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Old 14-02-2010, 04:55   #1
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How to Use Rope on the Windlass

Ok - stupid question of the week.
I've only ever used all-chain systems, but my boat came with spare anchor (40lb brittany) with 20m of chain and 200' or nylon rode.
I regard this as an emergency set should I loose the main delta plough, or I need to set a second anchor in a blow.

So what is the best way to use the rope on the windlass? I note it has both a chain drum and smooth drum on the other side.
And the chain/rode join is a shackle - so I guess it is a handraulic move from the chain side to smooth side of the windlass as the start of the rode comes up??

Yep - I really don't know much about anchors!

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Old 14-02-2010, 05:35   #2
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When you are talking about a 40 lb anchor a windlass ussually isn't nescessary. When used, you will find that the warping head, smooth drum, works best being tailed and rope won't self tail as chain does because there isn't the weight to pull it into the locker. If needed for breaking loose or for weight, use the warping head. Switch over to the chain head if needed when you get to the chain and if lead angles allow it. The amount of chain, the depth that you are anchoring in and how your chocks are set up (the lead options to the windlass) might influence the way you can use the windlass and should be thought about before dropping the anchor.

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Old 14-02-2010, 05:54   #3
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On our charter boat in Greece we always used the simple effective elbow grease method. We liked to anchor 'bow to' for some privacy so used the (secondary) stern anchor all the time. Never had any problem (just a couple of times when we were caught by other anchors but sailors always help each other) retrieving the anchor.

I guess using the windlass is possible but a good change of messing up the rope and chain part when changing between smooth drum and gypsy.
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Old 14-02-2010, 05:56   #4
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"40 lb anchor a windlass ussually isn't nescessary"

40 pounds of anchor plus 20 meters of chain is about 100lbs. I think Conrad is still young, and has a healthy back that has never sprung a disc. Alas, that isnt true of everyone.
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Old 14-02-2010, 06:15   #5
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As I said, if necessary for wieght or to break loose...
I meant to impress the fact that under many anchoring situations the hand over hand can bring alot of it in, probably all of the rope (and most of the chain) if he has 20m of chain and thinking about how the windlass will be used in a prticular situation is important. Should he be securing the anchor so that it will lead fair for the chain or "smooth drum" ? Things to think about.
Young? I'd like to think so. But no, I haven't slipped a disk..yet!
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Old 14-02-2010, 13:36   #6
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As stated above, in some situations, you will be able to do it by hand, others will require the windlass. You want to use the warping head side. Like using a winch you want enough raps that if you provide a little tension while tailing, the line will not slip but if you don't provide tension, it will slip.

Switching from the warping head to the chain gypsy can be done by hand if there isn't a lot of strain on the anchor. Since you have a shackle and thimble, you will need to get this past the windlass by hand. If for whatever reason you need to use the windlass right at this point, you can run a line down the chain several feet and use that to haul up the chain a few feet.
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Old 14-02-2010, 14:58   #7
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G'Day Fraidnot,

First, I reckon that all the advice about just hauling it in by hand is not very useful under anything but benign conditions. When the day comes that you need to get the hook up when it is blowing stink and your engine or situation doesn't allow you to motor up to the anchor, then you will be damn glad to use the windlass!

One way to ease the problem of getting the rope to chain junction past the warping drum would be to replace the eye/shackle join with a rope to chain splice. There are lots of different ones shown in books, and they are mostly pretty easy to do. Once you have done this you can continue to use the drum to pull in the chain, tailing carefully as you go. Not elegant, but it works!


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Broken Bay, NSW, Oz
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Old 14-02-2010, 16:33   #8
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I would assume that the gypsy is occupied by the primary rode. Depending on how the windlass is set up you may not have the space to drop the primary rode and use the gypsy to draw in the secondary rode safely and easily.

The chain on the secondary rode can be easily drawn in by using a length of line hooked onto the chain (chain hook) and then led to a block at the base of the mast and then returned to the drum of the windless. Just draw in the line periodically moving the chain hook down the chain. A second length of line with its own chain hook is usefull for holding the chain while you are moving the chain hook down the chain.

Saves on pinched fingers, jammed chain and damage to the drum from running some chain on it.

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