I[quote=“Kennebec_Captain, post:18, topic:47557”]
I wonder how much more sensitive a swing meter is then a standard rate-of-turn indicator?
There is a paragraph in “Shiphandling for the Mariner” about the ROT indicator,
Discussing how the helmsman can use it to aid steering
The swing meters I encountered could be adjusted. So in a fleet of ships there would be no “standard” of measure for the rate of swing that was metered. Turns would be made and a captain would say to the helmsman “OK Bob, keep 2 on the swing meter.” The same turn on a different but similar ship with the same rate of turn a captain might say “OK Carl, keep a 3 on the meter.” Inevitably Carl would say “No problem. You know on the State of Maine we do that with 2 on the meter.” Every once and a while someone would mess with the setting and “hilarity would ensue”.
Rate of turn indicators are standard as they can’t be adjusted beyond the compass input, and by listening to the gryro clicks you confirm your swing by looking at the indicator. YMMV
Edit- A good helmsman would be looking at the steering pole and would notice any subtle heading change as soon the foremast moved as opposed to long looking at a meter or indicator. In poor visibility he would hear the gyro click if the course changes a half degree.