Originally Posted by tomfl
I know this is a function of the windage of the vessel but anyone want to guess at what point the wind strength makes backing down unnecessary.
Yes I agree there is no need to use the engine
to back down in 40 knots. The wind will provide plenty of force.
While laying out the chain in these strong winds the anchor winch clutch
can adjusted to slip, so the force on the windlass is not very high. To attach the bridle the chain needs to stationary. At this stage the full load is taken by the windlass. The force is even higher than normal because without a bridle the shearing will be greater.
As someone has pointed out you can use the motors to reduce the force on the windlass while the bridle is attached, but this depends on the engines functioning (probably both) and at least two people. Even then you may need some comunication between the foredeck and the helm
which is often not easy in bad conditions.
Even if you ignore the health
of the windlass you may find that the windlass clutch
cannot be tightened enough to hold in the gusts. Attaching a bridle while the chain is slipping is difficult on many cats. A means of quickly securing the chain is a big help. Such a system is needed anyway in case the bridal breaks.
I have found even reasonably experienced sailors sometimes find anchoring systems that they have used successfully for years can break down in poor conditions.
A simple very common one that is more applicable to monohulls is where the only anchor winch controls lead out of the foredeck hatch
. Try that when you drag strong wind with waves crashing over the bow and you will be sleeping on wet mattress.