you just drop your anchor.
  • There is a tilt switch inside that detects when the buoy is no longer upright, indicating that its mooring line is slack - it then reels its line in until the slack is removed.  This accommodates tidal changes, and it also means that no action is required when retrieving the anchor - the buoy reels itself in.
  • It holds 100 feet of mooring line internally - That should cover the vast majority of anchoring situations.
  • There are two LEDs on the upper surface that automatically illuminate after dark, so your anchor position is visible even at nite.
  • It's all solar powered via an encapsulated solar cell and LiPO battery.
  • It's made right here in the USA, in Garden City, Idaho.  This is important to me, as whenever possible I try to support American workers and the American economy.
What more could you want?  Well, in our case, I'd want a bowsprit/anchor roller that would accommodate the Anchor Buoy.   It remains to be seen whether it will fit under our bowsprit. 

Oh yeah, the bottom line:  boat show price is $249.

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