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Old 05-02-2016, 04:34   #1
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Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

I know most people with a boat this size (38') go for a powered windlass. My boat came with a manual windlass, and I thought for sure I'd need to do the upgrade, but after a year I've come to like the manual approach. I'm still young and strong, and I need the exercise anyway. Plus it's simpler - nothing to break, and no complexity of running battery power to the bow.

The marine equipment market for manual windlasses sucks though. There are basically only 2 brands, one of which isn't manufactured anymore (Simpson Lawrence):

Lofrans Royal manual windlass, Simpson Lawrence Hyspeed 510 (What I have now) and Simpson Lawrence Seatiger 555 (the only 2-speed model).

Simpson Lawrences sometimes show up on ebay for $500-800, and Lofrans is about $1000 - but the Lofrans isn't any better than the Simpson Lawrence Hyspeed 510 I have now, as far as I can tell.

My main problem is speed - it has only 1 mode - like the "slow" mode of a 2-speed winch.

I would love a 2 speed windlass or one that can be operated continuously, for example by using a winch handle in a 360 degree circular motion. Our's is operated by a long handle which can only travel about a 90 degree arc, and this picks up about 1 foot of chain at a time. Pulling in 100 ft would take a very long time that way, so normally I pull the first 80% by hand as I'm pulling out the catenary of the chain rode.

But manual hand pulling creates another problem - the windlass is designed to have the chain fall straight down through a metal ring - but when I'm hand pulling I need to take the chain off the gypsy, and the gypsy gets in the way of the chain falling cleanly down through the windlass guide ring into the anchor locker.

I could try cutting off the chain guide ring and enlarging the hole through the fiberglass platform it's mounted on, to give me room to drop the chain in when pulling by hand. Currently my solution is I don't run the chain through the guide ring, I just let it fall in front of the anchor platform - but this makes the windlass jam more easily when I do need to use it.

If I somehow obtained a Seatiger 555 (2-speed), is the 2nd speed geared faster or slower? If it's geared slower (for greater power), that's useless to me because I want faster (pull in more chain more quickly).

Fyi my setup is: 18k boat displacement, 35lb CQR, 150 ft all-chain rode, secondary rode with 25 ft chain + 275 ft rope. No problems with the secondary rode since I don't need a windlass for that (except perhaps to break the anchor free) but I rarely use the secondary because I usually anchor in about 30 ft and all chain allows me to reduce swing distance in crowded PNW anchorages.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:06   #2
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

My SL 555 has a pretty quick ratio. Watch Panope's anchor videos to see just how quickly it can get an anchor up. I believe some of the older 556's had different ratios?

Muir make a nice simple winch http://www.muir.com.au/pleasure/manu...tical-500.html

Another useful thing with your current setup is a chain pawl on the roller, makes it way easier and safer to pull it up quickly by hand.

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Old 05-02-2016, 05:31   #3
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

Just be patient?

I have the same setup with the Lofrans.

Cranking it up takes a few moments, but it's really not an issue under any circumstances.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:44   #4
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
My SL 555 has a pretty quick ratio. Watch Panope's anchor videos to see just how quickly it can get an anchor up. I believe some of the older 556's had different ratios?

Muir make a nice simple winch Manual Vertical 500 - Pleasure - The World Power In Anchoring Systems - Storm, Atlantic, Compact Winches

Another useful thing with your current setup is a chain pawl on the roller, makes it way easier and safer to pull it up quickly by hand.

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I didn't know about the Muir winch-handle operated one. Looks like it's $1400 to $1700 for the one with the rope drum. I've never used the rope drum on my SL, but it's good to have in case I ever need to raise singlehandedly in an anchorage with wind. And the vertical style would be a different install to replace my horizontal SL. Pretty high cost to pay unless I could try one beforehand and know for sure that it would make life easier. I was thinking a winch-handle operated windlass would need a bar-operating mode too - for when you need more power.

Good point on the chain pawl, I should get one of those. I usually just snub the chain on the windlass gypsy when I need to wait for the boat to move forward, but a chain stopper would be quicker plus save about a foot of work that gets lost when I have to transfer the chain to the gypsy.

I've seen many of SV Panope's anchor test videos, but I didn't know he had a manual windlass. The videos I saw just show GoPro underwater footage - which one did you see the windlass being operated in?
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:52   #5
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

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Originally Posted by Tessellate View Post
I would love a 2 speed windlass or one that can be operated continuously, for example by using a winch handle in a 360 degree circular motion.

Our electric windlass has a back-up manual capability, operated by rotating a handle. Works OK until the weight of the anchor comes to bear; after that, I can't get enough force on it to lift the remaining anchor and chain. Not enough leverage.

-Chris
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Old 05-02-2016, 06:02   #6
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

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Originally Posted by cruisersfarm View Post
Just be patient?

I have the same setup with the Lofrans.

Cranking it up takes a few moments, but it's really not an issue under any circumstances.
I think I am pretty patient... maybe your technique is different, because it takes me more than a few moments I'd say. Could be 10 minutes or so. This is part of the reason why I posted - it's quite possible there's something wrong with my technique. (for example, I recently learned our windlass doesn't have the chain stripper installed - which makes windlass use a bit more of a pain because the chain jams in the gypsy sometimes. I'm going to install it)

But the real issue is if I have to do any resets if our first anchor set attempt gets botched on a difficult bottom. Raising once or twice at the end of a tiring day when you just want to start happy hour is no fun. Fortunately we have good mud bottoms in most places here so I've only had 2 resets out of about 50 anchorings.

I read an article recently by a boater who finally switched from manual to powered and they had one good point - a manual windlass can act as a deterrent from resetting on a sketchy set if you've already done it 2 or 3 times and are dead tired. They knew several people who had dragged because they said f' it, it's good enough, when they were on a tough bottom and dead tired from manual raising. I'm hoping not to have to go electric, so I need to make manual raising easy enough that I'm not deterred from having to do it 2 or 3 times in a row if necessary.

I'm also thinking about this because we're going to Desolation Sound / Broughtons this year where it's deep and I'll often have 150' of chain out or more. 150' of chain is way different than 60' of chain.
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Old 05-02-2016, 06:49   #7
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Our electric windlass has a back-up manual capability, operated by rotating a handle. Works OK until the weight of the anchor comes to bear; after that, I can't get enough force on it to lift the remaining anchor and chain. Not enough leverage.

-Chris
Yeah, I had that idea too - buy an old used electric windlass that has a manual backup (even better if the electric component is broken, thereby reducing the price). But I suspected that an electric windlass with manual backup is not as good as a manual windlass designed for manual use 100% of the time.

And as you confirmed, I would think a rotary handle operation would perhaps need a lever bar style action as well, because unless the rotary handle has a very long arm (which then might not clear foredeck obstructions like the stanchions), greater leverage would be needed for the last part of the job when you're pulling the anchor's weight too.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:59   #8
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

Tessellate:
I have a S-L Sea Tiger 555 and it has a 36" lever which works on all 3 crank heads. 2 work in both a forward AND backward movement of the lever and yes, the other speed is quite higher.
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:19   #9
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tessellate View Post
I think I am pretty patient... maybe your technique is different, because it takes me more than a few moments I'd say. Could be 10 minutes or so. This is part of the reason why I posted - it's quite possible there's something wrong with my technique. (for example, I recently learned our windlass doesn't have the chain stripper installed - which makes windlass use a bit more of a pain because the chain jams in the gypsy sometimes. I'm going to install it)

But the real issue is if I have to do any resets if our first anchor set attempt gets botched on a difficult bottom. Raising once or twice at the end of a tiring day when you just want to start happy hour is no fun. Fortunately we have good mud bottoms in most places here so I've only had 2 resets out of about 50 anchorings.

I read an article recently by a boater who finally switched from manual to powered and they had one good point - a manual windlass can act as a deterrent from resetting on a sketchy set if you've already done it 2 or 3 times and are dead tired. They knew several people who had dragged because they said f' it, it's good enough, when they were on a tough bottom and dead tired from manual raising. I'm hoping not to have to go electric, so I need to make manual raising easy enough that I'm not deterred from having to do it 2 or 3 times in a row if necessary.

I'm also thinking about this because we're going to Desolation Sound / Broughtons this year where it's deep and I'll often have 150' of chain out or more. 150' of chain is way different than 60' of chain.

I got a manual Lofrans I installed after my Lewmar electrial powered windlass packed up. I was never too happy with the Lewmar anyway, not enough power to get chain in when waves, wind against. Take yoyr tome to lift chain and anchor, winch in whem bow dives into waves wait when bounces up. I advise to have a strong large horn cleat mounted behind the windlass to catch chain aroubd when needed.
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:08   #10
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

I'm also thinking about this because we're going to Desolation Sound / Broughtons this year where it's deep and I'll often have 150' of chain out or more. 150' of chain is way different than 60' of chain.[/QUOTE]

Would this be an area where it might make sense to use "rope" & chain rode? Limit chain to 60 ft & rest is "rope".
Or do you worry about "rope" chafing on coral,rocks,etc. in these deep areas?

Cheers/ Len
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:38   #11
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

I think we yotties have two rather unrelated problems. One is the distortion of time that is entirely perceptual when you are doing pulley-hauley. A hundred and fifty strokes of the Johnson bar, which is what you you say you have to do, at, say, 4 seconds a stroke, is "only" 600 seconds or ten minutes. Some people pay for a gym subscription to be permitted to pump iron! We don't :-)

The other problem is that we often try to translate the way things were done in "the old days" to modern circumstances without really thinking the "whys" and "wherefores" through. Even in a small Baltic trader, let alone in Pamir and even USCG Eagle, weighing anchor took appreciably more than ten minutes.

TrentePieds is admittedly no more than a toy, but she has a Vetus-brand capstan. Silly little thing. Inadequate little spurling pipe. Far from enuff electrical oomph to do the job in any kind of trying circumstances. Cos it's a capstan, and not a windlass, the foredeck crew can't get a proper purchase on the rode, and lay some back into it, to give the toy capstan a helping hand.

So I just let the capstan sit there in all her stainless splendor and let Armstrong handle the ground tackle. If he wimps out, the rope rode goes to a #12 Anderson self-tailer meant for the jib sheet. By the time the chain/rope splice reaches the sheet winch there is only 20 or so feet of chain over the roller with a 35lb Bruce on the end. No weight at all, and we're very often already under way.

Cos the spurling pipe is such a silly little excuse for a piece of seamanlike gear I simply flake the rode on deck while handling it. Because there is no tension on the rode once the hook is on the roller I am comfortable enuff letting MyBeloved guide the chain around the gypsy and down the spurling pipe. At the splice she has to stop and manually poke the splice through the spurling, then go below and haul the rope rode down the spurling. Or I do :-)

Idiotic set-up, but that's what comes of confusing toy boats with ships :-)!

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Old 05-02-2016, 11:50   #12
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

The SL 555 has a faster speed and well worth it. The single speed manuals drive me crazy too. Forget 360 degree winching.
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:59   #13
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

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Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
I think we yotties have two rather unrelated problems. One is the distortion of time that is entirely perceptual when you are doing pulley-hauley. A hundred and fifty strokes of the Johnson bar, which is what you you say you have to do, at, say, 4 seconds a stroke, is "only" 600 seconds or ten minutes. Some people pay for a gym subscription to be permitted to pump iron! We don't :-)

The other problem is that we often try to translate the way things were done in "the old days" to modern circumstances without really thinking the "whys" and "wherefores" through. Even in a small Baltic trader, let alone in Pamir and even USCG Eagle, weighing anchor took appreciably more than ten minutes.

TrentePieds is admittedly no more than a toy, but she has a Vetus-brand capstan. Silly little thing. Inadequate little spurling pipe. Far from enuff electrical oomph to do the job in any kind of trying circumstances. Cos it's a capstan, and not a windlass, the foredeck crew can't get a proper purchase on the rode, and lay some back into it, to give the toy capstan a helping hand.

So I just let the capstan sit there in all her stainless splendor and let Armstrong handle the ground tackle. If he wimps out, the rope rode goes to a #12 Anderson self-tailer meant for the jib sheet. By the time the chain/rope splice reaches the sheet winch there is only 20 or so feet of chain over the roller with a 35lb Bruce on the end. No weight at all, and we're very often already under way.

Cos the spurling pipe is such a silly little excuse for a piece of seamanlike gear I simply flake the rode on deck while handling it. Because there is no tension on the rode once the hook is on the roller I am comfortable enuff letting MyBeloved guide the chain around the gypsy and down the spurling pipe. At the splice she has to stop and manually poke the splice through the spurling, then go below and haul the rope rode down the spurling. Or I do :-)

Idiotic set-up, but that's what comes of confusing toy boats with ships :-)!

TrentePieds
You nailed that right!!

I gave up on trying to stuff rode down the dinky chain pipe. Cut a notch in front edge of hatch & lift hatch to allow chain & road to fall in locker.
My locker is water tight to vessel interior & has 2 thru hull drains.
10 minutes can be a long time when you are drifting down a tidal channel or onto a lee shore.

Note: the 3/4" nylon is the bow line & is not normally stuffed into locker.Click image for larger version

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Old 05-02-2016, 15:02   #14
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

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The SL 555 has a faster speed and well worth it. The single speed manuals drive me crazy too. Forget 360 degree winching.
Sounds like I need to start watching for an SL 555 on ebay!

The inefficiency of the single speed windlass is mainly what drives me crazy. For the first 80 feet it is trivially easy - like sweeping a broom. It's like if I went to a gym and lifted tiny 10 lb dumbbells - I'm not doing my body any good, and just wasting my time! I'd rather do 20 high weight reps rather than 100 low weight reps.

There are dozens of different power ratings for electric windlasses, I guess all I'm hoping for is more than one power level for manual windlasses.
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Old 05-02-2016, 15:09   #15
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Re: Tips for manual windlasses and hand weighing of anchor?

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I'm also thinking about this because we're going to Desolation Sound / Broughtons this year where it's deep and I'll often have 150' of chain out or more. 150' of chain is way different than 60' of chain.
-----
Would this be an area where it might make sense to use "rope" & chain rode? Limit chain to 60 ft & rest is "rope".
Or do you worry about "rope" chafing on coral,rocks,etc. in these deep areas?

Cheers/ Len
Probably. Rope chafe is no concern in northern BC. The main issue is some anchorages are small *and* deep. So I'll need to stern tie with a lot of rode out on the bow anchor. I'll probably need to use the 300 ft rode, but have not had great experiences with that in the past - with 175 ft of rope rode, our swing radius was greater than the size of the anchorage and we almost swung into rocks.
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