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Old 27-03-2013, 04:13   #1
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Best Windlass location?

Hi,

I am looking at installing my anchor winch on the new boat, and I am tossing up two options:
  1. Mount the winch on the bow ahead of the dinghy, and put the chain in the conventional location forward of the double berth.

  2. Mount the winch on the sidedeck just clear of the dinghy 3 meters back from the bow and about 1.5 meters inboard and store the chain about 2 meters further back.
I have done enough racing to know about how weight forward slows you down. and I found with Snow Petrel if all the 60 meters was stored forward she was dangerously wet when going to windward. What I ended up with was two chain lockers, the forward one for 30-40 meters of chain, with the balance pulled aft through pipe into the aft locker 2 meters back.

When I go offshore I stowed all the chain in the aft locker. But what I have found is that she was much less comfortable, with a sharp pitching motion with all the chain aft. she was probably best with about 20 meters in the forward locker.

So the Pro's and Con's of both locations seem to be

Forward conventional

Pro's
  • Anchor winch is safely on the centerline, close to the roller.
  • Mud and muck stays forward
  • one less toe stubber and sheet catcher
  • I can fit a self draining chain locker
  • Strong attachment point exist
  • May give the boat an easier pitching motion
  • Handy for berthing and picking up moorings

Con's
  • More weight forward
  • More complexity shifting chain into an aft locker for seagoing
  • May make the boat plunge deeply

Aft Sidedeck location

Pro's
  • All the weight is aft, boat is faster and drier.
  • the chain is all in one locker, easy to deply and recover and no messing about.
Con's
  • Toe stubber
  • Spurling pipe is on the sidedeck, in extremes it could get lots of water over it.
  • less likely to give a fair lead, I might need to rig another roller to guide it.
  • No way to distribute the weight to tune the motion.
My main questions are, have you noticed any change in the motion with more or less weight forward.

Have any of you used an offset well aft mounted anchor winches, and if so how do you like them.

But I am sure there is a heap of other opinions out there, after all it has to do with anchors

Maybe I could even get the winch aft near the mast and run the chain under the dinghy...
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Old 27-03-2013, 17:51   #2
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Re: Best Windlass location?

I toyed with this same problem and came to the conclusion that getting a fair lead was the most important, because every bit of friction is a reduction in the pull at load, but ideally I'd like a fair lead and the weight further aft!
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Old 27-03-2013, 18:03   #3
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Re: Best Windlass location?

I knew some people who were cruising in a racing boat with real skinny bows, and they mounted one of those low-profile windlasses that are cranked with a winch handle sideways on the mast. So the chain ran straight from the roller to the windlass, then down a hawsepipe in the cabintop, and was stored under the sole by the mast step. Obviously at anchor they snubbed it from a bow cleat, but weighing and deploying was done from amidships.
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Old 27-03-2013, 18:11   #4
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Re: Best Windlass location?

One other thing, when that chain is under high tension there might be a tendency to "jump" out of the roller to the side where the windlass is mounted, unless there is some pretty good trapping device. In other words, the bow pitches down and then the chain wants to straighten when under tension.
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Old 27-03-2013, 18:54   #5
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Re: Best Windlass location?

With the windlass aft, The anchor may not "self launch" due to the added friction of the long length of chain contacting the deck or trough. Not a big deal - it means you might have to go forward and give the anchor a little kick.

Steve
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Old 27-03-2013, 19:18   #6
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Thanks. All great points that I hadnt fully thought though. Especially the one about the anchor not self launching. Not that I need it to but it would be a pain if the windlass is aft to have to go forward. Kick it clear then go back aft...

I am on the boat now with the windlass. It looks like it wont need to go right forward. About 1.5 meters from the bow will still give me room for a decent 12 foot dinghy. So the chain will end up stowed over the waterline. But the lead definately looks much cleaner forward.

Anybody got any first hand comparisions of the difference in feel of the boat with chain fwd vs chain further aft? 40 footer 7-8. Tons lightship. 60odd meters of 10mm (priced out high tensile 8mm is around $24/m vs $11. Plus gypsy is 10mm)

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Old 27-03-2013, 19:26   #7
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Re: Best Windlass location?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post

Anybody got any first hand comparisions of the difference in feel of the boat with chain fwd vs chain further aft? 40 footer 7-8. Tons lightship. 60odd meters of 10mm

Cheers
Depends a lot on the design. Our prior boat hated chain in the bow while the current one does not really mind.

There may be other factors, but the amount of overhang (and bow actually in the water vs right at the surface like many modern designs) and narrowness would seem to be two important factors. Our prior boat had pretty overhangs, while the current one has a bow designed to neither pound or hobbyhorse upwind which also seems o have made it insensitive to the chain.
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Old 27-03-2013, 23:09   #8
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Thank you very much Evan. Looking closely at the pics on your site it seems they both have the windlasses a ways forward.
What amount and size of chain are you carrying? And can I ask how the wieght forward effected silk and what you did about the problem?

Cheers

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Old 28-03-2013, 04:44   #9
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Re: Best Windlass location?

^^

We had 10mm on both. 150' total on silk, split into two lengths, with 75' usually in the bow and 75' in the bilge over the keel. On Hawk, 300', sometimes split in two, but often all in the bow.

One time on hawk the chain locker (which is watertight) filled completely with water (must have been a ton or more of water) and the boat then felt a bit like silk did with all the tackle on the bow. The boat still sails but the bows drop heavily off waves, and there is more water on deck. In flat water it probably does not make much difference to boat speed, but in waves is noticeable.

Do you have a NA for the boat? I would have thought one could give you a good idea what the effect of various amounts of weight in the bow would be. But I have never asked so perhaps it's harder than i think.
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Old 28-03-2013, 04:52   #10
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Windlass aft:


Guide the chain and secure the stowed anchor:
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Old 28-03-2013, 05:09   #11
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Re: Best Windlass location?

On my 38-foot fat bowed motorsailor there is a huge anchor locker right forward and when we went down to Panama and back we carried all 300 feet of 5/16 chain up there, along with a 45 lb. anchor, 2 big propane tanks, a couple of FX-23 Fortress anchors and their rodes, some buckets, and lots of other crap. Even with all that stuff I can still crawl into the locker if I need to. Needless to say, that weight distribution is not ideal. I felt that the bow was heavy in rough weather, and wetter than normal, but not unsafe. We didn't have any problem with pitching, but this boat is not prone to it at all. Other boats I have owned you could definitely exacerbate pitching by putting too much weight in the ends. However, not off long-distance cruising at the moment I have cut the 300 feet into three 100-footers of chain, and I only keep 100 shackled on normally. At the moment a second 100 feet is in a bucket much further aft between the V-berths, and the last 100 feet is in another bucket in my back yard--I use it for traction in the trunk of my car during the winter! The boat definitely lifts better to lumpy seas and the foredeck is less wet. The time when you might really regret having all that weight forward would be running off in steep high seas--you don't want to dig in the bow after a sleigh ride down the face of one of those. On another boat that is when we deployed the parachute sea anchor--when running off we started to bury the bows at the bottom of a sea.
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Old 28-03-2013, 05:49   #12
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pirate Re: Best Windlass location?

I feel that boats are designed and balanced for specific purpose's...
Race boats for minimum load carried for maximum results...
Cruiser/racers which most production boats come under... designed primarily for coastal play so sensitive to weight distribution when loaded for long term sailing when taken to far.
And voyagers... which have allowances built in... likely why the ride was uncomfortable when you moved the weight aft.. she was built/balanced to take the weight.
But hell... 0.01centimes opinion is just that..

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Old 28-03-2013, 09:38   #13
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Re: Best Windlass location?

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I toyed with this same problem and came to the conclusion that getting a fair lead was the most important, because every bit of friction is a reduction in the pull at load, but ideally I'd like a fair lead and the weight further aft!
Yes, the fair lead trumps the weight too, although my steel boat's bluff bows provide sufficient buoyancy forward to compensate.

It has occurred to me that nobody in my experience does the right thing in terms of the physics of ground tackle. Logically, you would want the windlass right in front of the mast, with no centerline hatches, and that centerline covered in either a stainless strip or even an inset "gutter". The chain or rope rode would go down a hawsepipe forward of the mast into a bilge or keel locker very close to the CE of the boat. Frequently this is the aft corner of a cabin or is part of bulkhead involving the head, so the chain pipe (which would be removable for cleaning) could be buried inside that, which could actually strengthen the deck.

If the windlass dies, you've got beefy winches on the mast right to hand. If you choose not to install a chain washdown on deck, you could have the chain flake down in the bilges over a perforated plate, under which is a low-profile bilge pump. So you can "wash without slosh", and then pump the bilge-based anchor rode locker a lot drier than something forward.

You can examine the chain for defects or service either inside the cabin, or on the deck in a more stable and sheltered location than the actual bow.

Lastly, the wire runs to the windlass are shorter and unburied: easier to service and shorter, cheaper wire runs.

Getting the chain over the keel, like getting the batteries under the settees, makes sense. I can only assume that habit and an aversion to bringing the potentially mucky "machinery" into the condo-like interior of most modern cruisers (plus their limited bilge stowage of many) means this idea is a non-starter.

But I think the logic is sound in terms of the weight. Maybe some lone wolf of the sea will make a project of it.
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Old 28-03-2013, 09:40   #14
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Re: Best Windlass location?

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Originally Posted by Benz View Post
I knew some people who were cruising in a racing boat with real skinny bows, and they mounted one of those low-profile windlasses that are cranked with a winch handle sideways on the mast. So the chain ran straight from the roller to the windlass, then down a hawsepipe in the cabintop, and was stored under the sole by the mast step. Obviously at anchor they snubbed it from a bow cleat, but weighing and deploying was done from amidships.
Clearly, I should have read farther into the thread...that's basically the idea I listed above.
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Old 28-03-2013, 09:48   #15
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Re: Best Windlass location?

conventional location on the bow. Mounted aft you cant see what's coming up, or clean the goop off etc. It would be a mess on deck at times. You boat is big enough it shouldnt be an issue. Do you really want to step on that chain on the foreeck in 40 knots of wind while going forward? Dont over think this, there's a reason anchor gear is on the bow....
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