Camden Harbor Master, WTF


We haven’t had any “weekend weirdness” or contests for a while, and this seems so right. That’s Camden’s ever enthusiastic Harbor Master Steve Pixley holding up his recent invention. Your challenge is to figure out what its purpose is and why it might be valuable to certain boaters. Give us your best guess in the comments section. I’ll either confirm a winner, or explain the gizmo on Monday. The prize, per usual, is a free subscription to Panbo 😉

7/30: OK, maybe I was misleading…the “certain boaters” I meant above are all the mooring installers and inspectors who may save time and fingers with Steve’s “Harbormaster” tool. Instead of having to haul up mooring chain one section at a time, the tool let’s them grab it just about anywhere they want, as surmised by Terry, and shown in video here. Congrats to Terry, and Steve, and thanks for all the…um…creative guesses. Whoever handles moorings in your harbor may appreciate learning about

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

12 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    Well, that’s pretty obvious – it’s a wire stripper for 6-0 and larger wire. You fit the wire down into the groove and turn like stink. The movable plate acts like a bail to keep it from getting away from you. Obvious! Nick

  2. It’s a boat “boot”. When a boat stays at the town dock for too long, they lock this device around the boat’s shaft so it can’t take off without paying a huge fine.

  3. Looks like the nautical equivalent of a ‘boot’ that the police put on cars. In this case, it’s put over the shaft and one of the prop blades to ‘boot’ the boats that haven’t paid their harbor fees 🙂

  4. Richard Rodriguez says:

    It’s a chastity device for an egotistical sailor! (pre nmea and ais)

  5. Peter McCorison says:

    For hanging a Kellet on my anchor chain. But looks like pretty big chain.

  6. Looks like Jeffrey and I had the same silly thought … his wasn’t posted when I made mine.
    On reflection, I think it’s to slide down the anchor chain, hook into the chain near the anchor, and ‘unstick’ the anchor ???? The mass of metal at the bottom should keep it from hooking into the chain until an upward pull is made, locking it into the chain.
    But then, why would you want to do that? Unless you need assistance from another vessel in getting the anchor up?
    Waiting with anxiety to hear the solution!!!

  7. Dan (b393capt) says:

    It appears to have all the right dimensions to attach to the end of the boom on a small sailboat. That could be useful for securely resting the boom on the aft end of the sailboat, (after letting the sails down, and releasing the topping lift if there is one).

  8. Matt B says:

    It looks to me like a skeg protector for a removed outboard or outdrive. I thought it might be a doelphin type of device, but the bolt and pin seem like the might hit the prop when turning.

  9. DefJef says:

    It’s clever. But don’t the mooring people use a winch to haul in the rope part fist and then switchg to a chain hook when the chain comes out?
    I can see that this might ride down the painter until it hooks onto the chain, thus avoiding switching over. Is this the “big convenience”?
    I don’t do moorings but I have seen the mooring man pull them up.
    In our neck of the woods, they seem to leave the mooring in the water and the chain and remove the top bits and leave a 2×4 marker instead of a ball and pick up buoy. Please explain.
    sv shiva

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Jef, That’s the problem right there. You can’t hook a chain link that you can’t get your hands on, which means that very often you have to haul a section of chain, make it fast with a separate hook, move your main hook down lower, take tension off the retainer and release, haul another section…etc. There are many schemes in use around here, the most sophisticated being tall A frames that let you bring in a substantial chain section in one haul. Almost regardless of the scheme, though, Steve’s tool seems to make the job faster and safer.
    Of course here in Maine we often have fairly deep mooring areas, with substantial tides, which results in lots of top and bottom chain.

  11. DefJef says:

    Gotcha… They use A frame cranes down here so it seems that they winch up the mooring until the chain is in reach and then put a chain hook on transferring the load. SO snagging the chain with a chain hook doesn’t appear to be problematic for these guys.
    But it’s a clever device.
    I have a few inventions of my own which I need to make prototypes of.

  12. coderpunk says:

    Neat little product. But you might want to let them know that their webpage is a bit of a disaster from a design and usability point of view.
    Playing music on the homepage? That’s for myspace, not a product page.

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