I don't have any first hand experience with raising the main (or anything else) with a battery
It is worth a try... although for raising the main I find that if your technique is right, it is pretty easy. You can grab the halyard
with both hands (at eye level) and with elbows to your chest, then just bend your knees, allowing only your body weight to do the work. This works only up until the weight of the main + all friction is still = to < your body weight. For a guy your size, I doubt that it is heavier.
You could also put in a "clutch" above where you grip, so that when you re-grip, and momentarily hold the halyard
with one hand, the clutch
holds 100% of the weight, and actually allows you to rest if needed, between pulls. This way you are ALWAYS pulling with BOTH hands on the line and never pulling hand over hand!
I use a clutch
on my roller furling
control line, and it allows me to roll in the headsail by myself, with one hand, while also steering
. HOW? I wrap the reefing/furling line around my left hand, head
up quickly while steering
with my right hand until she luffs a bit, and then pull the reefing line with my body only. (I keep my arm straight and just lean in 2'). Then I QUICKLY fall off to stay out of irons. Next I re-grip with the left hand, head
up, pull the line, and fall off... After several rounds like this she is mostly rolled up and I can pull it the rest of the way hand over hand. ITS EASY!
In a REALLY strong wind
or course, we head down wind to roll it up, blanketed by the mainsl.
Applying this clutch idea to your main halyard, you could take your back issues out of the equation.
For my previous two boats AND the first 10 years with Delphys, I just used a mostly rope rode
with boatlength of 1/4" HT/G4 chain. (250'total) I tried a LOT of combinations over that 30+ years, and found that this was fine for the East Coast
USA, Keys, Gulf Coast
, most of Central America
, and most of the Bahamas
I finally settled on this:
I used a 5/8" platt nylon like NERs Mega Braid. (NOT three strand). Three strand is 10X more hassle to handle because it coils up and hockles when you pull it in quickly, as required.
SMALLER 1/2" line is what I now use with a windlass, only because it can chain/rope splice with my 1/4" chain, so it works with a rope/chain gypsy like we have. Thing is, 1/2" is harder to pull in by hand, so for my old hand pulled rode
, I used 5/8" rope
for a better grip.
This larger line was married to the 1/4" chain with a Crosby shackle through the rope's thimble. It was by necessity too weak a shackle to match the rope OR the chain, but for my smaller boats it was OK. (Only in the larger 3/8" size, is a STRONG Alloy = HT compatible shackle available).
When I moved up to Delphys from the much smaller SC 28, I up sized the boatlength of HT chain to 5/8", so that I could move up to this larger = strength compatible shackle.
I also later used an EXPENSIVE WASSA ball & socket swivel to connect to the anchor, and consider it the only safe SS swivel.
Why? I preferred using a swivel even though its use is controversial, because with a mostly rope rode, (VS mostly or all chain with a windlass) when you pull in the anchor after a week on the hook, you might have 30 twists in the chain, with many of them next to the anchor. This will not work with the nifty chain tensioner that I have used from the beginning.
For folks that like to island hop, a device like this is soo cool. it allows the anchor to instantly be pulled in SO tightly that it does not move or rattle in the roller. Thing is, even one twist in the chain and the pre adjusted chain tension is off measurement, so it will not work. I have anchored thousands of times, and this system has served me well. I can reliably deploy or stow the anchor in just a few seconds... I do, however, keep a close eye on the SS swivel, which is still pristine after 15 years. With this design only, there are no unseen places where crevice corrosion
For a rope/chain rode. pulling the hook out of the bottom is EASY. When I was single
handed a lot of the time, I would do my best to motor
directly over the anchor first, and it might take two runs back to the helm
. This was followed by QUICKLY running forward and pulling in rode! Then if I was still laying to the rode portion I would cleat it, or more often than not, (since I anchor in 7' a lot), I would attach my SS chain "fork" (not chain "hook"), to the chain leader.
CHAIN FORKS are easier on the chain and on the deck
. My chain fork has a 4' tail that I cleat to the bow cleat when anchoring
. When anchored out I lay totally to the bridle
, but keep the chain fork or rope rode cleated as a safety
Once the rode is more or less vertical, a little time or reverse thrust will pull it out of the bottom. Worse case requires a bit of bouncing on the stern. You can even motor
over the hook, but might bend it this way. I did once... Patience pays here.
Another advantage of the mostly rope rode is that when NOT loaded, (because a helmsperson is motoring up for you), you can pull in the rode REALLY fast and REALLY easy. USE GLOVES! You can also cleat off the rode QUICKLY in an emergency
, in like... 2 seconds VS 8 seconds. Also, if your boat has been forced perpendicular to the rode because the wind blew the bow off, the now tight rode will not gouge the ama like chain will. It will take bottom paint
off, but that's all.
Bear in mind that with a mostly rope rode, when the wind is not really blowing, that line is snaking all over the bottom. If it is pristine sand or mud this is safe enough, but on rock, old coral
, or hardpan, it can be disastrous. (Of course... TRY to NEVER anchor on our precious coral)!!! On these types of harsh bottoms I use a small dinghy fender
to pick up the end of the chain about 6' off of the bottom.
I also used to dive on the entire swinging circle to inspect for the risks, when I laid to mostly rope in the clear waters of the Bahamas
or Fl Keys. At the same time, I might just find dinner!
MORE CHAIN = NEEDING AN ELECTRIC
Only when we decided to cruise
the Eastern Caribbean
with its deep anchorages
and harsh bottom, did I decide on using 130+' of chain. This was safer in many ways, it could handle a harsher bottom, and in marginal holding the chain helps hold the boat as well. If it is not too windy, I might shorten up to 6/1 scope
with mostly chain, but when room allows, I still use 7/1. I would never go back now, but ONLY because I have a proper windlass.
We set out on our last Caribbean cruise
by first heading from Pensacola
Fl to the upper Chesapeake, to wait out H season. This whole time I never anchored in more than 10' of water
, so the long chain was no problem. In fact, it was smaller chain than I had been used to, so was easier. Only when we were anchoring
down island in > 40' of water
, with 25+ knots of wind and 2' chop, did it became a deal breaker.
For you AJ, cruising the Bahamas & Keys, I think a mostly rope rode will suffice. A windlass is GREAT IF it is perfect, but in the way if it is not. It is in no way necessary to pull the hook out of the bottom, however.
Laying to mostly rope you can use a vertical "mechanical" windlass to pull the boat forward, but only if it has a rope/chain gypsy that will really grip, and proper locker. With the drum only type, you need someone to tail, leaving no one at the helm when the hook pulls out. YIKES!
There is no easy fix here. You could install an extra OB motor, so you could power up with such accuracy that Lisa could deal with a mostly rope rode. (or vise-versa) You could also put in a proper electric windlass at about the same costs... Think of what your co-pays at the doctor add up to! For a fit young man the "grunt it in" method is fine, but...
IF YOU HAVE NO WINDLASS, the mostly rope rode works best IF you bring the rode on deck
REALLY quickly as the boat motors forward, rather than slowly stuff it into a haws hole to be stored down below. Then after the anchor is secure on its roller and the boat is under way, flake it out in the anchor rode locker. You already have this set up.
The photos below are of the anchor rode locker that I started out with on Delphys. It was a plastic hatch
over a 6 gallon flower pot that I got from WallyWorld. This bucket had a 1" through hull
fitting with hose, that routed out the side of the hull
. I first built a trim ring under the deck to bolt the flower pot to, gaskets and all! It was STRONG as well as water and vapor proof. I love quick & cheep solutions... when they REALLY ARE solutions!
Later, when installing our windlass in Trinidad, I got rid of the bucket rode locker, but left the hatch
over it and glued down trim ring. I then put a floor under this old trim ring, and now it houses the coiled up washdown hose. Perfect!
In your case, you could install a proper windlass for mostly chain rode, for about $2,000, and it would be EASY compared to my installation
, because you already have a self bailing locker for the rode, which I did not. (My bucket was not nearly enough chain drop, nor was it in the correct location).
You could also go with a mostly "rope" rode and electric windlass, as the new designs, like my "Quick" brand with MegaBraid rope, will still grip about 80% as strongly as to the chain!
The thing about being in pain is that wherever you go, you take that with you. I know this all too well. Be careful with your back, and as a person who NEVER thought a 34' trimaran
like mine should have a windlass, I changed my mind. It is money
well spent, especially for us "old cruisers" with back problems.