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Old 25-05-2008, 15:21   #1
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Willard Sprit / Windlass / Anchor Headache


I was going to remount on my new sprit all the hardware exactly as it was on the old sprit. But something does not seem right about that decision. Pictures with aft Samson post, windlass, Forestay (red screwdriver) and anchor roller is the current set up. Is it me, or is this windlass simply too big for the boat? Once I started playing with the way it was, I know now I cannot follow the original template. The windlass was mounted further to the port side on the sprit, the chain never could drop straight into the locker -- the angel was not as straight as I would have liked from the roller to the gypsy. The whole set up feels wrong. But then, it is not like I have sailed that much, and it clearly did work prior (although I am beginning to wonder if the force of snubbing did not contribute to the huge rotted hole around the forward starboard windlass bolt hole).

Pictures with aft windlass, samson post, and anchor roller are what I am thinking about doing. I am wondering if swapping the position of the windlass and the samson post would be better. The chain will just clear the side of the sprit and the samson post could be used to claw the chain so to prevent too much force on the windlass.

I would welcome some suggestions and analysis of what is going on here -- Should I sell the windlass and get a smaller one? Should the roller be mounted further aft? If I do change the windlass, I would appreciate size and brand suggestions. I am thinking of going with 130Ft of chain only -- but I am unsure as to the size.

Am I over-thinking this matter? Holy smoke. This has got me down.

The physics, needs, and best practices involved in this post and all the has tripped all my breakers.

Please help.


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Old 25-05-2008, 16:10   #2
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Not sure that I can answer any of your questions, perhaps just adding more complexity, but I have never heard anyone say "gee, my windlass is to big" before.

As for the rot around your mounting bolts, make sure to drill the holes oversize and then fill with epoxy fiber mix to provide and annulus around the bolts. This will prevent crushing the wood fibers when you tighten the bolts and help prevent damage in the future.

As for the layout, can't help with that, sorry.

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Old 25-05-2008, 16:54   #3
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Sorry -- was not as clear as I could have been. I have a new sprit (it is in one of the photos); I was using the old one to mark the holes to drill onto the new sprit. When I started looking at the old layout, and then actually placing the items as they were, the whole thing seemed cockeyed.

I mean, why drill a huge honking hole through your sprit with less than a 1/2 inch from the edge? Why did they do that? Whoever did the original install made alot of mistakes.

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Old 25-05-2008, 17:05   #4
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Michael, a couple of things I can guess at, but first you don't have a true Samson post which is a 4x4 through the deck and rabbeted into the keelson or stem for strength. What you have is a bitt or more preferably a bollard since it is round and just mounted on deck. With the same number of bolts in it as in the windlass, the shear load in the bolts will be the same in both, but because of the shorter fore and aft distance of the bolt holes on your bollard, it would have a higher tension load on the aft bolts, than on the aft bolts of the windlass. You would also have a greater compression load under the fwd edge of the bollard, so if you thought that the snubbing off your windlass contributed to your rot problem under the fwd stbd hole, then it would probably be worse from the bollard.

You should snub your chain from something as you have no tabernacle, pawl, or cam on your windlass to secure your chain from slipping, and the brake is intended to take the weight of the anchor and chain only, not the force of the boat at anchor. I would suggest mounting your windlass on an oversize stainless plate, with an additional hole it it off to the side, to shackle a chain stopper into. Then with a chain from that to a chain hook, or some other chain grabbing device. That would keep the load low with no overturning loads on either the windlass or the bollard. With that done you can position the bollard so that it lines up best with your chocks for dock lines, and position the windlass for the best drop of the chain into the chain locker.

Now as to why the windlass was off to port a little I think it was to allow the chain to drop cleanly into the locker through the hole in both the sprit and the disengaging finger (not the correct term) casting (which is not in evidence on your sprit). This little chain stripper would normally be bolted down over (or on) the hole, and has a finger that comes up between the jaws of the wildcat to disengage the chain links when they are under load while weighing/retrieving anchor. The chain then drops through the hole which is part of the same fitting. If your windlass was centered the drop area in the sprit would be a notch in the edge of the sprit which would be structurally unsound for the sprit and awkward for the chain-stripper. Perhaps the sprit should have been a tad wider in that area.

Oh well, thats my thoughts on the issue.

Good Luck

Joe S
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