Good point, Soulesailor... Bruce Bingham's "A Sailor's Sketchbook" has an excellent page on using the tick stick.
The book is worth owning on many other levels too.... Especially for someone thinking of a project like the OP has in mind.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)