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Old 18-01-2018, 13:55   #16
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

As a single hander I use my windlass to retrieve the entire rode every time I anchor. I don't have much choice. I use Jim's method, short bursts that get the boat moving, then take up the slack in the catenary, and another couple of short bursts to keep the boat moving. When straight up and down, if the anchor does not come free right away I desist and walk back to the engine.

When deploying the anchor I lower it to the bottom then kick the clutch to let out however much chain I need out. Less wear on the motor, better control through the clutch.

I do keep a spare solenoid controller on the boat. Burnt out one and don't want to be left in that position again.
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Old 18-01-2018, 14:07   #17
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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
Being a single hander, it's pretty much impossible to be at two places at once. I tried it the OP's way once and decided that was a non-starter. That is, as the boat would drift back down pretty much before I could get back to the bow, un shub the rode and wrap it around the capstan. So I don't do that anymore, ever.

I have a big Ideal windlass that is made for a 45 foot boat. On my dinky 34 foot, 12k pound boat, the 1200 watt motor has no issue at all in hauling the rode up very quickly. Yes it's moving the boat forward, but it's not straining at all. I have mixed rode, so need to be at the bow to tail the rode after the capstan. My only problem is keeping up with the windlass.

I will note that my ideal gearbox is about 12" square with a vertical capstan/wildcat above. At 120 pounds its a beast.

My typical hoist is 80 feet of rode and it takes my 2 amp three stage dc to dc charger less then 1-1/2 hours to bring the windlass battery back to float. so about 3 ah for a single hoist (with pulling the boat forward to anchor). Not really a biggy.

Of course most of my anchorages are very protected and at most I have a knot or two of current.

If one has crew then doing it the OP's way is not an issue. By myself, with mixed rode, ain't going to happen.
Have you tried using the main instead of the engine.??
Sheet it flat and central and lock the wheel central.. the boat will then start to tack up to the anchor.. haul in when she reaches the top of her tack and starts falling off.. stop as the weight comes back on and she starts the opposite tack.. haul in as she falls off again.. etc etc.. the trick is timing the hook breaking free on the desired tack.. away from any boats anchored to close to you.
Used to do this when I hauled up by hand.. heave n hold.. heave n hold.
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Old 18-01-2018, 14:21   #18
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Oh, come on now. Over the years I used my windlass (rarely electric) for things that I am sure were not a part of its design parameters. Usually, the job got done, and it was the best tool available to do it. Any windlass, power or manual, that is too sacred to help with other than it named design task would have been too much of a delicate flower for my boat. No, I am not saying abuse it -they are not cheap- but use it if it is capable of doing the job at hand better than the other available choices. Sometimes even take a risk because it is the only option.
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Old 18-01-2018, 14:35   #19
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

a. The market wants a windlass that they can use to the haul the boat to the anchor, even in a breeze. For certain, motoring up when singlehanding, securing a break-out snubber, and popping it out with boat momentum is trickier than it sounds. Been there, done that. I've certainly used the windlass a little hard on occasion.

b. Industrial chain hoists are used to move loads, all day, every day.

Why not build the windlass to do the job? Just sayin', only sailors would accept the compromise without question.

---

Not sayin' I would use it for kedging. For starters, it's probably not the right direction. For another, I want better control over the force. For a third, who wants to row out chain? You kedge with rope.
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Old 18-01-2018, 14:47   #20
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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Have you tried using the main instead of the engine.??
Sheet it flat and central and lock the wheel central.. the boat will then start to tack up to the anchor.. haul in when she reaches the top of her tack and starts falling off.. stop as the weight comes back on and she starts the opposite tack.. haul in as she falls off again.. etc etc.. the trick is timing the hook breaking free on the desired tack.. away from any boats anchored to close to you.
Used to do this when I hauled up by hand.. heave n hold.. heave n hold.
I have done that in the past a few times, china camp comes to mind. Though in the delta, it's more river ish and I normally anchor fairly close to the windward shore, as prevailing winds in spring through fall is mostly from the west to northwest. Being 30 feet from shore does not lend itself to sailing off. Cough, I might be getting lazy in my old, er, mature years too.

Gee most places I anchor I am the only boat that is in sight. There are places that get busy in summer in the delta, but I don't go there. Central bay gets really busy, with folks less then 100 feet away, but not so much in the quiet and buggy delta.

I must say I am getting spoiled with the fancy electric windlass. Pulling the rode in by hand was getting old, well my hands and back were anyway.
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Old 18-01-2018, 15:01   #21
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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You can hear a windlass when itís working hard, moving my boat up to the anchor taking out slack is nothing compared to lifting the 40 Kg Rocna with it full of clay type of mud, the windlass is straining then, but what do you do, it has to come up. Iím not talking about breaking it out, just lifting it straight up through the water column.
This is true,i often pull the boat up via the windlass as I singlehand often. You can feel it strain and you work it accordingly.

It's difficult to teach crew how to feel it.
My partner is a real feeler when it comes to people but trying to get her to feel mechanical stuff is difficult.

Also there are time's when that anchor just needs to come up and that means putting it under load. I believe they are stronger than we give them credit yet it obviously it makes sense to go easy on them as often as possible.
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Old 18-01-2018, 15:01   #22
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Wolfesmy,

To me what you are describing are viable solutions- perhaps even workarounds- for vessels with windlasses that are marginal in specs/ capability [for that vessel], its ground tackle, and daily vs. more extreme uses.

I generally agree with your cautions and suggestions since [unfortunately] it seems a higher percentage of boats I've witnessed over the years have windlasses that just barely meet the needs of the vessel they are installed upon, if that.

As you know, there are many more capable windlasses available that- when properly installed- would eliminate the need for most of your cautions. I mention this in case others are not aware.

Most [but not all...] vessels are likely capable of supporting a more robust windlass which better matches the vessel's requirements.

As an example, I bit the bullet when I got this boat and refitted a Lighthouse windlass with two chain gypsies and one rope drum. This is because I believe the ground tackle system is one of the most important systems on our boat, and the one that came withthe boat met my description of marginal, above...

As Paul already mentioned, the Lighthouse it is designed to also be used for kedging-off, yielding over 10,000 lbs pull using a winch handle. [applying only 30 ft-lbs of force. I shudder to think of the puling power using our Milwaukee 'electric winch handle'...]

This windlass also has a permanent magnet purpose made motor rated for continuous use. It doesn't even groan when deadhauling our 99lb Spade primary bower on all chain rode from a 100 ft deep anchorage. [1,000 lbs continuous pull- more if the DC amps are available to the motor...]

Of course this capacity requires some careful engineering to make sure the installation is robust enough to support the pulling capability of the windlass. [Especially on our 43' fiberglass boat...]

I mention this in support of your stated goals, and to demonstrate that we don't have to choose equipment that is barely suitable for our day-to-day needs; let alone abnormal or extreme circumstances.

For anyone who desires more details, here is a link to information about our windlass refit.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 18-01-2018, 16:27   #23
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

BTW

I don't have a windlass on my Morgan 383 and lift my 45# Manson Supreme and chain using the Armstrong method.
Gonna get a windlass when I can't do it any more.

Just don't want windlass users having issues, sorry for being concerned.

Thanks for all your feedback
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Old 18-01-2018, 17:03   #24
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
You can hear a windlass when itís working hard, moving my boat up to the anchor taking out slack is nothing compared to lifting the 40 Kg Rocna with it full of clay type of mud, the windlass is straining then, but what do you do, it has to come up. Iím not talking about breaking it out, just lifting it straight up through the water column.
Yep... and by the way... even if just hauling anchor and chain in a deep anchorage, give it a rest now and then if it is laboring... just like you should your starter motor on your engine if long cranking is required.
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Old 18-01-2018, 18:04   #25
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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ID:	162471. Picked up engine/mooring. Falcon 24v, had to pick up in bits while the batteries caught up, and ran Benny at same time to keep good power gong.
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Old 18-01-2018, 18:22   #26
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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Attachment 162471. Picked up engine/mooring. Falcon 24v, had to pick up in bits while the batteries caught up, and ran Benny at same time to keep good power gong.
Fun. Never hauled up an engine block, but have pulled up large trees with my manual windlass. It is plenty strong, and well backed on my deck. I believe it could hold through almost anything. But I still agree that whenever reasonable, all forces should be taken off the windlass.
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Old 19-01-2018, 05:00   #27
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Another very common form of windlass abuse is backing down without rigging a snubber, or using a stoutly mounted chain lock. Putting 1800 rpm in reverse directly on the windlass has the potential to cause lots of wear and damage.
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Old 19-01-2018, 12:24   #28
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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Another very common form of windlass abuse is backing down without rigging a snubber, or using a stoutly mounted chain lock. Putting 1800 rpm in reverse directly on the windlass has the potential to cause lots of wear and damage.
Certainly would on our vessel - 1750rpm is full noise.
Fwiw we never back down, let weight of boat, wind and tide do the set but I realise some anchors need all the help they can get.
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Old 19-01-2018, 14:38   #29
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Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
We seem to have this discussion at monthly intervals here on CF. And as I have posted before, anyone should be able to discern when the windlass is laboring. If it is not doing so when pulling the boat forward, IMO it is doing no damage whatsoever to use it like this. Surely less than hoisting 75 feet of 10 mm chain and a 27 kg anchor, and that isn't beyond the job description of my windlass. So, if the wind or wave action is such that the windlass is struggling to get the boat moving, desist! If not, carry on...

And as to warping using the warping drum... what the hell is it there for if you can't heave on a line with it, be it a kedge warp or a dock line or whatever?

Taking care of machinery is a good idea, but that does not mean you can't use it within its rated capacity, and IMO, that includes any loads withing its lifting capabilities. Limiting the time where you load it up is good, avoiding overheating the motor, but in our usage pulling the boat up to the anchor in moderate conditions has never caused excessive temperatures in the motor.

Jim
Totally agree and what you're saying is a good example of the KISS principle.
Same idea when learning to drive a manual shift car, i.e., when going up a grade and you hear the engine labouring shift to a lower gear (higher ratio), however with a windless one either removes the load or shifts to one of the winches.
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Old 20-01-2018, 09:38   #30
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Thumbs up Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned a chain stopper. I have a 20' Flicka with 1/4" chain and much lighter anchor than discussed here but I consider a chain stopper basic equipment for transfer of all chain loads off of the windless. If there is any wave or wind action I also use a snubber.

I use a manual windless for such a small boat but I can appreciate the convenience of an electric windless with remote control since I single hand. I reel in as much chain as I can by hand. When the going gets hard I pump the windless handle. Believe me I'll break before my Lofrans manual windless. I guess I'm kinda like a human circuit breaker.

Always an interesting discussion here at CF.
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