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Old 20-02-2011, 08:57   #1
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Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

I have a 32' twin engine pleasure cruiser with a Lewmar windlass. Occasionally the windlass jams and subsequently tangles around the gypsy at the point where the rope meets the chain. I have been told that this is a common problem, but it's a nuisance and hazard when it occurs. The chain, rope, and splice all appear to be compatible with the windlass, according to the manual. The rope locker is huge, with about 22" under the windlass, so the rope isn't piling up too high. Since i only have helm anchor controls (none by the windlass) my wife wants to pull the rope from under the windlass to facilitate the passing of the splice, but its dangerous to have her hands so close to the gypsy. Is this a common practice? I'm considering getting rid of the rope and using only chain. Has anyone done this? Are there any potential problems? Is there a better way to prevent jams?
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Old 20-02-2011, 09:01   #2
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Renew the splice. This should be done annually anyway. Also, old stiff rode causes more jams. Pay attention as the splice goes thru the windlass .... use windlass controls at the helm rather than the cockpit.
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Old 24-02-2011, 08:16   #3
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

First - chain is retrieved by the "gypsy" portion of the windlass. This is a disc with a ribbed interior that "grabs" each link of the chain.
Second - Line/rope rode is retrieved by the "capstan" - smooth drum portion of the windlass. Retrieving line/rope rode using the "gypsy" is both damaging to to the line/rope rode and provides little or no "grab" on the rope. Multiple turns on the capstan drum is used to retrieve the line just like on a winch.
- - If you do not have a "dual" - gypsy and capstan drum - windlass then it was never designed to use anchor rode that is comprised of both chain and line. In that case you need to use an all chain rode if the windlass only has a gypsy.
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Old 24-02-2011, 08:36   #4
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

Quote:
If you do not have a "dual" - gypsy and capstan drum - windlass then it was never designed to use anchor rode that is comprised of both chain and line. In that case you need to use an all chain rode if the windlass only has a gypsy.
Osirissail: Many gypsies are designed to handle both rope and chain. The drum is for warping or a secondary anchor. From Lewmar's website:

Can I use a combination rope chain rode on my boat?
Yes, All of Lewmar's High volume ranges of products take rope and chain in the gypsy. The gypsy's are design to take a range of chains and ropes without the need to remove the rope or chain from the gypsy during recovery. This means you can use a spliced rode effortlessly, reducing both weight and cost of the rode. Check the rope/chain chart in the windlass section of the catalogue or your windlass manual for the correct rope/chain and gypsy match.
What type of rope can be used on a combined rope/chain anchor rode?
Lewmar recommends a premium quality, windlass grade, medium lay, 3-strand nylon rope or a premium multi-plait nylon anchor rode. There are many different rode applications based upon windlass, anchor size, rode length and the anchor locker's depth and volume.
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Old 24-02-2011, 08:59   #5
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

I suggest switching to NER's Mega Braid 12 strand rope, it is more flexible, and add a fiberglass haws pipe with a funnel shaped bottom. These are easy to make, and will solve the problem when going OUT...

I would also have foot switches on the bow. They have a very small wire, are cheep, and are well worth the effort. With this addition, when you get to the splice "coming up", quickly, while the boat is drifting forward... pick up the splice and shove it in the hole. I do it all the time, but watch your fingers!

These mods would solve the problem. You could also go with all 1/4" HT chain, but the weight on the bow is not great. Do a human experiment. Have someone large on the bow in marginal conditions, and see if it is wetter going into the waves, if not, there is your solution.

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Old 24-02-2011, 09:04   #6
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

That's great news, sounds like manufacturers are responding to the user's needs. My old 40 year old Ideal Windlass gyspy really hates nylon. But one idea for a "chain/rope" splice I found to work well is to use a "Quick Link." It fits inside the last link of the chain and then I do a simple nylon 3-strand spice to the Quicklink. This minimizes the size and exposure of the nylon to abrasion of the chain links.
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Old 24-02-2011, 09:53   #7
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

this question can be answered by a simple "yes." you will solve the problem by going to an all-chain rode. chain behaves far better on a windlass than a combined rode. For me, this is only one of many reasons I prefer an all-chain rode.

I find your control setup problematic, although I'm aware that it's not uncommon to have switches only in the wheelhouse on power boats. You might want to consider installing a second set of switches at the windlass itself, as such an installation would not be at all difficult.
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Old 24-02-2011, 10:32   #8
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

If the majority of your anchoring is in relatively shallow water, you could replace your chain with a longer section, so that you are anchoring all chain in those situations based on a scope that you are comfortable with. That would help you avoid the cost and weight of two or three hundred feet of chain.
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Old 24-02-2011, 10:36   #9
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

Do not use those "Quick Links" on any boat you value! I see there are some SS versions out there, but I wouldn't trust one in my anchor rode. SS in general is not good under water.
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Old 24-02-2011, 10:39   #10
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

FWIW, my windlass has never even hiccuped when the chain-rope splice passes through the gypsy. I might suggest a new splice.
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Old 24-02-2011, 10:51   #11
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pirate Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

Two things..... one is I don't like rope rode's... I'll go all chain every time...
the second thing is I never use the windlass if it can be avoided (unless I'm being dragged on and I've a control in the cockpit) the anchor don't need to be all the way up for evasive tactics..
most times I can haul in faster than a windlass plus its good exercise for legs/arms/back/chest/lungs and heart...
biggest I've done is a 40ftr... after that the combined weight of anchor and more than 5 metres of heavy chain up and down gets to much...
mind that was 2yrs ago when I was a bit fitter... its been a very slack year..
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Old 24-02-2011, 10:52   #12
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwassenberg View Post
windlass jams and subsequently tangles around the gypsy at the point where the rope meets the chain. I have been told that this is a common problem, but it's a nuisance and hazard
Too right its a hazzard!

Fingers and toes near chain and winches is a recipe for disaster. And consider when its going to happen: High winds when you need to move quickly.

We got rid of our rope/chain join by adding another 50 meters of chain so now we can spin out 100 meters of all chain. Windless is happy and so's me toes!

I recommend all chain, no matter the weight. You will be safer and you will feel safer

Had a trimaran drag past us this morning: light kit, little chain, no brain.
He has gone to anchor upwind of me again!
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Old 24-02-2011, 10:54   #13
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

Not a fan of quick links only because well I don't like the idea. but they do exist and I see no reason why you couldn't use them.

Galvanized Steel Quick Links Link, 3/8" Wire Dia., 1/2''l, 4200lb. Breaking Strength from West Marine



















Galvanized Steel Quick Links Link, 3/8" Wire Dia., 1/2''l, 4200lb. Breaking Strength from West Marine
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Old 24-02-2011, 11:11   #14
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Too right its a hazzard!
Had a trimaran drag past us this morning: light kit, little chain, no brain.
He has gone to anchor upwind of me again!
He must want second shot at you.
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Old 24-02-2011, 11:17   #15
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Re: Windlass - All Chain to Prevent Jams ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
I suggest switching to NER's Mega Braid 12 strand rope, it is more flexible, and add a fiberglass haws pipe with a funnel shaped bottom. These are easy to make, and will solve the problem when going OUT...

I would also have foot switches on the bow. They have a very small wire, are cheep, and are well worth the effort. With this addition, when you get to the splice "coming up", quickly, while the boat is drifting forward... pick up the splice and shove it in the hole. I do it all the time, but watch your fingers!

These mods would solve the problem. You could also go with all 1/4" HT chain, but the weight on the bow is not great. Do a human experiment. Have someone large on the bow in marginal conditions, and see if it is wetter going into the waves, if not, there is your solution.

Mark

Ditto to this!
I scraped 250' of twisted 3 strand rode due to the chain jamming. It almost cost me my rigging in an emergency once. When the winch is under load it causes the 3 strand rode to untwist, which twists the chain, in turn jamming the chain at the gypsy. I tried swivels but under load they don't work either, even the expensive SS ones.

So I went to a 24 Plated Double Braid Rope/Chain Combination and have not had a jamming problem since. And it's cost wasn't much more then the 3 strand. And I use 60' of chain, the rest rode.


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