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Old 16-03-2018, 05:57   #1
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3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

Hi All,

I did a search but could not find my answer, so hoping I can get some opinions.... I have a Gulfstar 44 I acquired late last year. It has an Ideal VMC (later designated the V3C) vertical windlass. The wildcat has a 3 stamped in it, which, according to the Ideal website, is for a 3/8 BBB chain. I am replacing the 30' of chain with 200' of chain and don't want to get the wrong stuff and this would seem clear cut, however.... P.O. has 3/8 G4 on there now and it seems to work fine with the wildcat, despite the fact that it is designated for 3/8 BBB. It is untested with BBB, at least by me, and I would like to stick with the G4 if possible. Does anyone see any problem with this, or should I revert to a BBB chain?

Also, the hawsepipe is about a foot forward and to the left of the windlass (see attached pic), and the chain does not easily go down into it without some manual help. Any ideas on now to solve this without re-drilling holes?
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Old 16-03-2018, 09:02   #2
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

Tausap,
Others will chime in on their personal experiences with particular windlass/ chain options, I don't actually have it or can't remember. That's what so great about this place.
The hawse if it hasn't been done already and you have enough fall..
Take a grinder and/die grinder, dremel, and /or files and get rid of the deck fittings lip. Soften up that hole so chain doesn't hang up. So what if a little more water goes in with the cap on.
Chris
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Old 17-03-2018, 08:46   #3
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

should be much further back your windlass, much!!!
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Old 17-03-2018, 09:32   #4
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

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should be much further back your windlass, much!!!
I agree, but Unfortunately that would put in in the V-berth, with the chain coming into the berth. I don't think I can do anything about that. Not the best setup but I will have to make do.
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Old 17-03-2018, 09:46   #5
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

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Originally Posted by tausap View Post
Hi All,

I did a search but could not find my answer, so hoping I can get some opinions.... I have a Gulfstar 44 I acquired late last year. It has an Ideal VMC (later designated the V3C) vertical windlass. The wildcat has a 3 stamped in it, which, according to the Ideal website, is for a 3/8 BBB chain. I am replacing the 30' of chain with 200' of chain and don't want to get the wrong stuff and this would seem clear cut, however.... P.O. has 3/8 G4 on there now and it seems to work fine with the wildcat, despite the fact that it is designated for 3/8 BBB. It is untested with BBB, at least by me, and I would like to stick with the G4 if possible. Does anyone see any problem with this, or should I revert to a BBB chain?

Also, the hawse pipe is about a foot forward and to the left of the windlass (see attached pic), and the chain does not easily go down into it without some manual help. Any ideas on now to solve this without re-drilling holes?
We have a V4C which uses the same wildcats as yours. We upgraded to the 3/8 G4 chain (from BBB) and the G4 chain doesn't fit well in the BBB wildcat when under load. You may get one link to sit firmly in, but then all the rest are off. The BBB will most likely work fine for your needs.

A new wildcat was fairly expensive if you want to switch to G4 to get the stronger chain, you may want to assess the condition of your windlass, before you punk down $$ to upgrade your old Ideal. It may seem like a good deal to only spend 1/3rd the $$ on a new wildcat, but a new Maxwell could be cheaper in the long run.

Unless you can do a lot of the work yourself (like Mark in this recent thread), you may be better off with new, especially if you are going to increase your anchor size down the road.

The deck pipe you have isn't going to allow the chain to drop smoothly with the chain catching on the metal fitting edge. Look at the Ideal chain pipe and see if you can find a used one. We blocked ours up a bit to closer match the stripper ht. coming off the windlass.

Will agree with the previous comment that the chain pipe position may be to far foreward, but looking at your deck space/where the windlass is located, probably have to live with it.

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Old 17-03-2018, 10:02   #6
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

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We have a V4C which uses the same wildcats as yours. We upgraded to the 3/8 G4 chain (from BBB) and the G4 chain doesn't fit well in the BBB wildcat when under load. You may get one link to sit firmly in, but then all the rest are off. The BBB will most likely work fine for your needs.

A new wildcat was fairly expensive if you want to switch to G4 to get the stronger chain, you may want to assess the condition of your windlass, before you punk down $$ to upgrade your old Ideal. It may seem like a good deal to only spend 1/3rd the $$ on a new wildcat, but a new Maxwell could be cheaper in the long run.

Unless you can do a lot of the work yourself (like Mark in this recent thread), you may be better off with new, especially if you are going to increase your anchor size down the road.

The deck pipe you have isn't going to allow the chain to drop smoothly with the chain catching on the metal fitting edge. Look at the Ideal chain pipe and see if you can find a used one. We blocked ours up a bit to closer match the stripper ht. coming off the windlass.

Will agree with the previous comment that the chain pipe position may be to far foreward, but looking at your deck space/where the windlass is located, probably have to live with it.

Bill O.

Thanks Bill, good info there. I ran my current chain setup up and down a few times yesterday to test it and it pulled all chain up fine, but there was no load other than the weight of the anchor. Does yours look like the below pic with the G4 in it? This is the current g4 and it seems to fit fine, but under load may be a different story! I need to make a decision soon whether to go with G4 or BBB, to be ready for a planned cruise in April.
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Old 17-03-2018, 10:21   #7
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

Ours is genuine ACCO chain and all the links don't fit in the BBB wildcat under tension (we had checked again before writing the previous response).

Don't know what chain brand you have now, but if you purchase chain, take your wildcat off and match it to the chain you plan to purchase. Pull it tight and see if they line up. This is the best way know if it will work, then make your decision from there for G4 or BBB

West matches prices now, so they would be convenient to look there for chain.

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Old 17-03-2018, 10:36   #8
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

Some wildcats have been designated fitting G4 and BBB in the past. I can't speak to yours though. That hawse setup is pretty wacky, the advantage of a vertical windlass is it feeds so well directly below. Maybe the Ideal isnt set up to do that, which is too bad. On a Maxwell, for instance, the hawse and thru deck is part of the windlass itself.
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Old 17-03-2018, 11:01   #9
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Ours is genuine ACCO chain and all the links don't fit in the BBB wildcat under tension (we had checked again before writing the previous response).

Don't know what chain brand you have now, but if you purchase chain, take your wildcat off and match it to the chain you plan to purchase. Pull it tight and see if they line up. This is the best way know if it will work, then make your decision from there for G4 or BBB

West matches prices now, so they would be convenient to look there for chain.

Bill O.
I’m not sure of the chain brand currently on there. It came with the boat and is only stamped with G4. I had hoped to stick with ACCO G4 for price (200’ planned purchase), as BBB is more expensive everywhere, probably because they sell less of it. I don’t think strength is an issue, as BBB should be plenty strong for my 25000 lb boat. Thanks again for the info! I take it your wildcat is stamped with a 3 as well?
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Old 17-03-2018, 11:06   #10
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

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Some wildcats have been designated fitting G4 and BBB in the past. I can't speak to yours though. That hawse setup is pretty wacky, the advantage of a vertical windlass is it feeds so well directly below. Maybe the Ideal isnt set up to do that, which is too bad. On a Maxwell, for instance, the hawse and thru deck is part of the windlass itself.
Yeah, definitely not ideal. Not sure how much I can change it, given the size and position of my anchor locker. Holding tank is under the V-berth, so I canít run a pipe from there to the hawse and use that as a chain locker.
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Old 17-03-2018, 11:52   #11
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

I also have an ideal windless with the same wildcat. The prior owner had 5/16" G4 (HT) on the boat which was a total failure. This prompted me to take a look at what would fit in the BBB wildcat.

I ended up measuring a lot of chain and spending some time trying to figure out what was going on. Here is a writeup I did.

5/16" G70 chain | Morgan le Fay

Looking at my numbers I found that 3/8" G43 chain is 11.3% longer than 3/8" BBB. This may work in a wildcat with pockets that can adapt to the extra length. But as noted above under load does not in the Ideal wildcat.

There is a silver lining - it turns out that 5/16" G70 (acco) does work under load in an Ideal BBB wildcat. That is what I use. The G70 is only 1.5% longer than 3/8" BBB.

I'm very happy with the G70. When we head out for extended cruising I will add a second 275' length of chain. I'm not sure if I would get another 5/16" G70 or put in 3/8" BBB. There are clear advantages to both.


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Old 17-03-2018, 12:16   #12
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

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I also have an ideal windless with the same wildcat. The prior owner had 5/16" G4 (HT) on the boat which was a total failure. This prompted me to take a look at what would fit in the BBB wildcat.

I ended up measuring a lot of chain and spending some time trying to figure out what was going on. Here is a writeup I did.

5/16" G70 chain | Morgan le Fay

Looking at my numbers I found that 3/8" G43 chain is 11.3% longer than 3/8" BBB. This may work in a wildcat with pockets that can adapt to the extra length. But as noted above under load does not in the Ideal wildcat.

There is a silver lining - it turns out that 5/16" G70 (acco) does work under load in an Ideal BBB wildcat. That is what I use. The G70 is only 1.5% longer than 3/8" BBB.

I'm very happy with the G70. When we head out for extended cruising I will add a second 275' length of chain. I'm not sure if I would get another 5/16" G70 or put in 3/8" BBB. There are clear advantages to both.


Regards
Wow, very nicely written up and explained. I think you and Bill O. saved me from making an expensive mistake. Thanks!
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Old 17-03-2018, 18:17   #13
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

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Wow, very nicely written up and explained. I think you and Bill O. saved me from making an expensive mistake. Thanks!
Glad to be of service.
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Old 18-03-2018, 06:07   #14
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

Yep, glad the info provided helped you make a decision which chain to purchase.

If I may ask where are you planning on cruising? Only reason I ask is do you need so much chain and consider the added weight in the bow. Now you have 30' of chain and rope rode which will be several hundred # lighter than 200' of 3/8 BBB. Based on you chain pipe location, your chain locker is probably as far forward as possible and maybe sitting a little higher than the waterline (yes?)

This much added extra weight up front (in the stem) will affect the performance of the boat. If you are going to stay in the VA/Ches.Bay down into the Carolinas (not int he tropics) would probably be good w/60' of chain (maybe less if you have shallow draft) and leave the rest rope to keep the weight down.

With the proper amount of chain/rope combination typically you can cleat off the rope rode and be good with the rope taking the shock load. If you only have chain down you will need extra equipment like a good snubber and a chain stopper to take the load off the windlass.

Something to think about before you purchase. It looks "salty" and all, but do you need it for your intended purpose/current area of cruising?

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Old 19-03-2018, 05:36   #15
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Re: 3/8 G4 vs 3/8 BBB with windlass question

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Here is the picture of what Bill O mentioned. This works fine for me and it looks like your distance on the deck is similar
The existing thru deck fitting you have I think is just for a rode, but I could be wrong on that. I have one and thatís what Iíve been using it for
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