Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 17-01-2018, 05:05   #1
Registered User
 
wolfesmy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Winnipeg Manitoba Canada , Florida, Bahamas
Boat: Morgan 383, C&C 34, Kirby 25
Posts: 78
Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Iíve been cruising for a long time and it continues to amaze me how many boat owners abuse their windlasses. A windlass is used to raise and in many cases to lower an anchor and chain rode, thatís all. It is not meant to haul the boat towards the anchor,in a blow or any time, to get to the hook. It should not really even be used to trip an anchor. Raising and lowering is itís designed function.

Yesterday I met a guy who was aground who had set out a kedge anchor and tried to use his windlass to kedge off and complained that his windlass wasnít strong enough, not its design function.

To trip an anchor, motor forward and take up chain with the windlass till its near vertical, then snub the chain and power over the anchor to trip it,. Then raise the rest of the chain.

To kedge, set out the anchor and then by some means, a rolling hitch on a line around the chain, run the line to a primary winch to kedge, repeat as necessary.
When anchoring lower the correct amount of chain while backing down, snub the chain and then power in reverse at 3/4 max revs to set the hook. Don't let the windlass take this load directly, it will cause the brake to fail.

Iíve often heard of people with burned out windlass motors, switches and relays from overloading their windlasses.

Take care of your windlass and it will be there when you need it, otherwise it will fail you when you need it most.

Sorry for this rant but if it saves one sailor from a windlass crisis it was worth it.
__________________

wolfesmy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 10:22   #2
Moderator
 
Paul Elliott's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,371
Images: 4
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

FWIW, my Lighthouse windlass has a winch-handle socket specifically for kedging. I've tested it to make sure it works, but never actually used it to drag my heavy boat. The gear reduction on this is much greater than on my primary winches -- it takes a lot of grinding to move the chain.
__________________

__________________
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
www.sailvalis.com
Paul Elliott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 11:15   #3
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,933
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

I donít disagree with your approach wolfesmy, or your cautions regarding the use of the windlass. That said, I often use my MANUAL windlass to come up to the anchor. I can do this b/c, being fully manual, I can feel the forces at play. Thereís no danger of over-exerting the windlass.

When wind and currents are light (which they usually are in an anchorage), then I take up the initial chain with the windlass, which then hauls us forward and gets forward momentum going. We are a 30,000# boat, so once we get moving inertia dictates that we will keep moving. After that I just use the catenary, which keeps driving us forward, taking up as itís going until we get to near the anchor.

If the forward momentum of my boat doesnít break the anchor out, then yes, definitely, chain gets snubbed to do the job. So too with digging the anchor in ó never done on the windlass. Of course, you gotta use good snubbers as well while anchored.

Kedging Ö I use what I have to. Depends on my orientation. Mostly used my mains, but my windlass is no less strong or beefy than my mains. Perhaps my windlass is stronger than others...
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 11:24   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 20,356
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

I often use the windlass to creep the boat to the anchor location. Of course I dont do it in any wind. In reality, hauling the anchor and chain up off the bottom is a higher load, and you can actually hear the windlass working harder in a deep anchorage just lifting it straight up. In light wind there is significant catenary in the chain, and the boat actually moves easier than straightening out the catenary. The devil is in the details as with most things. Never had a windlass failure in 40 years.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 12:29   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
Sailmonkey's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Houston
Boat: '76 Allied Seawind II, 32'
Posts: 6,406
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
In light wind there is significant catenary in the chain, and the boat actually moves easier than straightening out the catenary. The devil is in the details as with most things.
This,

We use the windlass in bursts all of the time to pull the catenary. Once thats been pulled the weight of the chain pulls the boat forward. Of course in heavy air, we motor over the hook.
Sailmonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 14:53   #6
Registered User
 
wolfesmy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Winnipeg Manitoba Canada , Florida, Bahamas
Boat: Morgan 383, C&C 34, Kirby 25
Posts: 78
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Thanks for the additional feedback on this topic guys Of course a manual windlass doesn't have the same issues as an electric. And if the electric has a manual override for kedging that's great providing you use it that way. It's comforting to know you're all basically on the same page. And yes the comment that using the best available method for kedging based on circumstances is well taken, using primary or manual windlass. Take care of your windlass and it will take care of you.
wolfesmy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 16:28   #7
Moderator
 
sailorchic34's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Boat: Islander 34
Posts: 5,103
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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.
sailorchic34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 17:44   #8
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 20,571
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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.
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 17:56   #9
Moderator
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 12,671
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

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
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , has escaped Southport Qld... our favourite place (NOT!). Now wandering about Moreton Bay for a while.
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 18:04   #10
Registered User
 
Simi 60's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Australia
Boat: Milkraft 60 ex trawler
Posts: 894
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

I would have thought if you were using it beyond its rated capability the clutch would slip (we never crank it down super tight) or the breaker would pop.

Even on our boat weighing in at 70tonne we pulse her up under windlass using catenary.
To use the engine, just putting it in gear has us surge forward faster than the windlass can retrieve, then wind or current grabs us and we veer off and end up putting more load on gear than if we just pulsed her up.
Simi 60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 20:05   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 156
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

I have never tried it but my windlass has both a warp drum and a chain gypsy. Every once in a while I contemplate using the drum to use a halyard plus a safety to haul someone light aloft to check rigging... but like I said I have never done it and doubt I would. But with a huge aluminum backing plate on my windlass I don't see how that is any less dangerous than a cockpit winch.
rbyham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 20:54   #12
Moderator
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 12,671
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbyham View Post
I have never tried it but my windlass has both a warp drum and a chain gypsy. Every once in a while I contemplate using the drum to use a halyard plus a safety to haul someone light aloft to check rigging... but like I said I have never done it and doubt I would. But with a huge aluminum backing plate on my windlass I don't see how that is any less dangerous than a cockpit winch.
Another supposedly verboten practice that we did for years. It is necessary to carefully set up the lead to the drum to avoid over rides, and to run the halyard through a clutch, and to PAY ATTENTION whilst hoisting. We use two way headsets for communication, so that the hoistee (me) can tell the hoister (Ann) when to stop or slow down, etc. Made light work of mast ascension. We now use a halyard winch and our Milwaukee "winch handle" instead. Less setup time, probably fewer failure modes, but I'd go back to the windlass if Millie should go on strike. Arriving at the masthead without fatigue is a good thing!

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , has escaped Southport Qld... our favourite place (NOT!). Now wandering about Moreton Bay for a while.
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2018, 23:10   #13
Registered User
 
Simi 60's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Australia
Boat: Milkraft 60 ex trawler
Posts: 894
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Without wanting to start a war I am thinking the op has a borderline or dare I say undersized windlasss.
Many many many manufacturets/owners seem to get one that fits boat/budget and do the same with anchor and chain. Aesthetically pleasing and on budget and only needing to lift weight of chain and anchor.

Others take a more belt and braces approach realizing that ground tackle and retrieval of is possibly one of the most important part of a full time cruisers gear.
They'll modify rollers to suit anchor if need be and put up with less than attractive lumps of metal adorning their bow and deck as long they work and work well again and again and again.

I have never heard someone complain about too much windlass/anchor or complain about the good night sleep they continually enjoy.
Simi 60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-01-2018, 13:31   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Oakland CA
Boat: Morgan 46 ketch
Posts: 461
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

Quote:
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.
Absolutely correct. Moving the boat slowly up to the anchor, singlehanded, you use the electric windlass of course paying attention to how it sounds and feels to avoid overloading or underloading. If its a deep anchor set, let the windlass rest occasionally.

Its best not to run it unloaded for more than a few seconds as that is one way to burn out the DC motor. So once you get the boat moving toward the anchor and if you are using a rope rode you should then take in slack by hand rather than running the rope on the windlass at a fast rate. With a chain rode not so much a problem since the weight of chain will provide the needed load.

NTBC* but I do wonder what prompted the OP post in the first place? Specific failure encountered, and if so, how about details?

* Since everyone loves acronyms, I made up my own acronym standing for "NOT TO BE CRITICAL". Use it when you are trying to excuse yourself for actually being critical :-))
waterman46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-01-2018, 13:54   #15
Registered User

Join Date: May 2015
Location: Whangarei
Boat: Bavaria 38 Cruiser, 12meters, 2004
Posts: 148
Re: Anchoring and Windlass Abuse

It seems that for some people, those without any sense of mehanical process and design limitations, these should stick to the idea that the windlass be used purely in the manner prescribed by wolfesmy. Others, who have more sense of the strains and loads imposed on the windlass will keep the loads more or less within its design limits without significant problems. Clearly it takes time and experience to develop this "sense" of what a machine can and shouldn't do and I guess we all pay for it until we do.

This brings to mind another advantage of using a trip line to break out the anchor. Very few boats at anchor that I observe use a trip line. I don't use it all the time but I do when I know I'm over a rocky bottom. Having been in a situation where the boat I was on couldn't retrieve his anchor on an all chain rode in quickly deteriorating weather where the boat was rolling so much the skipper got so sick he wasn't a lot of help at all. We eventually broke it out by running forward using different angles of attack but by that time he had stripped the pinion on his windlass. After that I had to lie spreadeagled on the broad foredeck of this pitching and rolling boat where the seas threatened to eject me out from under the guard rail. I used an emergency spoke and manually winched up over a 100 feet of chain and anchor in a windless set on the bow in such a way that only a few inches at a time could be pulled in before resetting the spoke. Of course it got dark in this time and I could no longer see the holes to reset the spoke. My lasting memory of that day was as the anchor finally broke surface, the torch that couldn't properly illuminate the holes I needed to aim the spoke at, skated across the deck and over the side. Being a good water proof torch it floated, tossed around on the broken waters all the while shining a great beam that arced back and forth all over the place as if searching for some enemy warplane threatening us from far above. My friend, sure he was near death, wouldn't hear a word of going back for it, so we abandoned it to its pointless search.

A trip line has not only the advantage of breaking out the anchor with much less effort, using the rope capstan it can be used to retrieve a long length of chain and anchor but in fact virtually halves the weight of a chain and anchor hanging say 100ft straight down. This, because with the line- it is only retrieving it's own negligible weight plus the anchor and at the start hardly any weight in the chain, and when the anchor breaks the surface the windlass is still (via the line) only lifting half the chain plus anchor. The chain being in a great loop. Just before the anchor breaks surface I belay the trip line on a cleat and remove it from the capstan. Then the windless can wind in the great loop of slack in the chain, minus the weight of the anchor until all the slack is taken, and up comes the anchor. All of this while not putting any unnecessary wear and tear on the wheel and pinion of the windlass.
__________________

Kerry1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
anchor, anchoring, wind, windlass

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Diesel Abuse? grant64 Engines and Propulsion Systems 32 09-09-2012 18:45



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:54.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.