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Old 06-06-2019, 07:48   #1
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Windlass does not pull rope

I've recently bought a boat that has a windlass anchor. I noticed that the windlass does not pull the rope through the Gypsy. There are some fraying close to the chain but the rest of the rope is good, looks almost new. But it still does not get pulled. only the chain part is pulled with the Windlass. Any suggestions on what may be the cause? not sure if the robe is thick enough, I think its a 3/8" rope. How would I know what size of a rope does the Windlass use?
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:50   #2
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

Size and make of windless? Picture?
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:54   #3
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

The windlass capstain should have an embossed chain size. What is listed?
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:54   #4
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pirate Re: Windlass does not pull rope

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I've recently bought a boat that has a windlass anchor. I noticed that the windlass does not pull the rope through the Gypsy. There are some fraying close to the chain but the rest of the rope is good, looks almost new. But it still does not get pulled. only the chain part is pulled with the Windlass. Any suggestions on what may be the cause? not sure if the robe is thick enough, I think its a 3/8" rope. How would I know what size of a rope does the Windlass use?
On the occasions I have had rope rode on OP's boats with electric windlass's, I use the drum for the rope till I get at least two turns of chain on it then lock chain and transfer the chain to the gypsy.
But hey.. each to their own..
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:01   #5
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

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Originally Posted by Burkan View Post
I've recently bought a boat that has a windlass anchor. I noticed that the windlass does not pull the rope through the Gypsy. There are some fraying close to the chain but the rest of the rope is good, looks almost new. But it still does not get pulled. only the chain part is pulled with the Windlass. Any suggestions on what may be the cause? not sure if the robe is thick enough, I think its a 3/8" rope. How would I know what size of a rope does the Windlass use?

What makes you hink the windlass is designed for rope/chain? It may only be a chain gypsy.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:28   #6
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

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The windlass capstain should have an embossed chain size. What is listed?
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What makes you hink the windlass is designed for rope/chain? It may only be a chain gypsy.
Could be, here is mine that had been used for many years w/ chain only, now is working fine w/ rope / chain.


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Old 06-06-2019, 11:05   #7
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Burkan.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:20   #8
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

Thank you all for your responses, I will take pictures and see if I can find the make and model number. and re post.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:22   #9
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

I have no idea if its for rope or chain. Will try to figure it out.
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Old 06-06-2019, 13:54   #10
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

Most of the pancake style windlasses are combination rope/chain gypsies. They've got ridges to grab the rope inboard of the chain section. They have a recommended rope size, IIRC my Lewmar gypsy works with 5/16" chain and 1/2" rope. 3/8" rope is pretty dinky for an anchor rode and may be too small for the gypsy to grab.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:11   #11
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

Is a "SportsCraft 226" not a smallish, outboard powered fishing boat? Not familiar with, not can I find, a sailboat of that appellation.

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Old 07-06-2019, 18:09   #12
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

You might also want to look at a product called "brait" made by Yale Cordage. It's an 8 strand rope specifically designed for chain to rope application.
Super easy to splice and grips well on the gypsy.
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Old 07-06-2019, 19:53   #13
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

I am surprised no one is tellng you you should be usingan 8 strand multiplait rope usually made of nylon and made with a ptch the same size as the fluteees on the jipsy.Ths is a common rope and availiable from any rope maker.
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Old 14-06-2019, 12:43   #14
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

I have Pictures now. I could not find any markings to let me know what size rope I need.



So when I operated the Windlass to pull the anchor, the Windlass over heated and tripped the circuit breaker. Not sure if the anchor chain is too long and too heavy for the boat. I have not measured it yet but it seams a lot longer than the length of the boat.



What is the rule of thump for the length of the chain? should it be at least as long as the boat?
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Old 14-06-2019, 14:25   #15
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Re: Windlass does not pull rope

Were you by any chance pulling the boat forward by means of the windlass?

These little baby windlasses are not capable of generating the power to do that, and Lofrans SPECIFICALLY sez in their manuals that you should not do it. A windlass that is stalled because it cannot handle the load put upon it by pulling the boat forward by the anchor rode will overheat and trip the breaker in the high ampage circuit.

When the breaker pops, waiting a few minutes to let it cool down and then resetting it should let the windlass run again, but if you strain it again, the breaker will pop again. The more often a breaker has to do it's job and break the circuit, the weaker it gets, and it will then trip at an ampage lower than its stated one.

The way you ask your question about appropriate length of anchor chain indicates to me that you are fairly new to these things. The question isn't one of length per se but rather one of what the chain is there for. It's there to do two jobs really: Firstly, it must provide weight to help the baby anchors we Sunday sailors use have their shanks remain lying flat on the sea bottom. Secondly the chain is there to provide chafe resistance as the rode moves around on the sea bottom. Your windlass looks to have a "gypsy" - the "chain wheel" - dimensioned for 5/16" chain, but stating only that parameter is not enuff. Chain stated merely to be "5/16" has other parameters as well that must match the gypsy. As it happens, if your boat is the little "sports fishing" boat I think it is, then 40 feet , or so, of chain, call it 7 fathoms, should be enuff. Is your anchor a "Danforth" or a "Fortress" type?

TrentePieds is a 30 foot, 5 ton sailboat. I wouldn't dream of asking my capstan to haul 'er forward against wind and tide. I MOTOR forward slowly, taking in the rode hand-over-hand and let it flake down on deck till the anchor is "up'n'down", i.e. the boat is directly over the anchor and the anchor has broken out. I know that has happened when the boat begins to drift on the wind (or the current if there is any). Only at that point do I use the capstan to haul up the remaining rode and the anchor, tho' I often let "Mr. Armstrong" do that job as well. Once the anchor is in the chocks and secure, I tidy up on deck by guiding the flaked rode into the capstan while I run it so the rode drops into the locker. For this part of the job, the rope rode is handled by the gypsy which acts the same way as the "clam plate" on a self-tailing winch. I make sure that the splice twixt rope and chain goes through the spurling pipe ( the pipe that takes the rode through the deck) properly.

Similarly, when I go to anchor, I haul the required length of rode through the spurling pipe by hand and flake it on deck. Then as I let down the anchor and I feel the rode go slack when the anchor is "up'n'down", I let the boat drift downwind (or down current) paying out the rode in pace with the boat so the rode will lie straight on the sea bottom. When the rode has the required scope, and the anchor tells me by "telegraphing" through the rode that it has set, I belay the rode on the samson cleat at the very end of what's on deck. Then I back the boat away slowly under power till it is stopped by the anchor. Then I apply full power in reverse for about three minutes to ensure that even under full power in reverse the hook will not break out of the sea bottom accidentally.

You may find that using these techniques you will make your life and your windlass's life easier, and make all your ground tackle as well as the windlass last a lot longer :-)

"Grown up" ships use essentially the techniques I've outlined here. They use their propulsion engines to relieve the stress on their capstans and windlasses. There are always men standing by the capstans/windlasses with requisite gear to handle chain whose links may weigh many hundreds of pounds.

Remember that much of what we Sunday sailors do in our baby ships is a "scaled down" version of what "real" sailors do in "real" ships. But there are some things that don't scale. Anchoring and handling ground tackle is one of them. The manufacturers of "boat gear", Lofrans among them, play on the fact that novice yachtsmen don't (yet) know that, and on the fact that advertising in the "glossy mags" will sell an awful lot of expensive, unnecessary gear to novices who haven't yet grown wise - or cynical :-)

All the best

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