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Old 29-05-2022, 11:37   #1
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Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

I recently purchased a 1987 freedom 30 that has a vertical windless as shown in the picture.… I have 100 feet of chain and 240 feet of rope (rode).... Dropping anchor is no problem but hauling up beginning with the rope I don't know what I'm doing. As you can see in the picture of the windless upper portion is smooth and the lower gypsy has teeth for the chain. No one seems to know if the windless was designed for both rope and chain… Can anyone help?

Thx
PS does anyone know what type of windless this is?
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Old 29-05-2022, 12:19   #2
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

The gypsy on a windlass is intended to handle both chain (of appropriate size) and 3-strand rope rode; however, not all gypsies are created equally and some handle rope rode better than others. It may also be that your anchor rode size is too small, or that the gypsy is well-worn and the teeth cannot adequately grasp the rope rode.
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Old 29-05-2022, 13:43   #3
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

Thx.... Both(rope rode and chain)were on the boat when I purchased it and the prior owner who had it for five years couldn't figure it out so he never anchored in waters requiring more than 100 feet of chain.… one of the 3 previous owners installed 240 feet of rope so I assume it worked at some point?
Is there any way of troubleshooting this?
Also I have seen other threads talking about transferring the rope to the upper capstan intially and then the chain to the gypsy???? Not sure if makes sense, however?
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Old 29-05-2022, 19:53   #4
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

The capstan is intended to haul line. It looks as if your capstan is pretty rough. The problem with hauling your on the capstan is that you'll then have to figure a way to feed it down the hawse pipe before you lift your chain.

It could be that your 3-strand is too hard to feed properly. You might try removing the chain off the gypsy, getting a length of NEW 5/8" nylon 3-strand and tie a 10 lb weight to one end, feed the bitter end though your bow roller, around the gypsy and into the hawse pipe.

Your profile doesn't say where you are, but using only 100' of chain means you're anchoring in 20-30 ft of water. Pretty limited.
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Old 29-05-2022, 20:33   #5
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

I live on Bellingham Bay north of Seattle with the San Juan Islands in my backyard......I will try your suggestions.... I don't know if the windless was installed on the boat new in 1987 or later and I have no idea the age of the rope rode or the chain.... You're right, 100 feet of chain is not much and limits me to anchoring in 15 to 20 feet of water with the average anchor scope in the 4–5 range.
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Old 29-05-2022, 22:49   #6
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

First off, it’s a windlass. The word you’re using repeatedly is for a weather condition of no wind.

Now that’s off my chest, let’s talk about your windlass. As another poster has mentioned, the gypsy for handling chain will often handle correctly-sized 3-strand line, as long as there is some but not too much tension in the rode so that the rope is jammed into the teeth of the gypsy enough that it doesn’t slip.

Lots of people use vertical windlasses with mixed rodes, so if your rope rode doesn’t work with the gypsy then maybe you need new rope. It sounds like your rope rode has been lying around for years and has likely gotten very stiff (and lost some strength). Try a short length of new 3-strand rope with the gypsy and if it holds as it should then go ahead and buy however much rope you think you’ll need. If the short length doesn’t work, your gypsy may be one that doesn’t handle rope well. Bummer.

The upper part of the windlass is called the drum and is used for handling lines, usually for mooring or halyards, not anchor rode. You’ll notice that a line on the drum does not feed into the hausepipe. Unless you have a rope-only rode you should not need to use the drum for the rode when raising the anchor.

However, if your gypsy is not handling the rope very well (I assume it slips?) then you could move it to the drum and use 2 or 3 wraps. When using the drum you will need to hold the tail in tension, otherwise the line will slip on the drum. You will need to be diligent in feeding the trailing end through the hausepipe - maybe a second person will be needed.

When you get to the rope to chain splice, you will need to stop the rode, secure the chain with a chain hook or similar to take the tension off the windlass, then take the rope off the drum and lead it around the gypsy, then start to lift the rode again. Hopefully the rope will not slip much during that short period until the gypsy picks up the chain.
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Old 30-05-2022, 07:07   #7
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

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Originally Posted by Discovery 15797 View Post
The gypsy on a windlass is intended to handle both chain (of appropriate size) and 3-strand rope rode; however, not all gypsies are created equally and some handle rope rode better than others. It may also be that your anchor rode size is too small, or that the gypsy is well-worn and the teeth cannot adequately grasp the rope rode.
As a general rule this is absolutely NOT true. A gypsy is usually designed to pull chain, and only chain. There are SOME that are designed to work with rope as well, but of a very exact size, and typically they do a mediocre job on the line. A random gypsy is FAR more likely to be a chain-only design, and not work at all with rope.

This might explain why Discovery has found some work better than others.

It varies by manufacture. Those manufacturers focused on small boat (e.g., Lewmar) have mostly combination gypsies that handle both rope and chain. Those manufacturers more focused on larger boats (e.g.,Lofrans) make almost NO combination gypsies and they work ONLY with chain.

https://www.lofrans.com/product/80-gypsies/5103-gypsy
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Old 30-05-2022, 09:02   #8
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

Thx Professor fxykty...I stand corrected in my spelling ! ) thanks to everybody who has contributed to my understanding.... I am relatively new to sailing and this 1987 sailboat has/had all sorts of interesting additions over the years some of which are good and some of which are not great. The rope rode is clearly stiff but not worn. I may try soaking it to get out salt water and dirt and try again before I go out and buy a "test length" of new rope rode. If that doesn't work I guess I will either go with the all chain option and add more chain or see if I can find a new or used WINDLASS !
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Old 30-05-2022, 11:39   #9
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

Clean the rope with detergent, letting it soak for at least several hours, and agitating periodically. Soak to rinse in water, agitating again. Finally you might lay it out and blast it with a hose. This will soften it much more than just soaking.
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Old 30-05-2022, 15:24   #10
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

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Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
First off, it’s a windlass. The word you’re using repeatedly is for a weather condition of no wind.

The upper part of the windlass is called the drum and is used for handling lines, usually for mooring or halyards, not anchor rode.
The upper part of a vertical windlass is called a capstan.

Now that's off my chest, the capstan can be and is sometimes used to haul a secondary rope anchor rode that is not fed through the gypsy onto the deck.
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Old 30-05-2022, 15:30   #11
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

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Originally Posted by ItDepends View Post

It varies by manufacture. Those manufacturers focused on small boat (e.g., Lewmar) have mostly combination gypsies that handle both rope and chain. Those manufacturers more focused on larger boats (e.g.,Lofrans) make almost NO combination gypsies and they work ONLY with chain.

https://www.lofrans.com/product/80-gypsies/5103-gypsy
https://www.lofrans.com/product/85-r...on-nylon-white


You were saying???

But, you're right...not for boats that have greater than 3/8" or 10mm chain.
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Old 30-05-2022, 15:38   #12
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

You need to have a claw to hold the chain to a bow cleat when you haul it aboard. I used the rope on the top part of the windlass until the chain comes aboard, then when the chain reaches the gypsy and begins to wrap around the rope drum, stop the winch and put the claw on the chain to take the weight. Unwrap the rope and feed it down into the chain locker if that is where you stow it, and put the end of the chain around the chain gypsy. Take up the weight using the windlass, and when the chain is feeding into the chain locker, take off the claw and set it aside until after the anchor comes aboard.

If you do not have a claw, use a Prussik sling and tie it to the chain using a Prussic knot.

I then re-fit the claw to the chain and tie the claw rope to the anchor windlass.

That way if the windlass clutch should fail, the anchor and its tackle does not plunge into the depths and be lost.
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Old 03-06-2022, 17:13   #13
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

What make of Windlass?
- it looks like an old Lofrans, but I wasn’t aware of any vertical that came with that 3 legged drum clutch on top.

If you take off the three legged nut, and then lift off the drum (watching for loose components as you do so) you might find the manufacturer & chain size cast into the exposed side of the gypsy.

If it is a chain & rope gypsy, it’ll only work on a specific size of 3 strand rode……..who knows how well.

Might be easiest just to get rid of the old rope, and add another 100 ft of chain.
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Old 03-06-2022, 17:32   #14
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Re: Not sure if my boat has the proper windless

Thanks for the good advice… A friend of mine wants to do an experiment and wash and soak the old rope rode( three strand) and see if that works… Otherwise I will remove it and add another 100 feet of chain… It turns out you are correct that is a Lofrans from 1987… The sticker is worn on the windless itself but there's a cockpit switch that says Lofrans.
PS the three legged no is really on tight so I have not been able to turn it but I may use some metal nut loosener lube.
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