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Old 31-01-2013, 19:24   #46
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

Doesn't being ready to drop the anchor instantly entail faking the rode down on deck, to the length for four (or five)-to-one for the depth of the fairway?

On the boats I sail, (a charter fleet) if you lose the engine, you lose the power winch. If the chain is in the winch, there will be no letting go by hand-- so if you want to drop it, the chain needs to be ready.

Do you guys really fake out enough rode each time you enter a marina under power?
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Old 31-01-2013, 20:30   #47
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

For me being ready to drop anchor involves going to the bow to remove the safety hook that holds the anchor tightly in place, returning to the cockpit and flipin a switch to power up the maxwell. Once anchor is set and scope is out, I return to the bow to install snubber.
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:09   #48
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

The inability to lower the anchor without power is another point against certain vertical windlasses, to my way of thinking

For me, this particular one is a show stopper, unless there's a second anchor ready to go which is not dependent on having power + a functioning windlass

Would you drive a car whose parking brake or handbrake could only be engaged by an electrical switch?


I'm not that thrilled about the whole "chain permanently wrapped around the gypsy" concept for several other reasons.


A couple, on the sailing holiday of their lifetime in the islands somewhere in the area between Greece and Turkey, (I forget just where) having swum ashore on a glorious day at a deserted beach, were lying in a state of bliss (and nothing else) when their charter yacht apparently made an executive decision to up-anchor and put to sea.

Now that's what I call the holiday of a life time.

Turns out something on the control side of the relay solenoid had failed, due to corrosion IIRC, and closed the low current circuit, energising the solenoid, and that's all it took.

I can't vouch for the story, as I wasn't there, but I certainly see it being technically possible.

So many seemingly impossible things have happened to me at sea that I find it hard to shrug off contingencies which are merely unlikely.

Sure, they "should" have turned off the isolator for the high-current supply, and/or freed the clutch (if fitted) - but I think they might have had other things on their mind. And it would not surprise me to find a number of charter yachts with neither of these options fitted.
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:14   #49
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I'm using a horizontal windlass with gravity drop. Pull pins on anchor securing gear, lower anchor out of roller, energize windlass just in case and crew standing by. Pretty straight forward, really no effort as you are going to do the same actions soon anyway.
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:23   #50
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

I dunno what a "gypsy" is, other than a race of nomads.

That said, those of us who don't own yachts and do what we can with charter fleets don't get to dictate equipment.

It sounds to me like you're advocating a method that doesn't work with all equipment. If not, how would you do it with a yacht with an electric windlass for a chain anchor rode?
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:30   #51
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

"Gypsy or wildcat" two different terms for the gear thingy that grabs the chain in a windlass.
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:44   #52
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

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Originally Posted by RabidRabbit View Post
"Gypsy or wildcat" two different terms for the gear thingy that grabs the chain in a windlass.
Ah, thank you!

On most of the boats available to me, that thingie is attached to an electric motor, and pulls the chain in and dumps it into the chain locker, which is directly below it.

To drop the anchor by hand, I assume I'd have to take the chain off this thingie, and have a crew member standing there holding it, ready to let go if we lose power.

Now, assuming I have all that right, how often does this happen? In my experience, if an engine is going to fail, it's going to fail when you try to start it. Does anyone here have first-hand experience with an engine suddenly stopping when it's running fine, and you're motoring down a fairway in a marina?

The next issue I see, from my limited experience, is that if this happens, and the engine stops, you order the crew member at the bow to let go, and then you're drifting.

So doesn't that mean that every inch of your path down the fairway has to be over a suitable place to anchor? With room to swing?

How do you arrange that?

How much effort, planning and going-out-of-your-way do you put into a Plan B to cover something that will happen less than 5% of the time? (If that much.)

Survivalist would have us build spaceships in case we have to leave earth. This is starting to strike me as one such option.

I love this forum. I learn something every day, and about my one of my favorite activities, at that. EVERY DAY!

There's no place else like it.
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:46   #53
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

Most windlass,s (not all) have a simple brake that releases the chain to lower the anchor. Even the ones that power up and down usually are able to free fall by loosening the brake. Maybe charter companies are afraid to let people loose with anything that cant be controlled by a button. I dont see how an engine failure would affect the lowering of the anchor unless it entailed a major electrical failure or you had already run the batteries dead, in which case you would know it and flake the chain on deck. If you do get in that situation with a large boat and a non functioning windlass, be very careful, since a dead engine and all chain without a windlass makes it too easy to lose a finger. It is all easier if you have practiced it in a non stressful situation____Grant.
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:54   #54
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

I see, thanks, Grant.

I'll investigate further on Saturday, which is the next time I'm scheduled to take a boat out.
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:55   #55
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

Regarding lowering, I suppose one nice thing about a bowsprit and manual windlass is that it makes dropping by hand much easier.

a) Wait till the boat stops making way.
b) Start paying out chain, hand over hand.
c) Stop when you feel the thud.
d) As the boat starts drifting, start paying more out. Drop it on the windlass every now and again to let it take strain and pull the chain straight.
e) Keep going until you've paid out enough.

The only time I use our (manual) windlass is to get it off the bottom after I've hauled in all the scope until it's near vertical.
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Old 31-01-2013, 22:27   #56
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My experience is that engines only fail when you really really don't want them to. Long beach harbor entrance , no wind, container ship right behind me and foggy. Amazing how fast you can change filters, bleed injectors and restart when needed. Won't bring up episode this Dec, Gulf of Alaska, 25 ft seas, dark, snowing hard, recovering gear and port engine dies turning us beam on to seas. Cook still brings that one up.

They ask sometimes why sailors drink, it's a long list.

I'm not a pessimist, but just plan ahead a bit. It's the old wager, low probability of ocurance , but high consequence.
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Old 31-01-2013, 22:28   #57
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

JammerSix.

If you sail exclusively from marinas, your "if it ain't broke" mindset will serve you just fine.

In case anyone impressionable is inclined to agree on motors not stopping when they're running, here's a list of why they've successfully broken your rule, on my watch: (remembering there's other things that put a halt to progress than just the engine stopping)

- Overheat (thermostat probs once, plastic bag or jellyfish in intake X3, heat exchanger problems x2)
- Air in fuel (more often than I can remember)
- Blockage in fuel (x1, at least)
- One-lever linkage failure (x2: on two occasions, the throttle stayed connected but the gear linkage cotter pin fell out: on one of those, a 52' boat on which I was employed (happily not as mechanic or skipper) had this happen entering a marina slot. When the skipper engaged reverse and put the hammer down to stop the boat, it accelerated forward, the bow climbing about 8' as it rode over the spine connecting the marina finger piers. Then the keel contacted the spine, the boat stopped, the spine broke, and the boat crashed back down into the water.

I've got about five categories to go, but I guess I'd be preaching to the choir if I added them to the list.

And if I included things which happened to people I sail with, when I wasn't there, I'd have to add at least one prop nut coming undone, two folding props which jammed shut, one gearbox seized and more than one which got stuck in neutral .....

So it's not just about motors stopping.

Most of mine didn't happen in marinas, but that's possibly got something to do with the fact that I steer clear of them, if I have any say in the itinerary.

I don't understand your point about being unable to anchor in the fairway. If you don't mind risking a fouled anchor, there's not many places it won't achieve anything.

Even if it doesn't set super well (marinas are often poor holding) you can let out the cable, tie alongside, buoy the cable and slip.

As I say, if you haven't encountered problems like this, then you probably won't.

But your comparison with survivalists is puzzling.

A better comparison would be with people living in a remote area having a standby generator.

Realism is not survivalism, and nor is your reality a reliable guide to other peoples'.

That's how it seems to me, anyway.
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Old 31-01-2013, 22:34   #58
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

I thought the whole point of windlasses and chain was to not touch it. Paying out chain hand over hand? I'd use rope if that was the case.
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Old 31-01-2013, 22:44   #59
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

No choice in rodes, my favorite boats have chain rodes. If I can figure out how to use the windless without power, I'll give it a try.

I can see stationing a crew member at the bow.

I see at least one good reason never to go to the Gulf of Alaska.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:38   #60
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Re: Anchoring When You Have Engine Failure

Another reason:
Gulf of alaska = is another name for cold
And with winter setting in, it is getting chilly here in Grenada at night so bring your sweats to sit in at night.
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