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Old 13-09-2018, 13:50   #31
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

Originally Posted by DayDream View Post
I finally got back to the boat and checked specs. Simpson Lawrence Sprint 1000 Windlass, '02 wire, 400W, 60amp load, 70 amp breaker (included in kit with windlass) pulling 200 feet of 5/16" chain and 35 lb Delta. This is on a Hunter 2000 420 CC.

As soon as the windlass begins to labor, it pops the fuse. It's dangerous because I've been in 3 situations this year that the boat was being pushed towards a lee shore while I had to run below and reset the breaker. Any thoughts?
I think that is too small a windlass for your boat and anchoring loads. With any extra loads I'm not surprised the breaker pops.

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Old 15-09-2018, 05:06   #32
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

The specs on the windlass documentation say maximum 1000 lb pull. I suppose unless I write the whole adventurous story, people will assume I'm a newbie and encourage me to build my skills. I've been sailing over 35 years and been in every kind of condition. I love skills building and will continue to learn from every situation, like the rest of this gang!

The reality is that my prop got snagged on a line while docking, in 30 mph cross winds to my dock. When I realized I had no engine power, I dropped the anchor in a thick weed bed, praying it would grab. It did, sort of, while the anchor harvested the largest load of weeds I've ever seen. Meanwhile I was under the boat cutting the line while it sailed back and forth. At least 20 dives and I finally got it clear and tested. The challenge came when my friend motored me forward to the anchor, and the load kept causing the windlass fuse to pop. When the weeds came up, I couldn't get the gob of weeds off, it was so full of clay/mud and tangled, compacted weeds. The boat hook couldn't penetrate them, the windlass barely got the anchor above the bottom and the wind was pushing this high-windage boat towards either the neighbors docks or crashing into a line of expensive sailing yachts. We made it out under engine power, but just barely. As I did the debrief with people who observed all of this, I was grateful for a lifetime of skills. Without them we would have had a lot of damage and possibly hurt people. I reached out to this group to help me sort out if there is a possibility that the fuse is popping early. Very grateful for everyone's input- it does sound like the fuse needs changing. Thank you!

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Old 15-09-2018, 05:35   #33
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

Hmmmm. I’m thinking it sounds like the windlass is a bit small for your boat. I have stalled our Maxwell. 3500H and we are not that much larger than the OP. Figure how small a volume of solid wet salad would be needed above water, added to chain and anchor to exceed 1000#.
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Old 15-09-2018, 06:09   #34
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!


Glad to hear things turned out OK. We all encounter "incidences" (usually a matter of error) and thankfully we can count on far more help than one might expect on the highway.

Before you replace the fuse, check the rating. If it is the correct rating, do NOT replace it with a higher rated fuse. That's like the old penny in the fusebox. It's rated for a reason, which is to protect the windlass and the wiring.

I think it was Ann that suggested leaving the anchor and glob of weeds just below the surface, and motoring to a safe location to remove weeds. Since weeds more or less float, doing so doesn't put the weight on the windlass and the fuse won't blow.

While it doesn't apply in your specific incident:

Aquatic plants (weeds) in Lake Ontario grow only to about 15' depth. Going shallower than about 7' gets you into primarily eelgrass, which tends not to glob onto the anchor. So the worse depth to anchor is ~10'-15'. This, of course, depends upon clarity of the water, as clearer water will allow the weedline to be deeper.

The "stringy" weeds are primarily milfoil which doesn't break easily, but then again, it doesn't have a lot of volume (weight) either. The big problem is cabomba, a non-rooting plant that clings to other plants (if this were a jungle we'd call it arboreal, but in the water, I don't know what it's called.)

By late July in Lake Ontario cabomba has grown into huge, multi-ton mats. This is the stuff that gets picked up on anchors, and that prohibits even quality anchors from getting into the mud.

In most cases, cabomba grows on the surface in huge mats. In your AOR note the thick, floating mats of this plant in the basin at Katlynn Marine. However (and be warned) that the clearer waters of Little Sodus (Fairhaven) Bay allow cabomba to flourish on the bottom in up to ~20' of water, particularly in Meadow Cove. If you are going to anchor in Meadow Cove, anchor in 25' of water.

The types of aquatic plants tell a lot about the bottom soil, depth, and "unseen" aquatic plants. It's good to recognize eelgrass (saggitarius) and milfoil, and potamogeton which relay a lot of information. The worst (risky?) areas are the aforementioned 10'-15' where milfoil (and cabomba) don't reach the surface so you can't see them- but typically the depth sounder will report 6'-8' depth, which if compared to a chart you'll know you're in 12'-15' of water- great indication that you should find a better place to anchor.

Typically the weeds I have to remove are cosmetic. Even when I do get into "the big glob" I just use the boat hook.

FYI under your boat is $100,000 worth of aquatic plants. Our freshwater plants (and/or their kin) are highly prized freshwater aquarium plants. Know your aquatic plants then go see what they sell for at the aquarium store! No kidding, there's $100,000 right under your boat! To you they are weeds, to the aquarium fanatic they're fabulous, full growth plants- it's all perspective. And the hundreds of sunfish kids throw back in the water sell for $25 each in Europe. LOL.

Happy sailing!
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Old 15-09-2018, 06:59   #35
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
We have this one. Use it for rope or weed. Fits on many extendable boat hook poles. Keep it oiled and dry and in its sheath.
+1. In higher latitudes where kelp lives this is worth it's weight in gold. We use ours almost daily to clear kelp off the props. Makes quick work of weed on the anchor as well. We used to use a bread knife on a stick and, while it worked, it was nowhere near as efficient as the hook knife.
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Old 17-09-2018, 06:49   #36
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

When cruising in Canada and the Great Lakes where weeds seem to help keep the anchor down, we found a boat hook was helpful in removing them when it was time to raise the anchor. We actually relied on bottom growth weeds to help keep the boat anchored in various places in Canada where there was only the granite shield on the bottom.
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Old 17-09-2018, 09:33   #37
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

Originally Posted by Shrew View Post
Unless you're risking fouling the prop, I would get the ball the water level and slowly make way out of the anchorage to more open water and deal with it there.

What Shrew said.
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Old 17-09-2018, 11:20   #38
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Day Dream,

I've read about the bread knife on the boat hook trick, never tried it. Wouldn't want to lose my good bread knife, though, might try a carving knife, very sharp.

Ann - One time coming up the west coast of Baha with engine problems that limited to 1300 RPM the winds built to over 40 knots. Elected to go into a nearby small bay. When I droppwd the anchor it went down about 10 feet in water more than 20 feet deep.I tried retrieving the ancho but couldn't. I thought of trying to motor out but with limited RPM and pitch dark - and we weren't drifting - I decided to spend a few uneasy hours waiting for daylight. Then I saw that the anchor had landed in very heavy kelp. We were anchored in the kelp, not in the seabed more than 10 feet lower. It held us in winds over 40. In the morning I hauled the chain until some kelp was at deck level. Using a scalloped bread knife, and laying on the deck, I cut off as much kelp as I could reach. Then hauled in some more chain and cut off some more kelp. I, like you, did not want to risk losing the knife so I didn't tape it to a boathook. It never left my hand. That bread knife cut through the kelp like a hot knife through soft butter.
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Old 17-09-2018, 16:10   #39
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

I have one of these

De-weeder (page in French)

edit: found the English version:

it's as wicked as it looks... we call it "the zombie killer" ... maybe also useful to wield against pirates. Saw it at a boat show, kind of expensive but nicely made, and it does screw on to a standard boathook.

I've seen folks get in their dinghy and hack away with a bread knife... Eurasian Milfoil is a treat.
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Old 18-09-2018, 09:09   #40
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

Use hose clamps to fasten the saw or hook to attach to boat hook. Suggest having one long, strong b h for these situations. Hooked an abandoned anchor/mooring chain twice in a cruise to Florida, used a long b h to get a line on the chain so I could clear my hooked anchor.
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Old 18-09-2018, 11:14   #41
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

Originally Posted by Shrew View Post
Unless you're risking fouling the prop, I would get the ball the water level and slowly make way out of the anchorage to more open water and deal with it there.

What does "get the ball the water level" mean?
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:47   #42
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Re: Weeds on anchor almost caused a crash!

Check this out for cutting weeds and lines:

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