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Art, that is an interesting way to figure out how much rode has been run out. What many do I am pretty sure, is to drop the anchor straight down, all the chain on top of it, let the boat drift back with the wind/current and then continue to release rode until you wind up with the proper scope. Scope being the angle the taught rode makes with the water surface.
A scope of 5 or 6 to 1 is good for a calm over night, maybe a bit less if you are in a crowded anchorage for a nice afternoon on the hook.
Those are the parameters I tend to use. Others may have different ones.
I have seen boats anchor with what looks like as little as a 2 or 3 to 1 scope for a few hours on the hook on a nice afternoon. They do not seem to have any trouble.
But I am pretty sure someone will be able to provide a foot per second figure.
Salt Shaker 342.
Our Garmin GPS has a drift alarm and we have a second, much louder Mercury alarm installed to it as well. We set if for 15 ' of drag the other day and just as I was asking the Admiral if we were getting closer to ean island both alarms went off - seems we were and moved! Great piece of mind at night! Also the Prusik knot is super excellent for anchoring! MT