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Old 09-04-2010, 10:19   #1
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Questions on New Windlass, Bow Roller, Anchor Installation - Advice, Please !

Hi folks - thanks in advance for any input. This site has been a huge help in the last few years!

I have purchased a new Maxwell Freedom Vertical Windlass for my Seafarer 30. I have also fabricated / welded up a new stainless bow roller, and purchased a new 25lb Manson Supreme.

I do not have the windlass yet, and will pick it up in a couple of weeks.


- Bow roller is temporarily mounted, and is in line with existing hawsepipe hole to anchor locker, where I plan to mount the windlass, with a backing plate. Not all holes are drilled through the deck, so I can move the roller if necessary
- have beefed up the roller since pics were taken, by welding another 3/16" plate on the bottom and side of roller

Main questions / thoughts: (have never used a windlass before)
I will often have my wife there to help anchoring, but do want to be able to do it singlehanded as well (from bow or helm is the question).

- Windlass comes with one rocker switch, which I will likely mount on / near the helm pedestal. Should I buy another switch (what kind) to mount at the bow. Not really keen on foot switches (or more holes in deck). Seen another boat before, where the owner had mounted a small watertight case on the pullpit rail, with a switch inside. He seemed to like it.

- Rode is 30' of 1/4" chain (may buy new / more as may not fit windlass) and 250' of 1/2" 3 strand. I know they recommend 8 plait, but say it will work with 3 strand as well, and sicne it was new last year, I would like to try it , rather than spending a couple more boat bucks.

- in my test attempts to pull up anchor, on roller, by hand (with just rope not chain) the anchor does come up upside down some, and then has to be lowered a bit, swung around, then reraised. I could see this being a problem in a few feet of chop, and winds, while alone. If at the helm, I could control the boat, with engine / rudder while coping withe anchor up and down (but would be 30' away, so a bit hard to see what's going on up there)
Or, I could be at the bow, where I can see / deal with it upclose, but at that point the anchor would be broke free, and the boat would be quickly pushed in some direction by the wind. I would only have a few seconds to finish with the anchor, and get back to the helm, to get the boat under control.

I would like to know what really works from those with experience, so I can be set up properly!

A couple of pics:
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:07   #2
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The technique i developed with the old boat and the same anchor (with a different windlass than yours) was to motor/pull up to the anchor controlling drive and windlass from the helm until the rode was near vertical, then use the windlass only to free the anchor from the bottom and up to the roller. There were almost zero upside down anchors at the roller as the rode had very little opportunity to twist at the shorter retrieval scope and i had complete control over the boat at the same time. However, there were a few times when having a forward mounted switch would have been a help, like having to deal with large chunks of clay or wood fouling the anchor and not allowing it to seat on the roller. If you do mount a switch forward, I would recommend a type of switch, or placement, that allows you to use both hands to wrestle gear. Just saying, if you need to be up there to deal with something, like fouls or hockles, chances are you're gonna need at least one hand to wrestle equipment, the other to brace yourself or hang on. If i could mount a windlass on the current boat, i would definitely have a forward control of some sort as well as a helm switch. Good luck with the project!
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Old 09-04-2010, 15:25   #3
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Mi2ndWind - thanks for the input. Did you find it hard to see the rode, as you were slowly motoring up, and using the windlass to bring in the slack.

It may be different for folks with all chain as well, but I just wondered if it would be difficlt to motor at the right speed to not overrun the rode. I realize that you can go between fwd and neutral, as you go , to slow down the progress, but how hard is it to see the rode?

Good points about having one or two hands free. If I put a switch at the bow, It will at least be within reach of the anchor / roller, so I would at least have 1 hand free. I guess I could always put in foot switches later, if necessary.

Previously, my wife would motor up to the anchor while I manually bring in the rode, and then the old Danforth knock-off, having to lift it around to the hanging clips on the pullpit.
This summer, now armed with a windlass, her (or I) will motor up as well, but this time one of us will be pushing the up button, to bring in the rode. If there is no switch at the bow, then the only thing that the "bow person" can do is signal to the helmsman to raise or lower the windlass, or signal to stop if there is a problem. Of course, while there , they could free up any problems, but would then have to signal to start raising again, etc.
Just wondering if most do it that way, or if many have / use bow switches, while singlehanded or with crew.
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Old 09-04-2010, 18:19   #4
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Seeing the rode depends on how high your bow is, and at some point you lose sight of it regardless. But if you can't see the rode exiting the water, you can tell how much slack is in it by the sound of the windlass and the tension on the rode between the gypsy and the bow roller. When moving forward to pick up line, i used just enough forward gear to keep the anchor from pulling out, and listened for the strain of the windlass to tell me when to put it back into gear. Wind, waves and currents all play a part, with a bit of practice you'll get the feel of it.
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Old 09-04-2010, 19:06   #5
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G'Day NE'er,

Those are good questions! I can't speak to the visibility issue, but do have some years of experience with a Manson Supreme (60lb) on Insatiable II. Now, I am assuming that when you say the anchor comes up "upside down", you mean that as it hangs from the roller it is shank up, but with the anchor "facing" backwards, so that when it arrives at the roller it tries to come over it upside down. Depending on the design of the roller it may invert itself and then all is well... but in our case it tries to jump off the roller in the process. This can lead to some nasty gouges in the bow!
I welded some extensions to the upper edges of the channel which helped, but now it will sometimes jam whilst inverting. So, the best thing is for it to arrive in the correct orientation. The problem is that if the boat is making any headway and the anchor is still in the water, the shape of the anchor immediately spins it around "backward". Dang! But, the answer is easy: let the boat drift backwards slowly (or motor slowly in reverse)... now the hydrodynamic forces spin the anchor around in the desired position and one can bring it over the roller w/o problems. A bit of a PITA, but we still are quite favorably impressed with the anchor's performance and have no plans to exchange it for another. We live at anchor 95% of the time, so it is an important issue for us!

On the switch issue: I guess that if the supplied switch is for remote operation, then there must be a solenoid that actually supplies the power to the motor. If so it will not be a big deal to add a second switch station. If you don't want to have a permanently mouonted switch on the bow then one with a waterproof plug, perhaps mounted in your anchor locker, could be used when required.

Good luck with it...

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Lake Macquarie, NSW, Oz
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Old 09-04-2010, 20:08   #6
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I have an up/down switch near the helm which is mainly used to drop the anchor. Up in the bow I have foot switch which is used to pull the anchor up. The system I use is to pull chain in till it is tight then let the weight of chain pull the boat towards the anchor and winch a bit more and so on and so on till the anchor is free and chain vertical. Then just winch in the last bit till the anchor is on the roller. This way if it is twisted it is just a quick twist of the chain to get it straight and winch in the last bit. Works like a charm.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:43   #7
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Jim - Yes, tries to come backwards, as you explained it. Would love to see a pic of your roller modification, where you had pieces welded on.

And thanks for the advice to back up, while raising the last few feet of chain and anchor. My boat is olny 30', so I can likely see the bow enough to tell what is happening (I can mark the chain with a couple of bright tie warps, at a spot where the anchor is juts a foot or two under water. This would tell me when to stop the windlass, and back up for a few seconds, before proceeding to raise the anchor)

I like the idea of raising from the helm, as I can control the boat!

I do not have any anchor locker (ie doors the flip up), but could make a watertight area / plug of some sort.

Correct, the kit does come with one remote and solenoid, so I am hoping the adding another remote switch is not difficult. Would any up/down/off, 3 way type switch work Ok, in addition to the seemingly marine foot switches?

Drinky - Thanks as well, for the advice. When you raise the anchor from the bow, do you always have another crew at the helm, to control the boat, after the anchor breaks loose??

If alone, I would think that it would not take long for the wind to start pushing me rapidly towards other boats, in the 30 - 60 seconds or so, that it would take to get the anchor up and secure, and make my way back to the helm.
I will usually have my wife there as well, but do want to be able to do it alone also.
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Old 10-04-2010, 16:44   #8
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G'Day again, NEer,

Just thinking -- what Drinky said about simply twisting the chain 180 degrees to get the anchor (out of the water and hanging from the bow) should work just fine when you have a person on the foredeck. I've tried it, but with a considerably heavier anchor and a roller with a deep groove in it it is pretty hard for me.

As to the switch, it must be able to handle the current that the solenoid's coil draws. This could be as much as 20 amps or so (manufacturer can likely tell you this number), but any SPDT center off switch thus rated should do... except that it must be able to withstand wet, salty hands, spray or rain, etc, and that may not be so easy to achieve!

Finally, one of the skill sets that a singlehander must develop is evaluating an anchorage in terms of getting under way alone. That is, trying to not anchor so near any obstruction that, no matter what way the wind is blowing, one can get the hook up without a problem. Actually, to a lesser degree, this is true of any cruiser, with or without crew!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Lake Macquarie, NSW, Oz
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Old 10-04-2010, 19:14   #9
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NEer, usually I am single handing but don't have a problem getting back to the helm in time to safely motor out. If you watch the direction the chain is pointing as you pull it up you do have some control over where the boat is going to go by winching when it is pointing in the right direction (if you can understand what I'm trying to say). If girlfriend is aboard she is at the helm and it does make it easier.
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Old 10-04-2010, 21:42   #10
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Before I dive into Gords wonderful bounty of info I did want to say that I have been doing a bit of research of my own. Well, actually I have been dock walking and looking at bowsprits (boats make even boring research fun ). Anyways, I am amazed at how many bent, warped, or just plain broken bow rollers their are. The common denominator is that they were all production rollers (minus one). I have looked at a couple hundred bows today and none of the windlines or lewmars were bent. Tomorrow I had planned to take pictures of the custom bow rollers that could work for my boat. Saw a couple bent dive n dog, at least, I am pretty sure they were dive n dogs. I also saw one warped or twisted seadog bowroller.

I wrote windline to see if they had any insight to which roller would work for my rocna 15 (or soon to be rocna 15, I am hoping I will get one for my B-day). They wrote back to say they did not know. Rocna's website said that a fluke style roller works best.

Hope that helps,
Erika

PS -off topic but interesting (at least to me) out of all the production modern sailboat bowroller/anchoring platforms I saw today the Hunters had everyone beat, man alive those things are beefy! I bet you could pick the whole boat up with em, good job Hunter.
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Old 10-04-2010, 22:16   #11
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Sorry guys, somehow posted the above on the wrong thread, it was meant for b-rads bow roller question. to late to delete... moderator?
Erika
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:42   #12
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The rotation is a problem not every time but perhaps half. Sometimes you can correct it by dropping it down again a couple of metres, but this can take a few times. I tried using a boathook to rotate it - in which case the foot switch is essential. All that is pretty messy singlehanding in a confined space in a wind. Then the supplier put me onto a special swivel about 8 inch shaped in a ^ which rotates so the anchor points correctly - a bit crudely made but seems to have some effect although I have not used it enough to say it is foolproof.
In practice you need to be at the bow after getting a little way on, because the rope splice tends to jam with a bit of wear and needs encouragement, and because the chain can mount up and also jam if not spread unless the locker is large. You will find 8 plait much better because it flexs much more easily and so lies better in the locker.
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