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Old 24-08-2011, 18:53   #1
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Securing Bitter End with Windlass

So my lovely Lewmar V-700 is installed and operational... [I'm using chain followed by 3-strand.] How would you secure the bitter end?

It was "easy" before (I just attached a length of 3/8" braided line to a thimble at the end of the anchor line and that was looped around the samson post) but now I'm at a loss.

What do you do, and please be specific.
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Old 24-08-2011, 19:04   #2
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

I would tie the end of the anchor line to a strong point in the chain locker.

You don't want any anchoring loads on the windlass so you should tie the anchor line off to a well backed cleat on deck between the bow roller and the windlass. The line needs to lead fair from the bow roller to the cleat or it will chafe thru in any kind of wind.

You should install a chain stopper for when you have only let out enough scope that you are still on the chain, assuming you have 50' or more of chain.
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Old 24-08-2011, 19:17   #3
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

If you end up on all chain. Use a nylon snubber line attached with a rolling hitch to the chain and cleat off. Give the chain some slack so that the force is on the snubber line. I usually have the rolling hitch at water level.
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Old 24-08-2011, 19:38   #4
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

It has been suggested (and it sounds like a good idea to me) that you splice a strong line to the end of your chain, with the other end appropriately secured to a strong point in the chain locker. Make that line long enough so that a few feet of it will be exposed topsides -- this way you can easily cut it free should you need to quickly abandon your anchor.

I have my "bitter end line" backspliced to the last link in the chain, instead of shackled, so it will fit through the hawse pipe. The other end is just tied to a heavy padeye in the locker, which makes it easy to untie when I want to take the chain off the boat.
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Old 24-08-2011, 19:48   #5
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

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Originally Posted by janice142 View Post
...I'm using chain followed by 3-strand. ... How would you secure the bitter end?
Either tie it to something stout in the chain locker. That would be something strong enough to survive the pull of the windlass. Or stopper knot it thru a hole in a stout piece of loose lumber that will jamb up against the windlass and deck.
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Old 24-08-2011, 20:02   #6
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

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. . . Or stopper knot it thru a hole in a stout piece of loose lumber that will jamb up against the windlass and deck.
I like that one - I can easily visualize the windlass and a portion of the foredeck flying up and over the bow should a massive shock load occur while at anchor.
- - At least with a strong eye bolt or other attachment in the anchor well only the line and broken off bolt would depart the boat.
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Old 24-08-2011, 21:04   #7
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

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I like that one - I can easily visualize the windlass and a portion of the foredeck flying up and over the bow should a massive shock load occur while at anchor.
- - At least with a strong eye bolt or other attachment in the anchor well only the line and broken off bolt would depart the boat.
The deck stress from a stoppered line is no more than that from a stopped stationary windlass. The secured bitter end is not for carrying anchoring stress. It is to prevent loss while deploying the anchor. When the stopper hits the windlass all the stress is local to the windlass...the deck is not involved. With the eyebolt in the locker there are possible failure modes as well. The windlass could pull the deck into the locker, or the eyebolt and stringer from the hull.
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Old 24-08-2011, 21:09   #8
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

if you still have your sampson post, and you can get under deck to reach it, wrap it there and secure it. is how mine is done. my sampson posts are keel stepped, glassed into hull.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:08   #9
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Re: Securing Bitter End with Windlass

We did move the samson post back and elevate it. I understand having the bitter end attached to the boat. What I'm having a hard time describing in words is...

Okay, I want to attach the bitter end to a small piece of line that can come out of the locker so if worse came to worst I could cut the small stuff (on deck) and attach a fender to bouy my anchoring gear for retrieval later.

Before I used some 3/8" braid with a bowline attached to the thimble. The far end of the 3/8" was looped around the samson post on deck. I'm aware the thimble won't fit thru the windlass so it's got to be removed. I want the bitter end to exit the boat BUT ALSO have a bit of small stuff so I can attach a fender IF I ever had to drop all my gear for retrieval later.

Does that make sense? Could I maybe add a few links of chain at the end of the 1/2" rode, then tie my small stuff thru a chain link and attach that to the inside?

I want to attach the bitter end to the boat; I want to be able to detach the bitter end from the boat easily. So, how do you do that with a windlass?

And thank you for your suggestions thus far.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:12   #10
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Re: Securing Bitter End with Windlass

what i did with mine was to remove the electric one and add a manual one and then fed the chain into that. i let bitter end wrap around bits just above hull connexion and used a caribiner for this attachment --is easily removed and still attached without taking a load. does tha tmake sense to you? a thin line would also work for attachment--just make sure it doesnt take a load.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:17   #11
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Re: Securing Bitter End with Windlass

I would tie the fender to a long (depth of the water) length of line, tie the other end of this retrieval line to the exposed end of the chain, then cut the "securing line".

With all the chain hanging overboard there's going to be a lot of tension on the securing line, so I think that untying it might prove difficult. Plus, it's going to take a huge fender to be able to float the chain, which is why I suggest the retrieval line.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:26   #12
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Re: Securing Bitter End with Windlass

Janice I was given a good idea from someone on CF. Paint the end of the anchor rode red for the last 20' so that you know the end is coming. Take about 100' of 1/4" polypro line and attach it to the bitter end. With the other end of the polypro line attach it to a eyebolt in your anchor locker. Should you ever have to abandon your anchor the yellow polypro line will float and this may make it possible to retrieve the line. I also spliced a loop in the polypro line near the bitter end of the 100' that would be on deck when the polypro is extended all the way. I figured if the loop came out I would tie one of those big red fenders to it and I would have a better visual on that then the polypro line. I'm not sure if this answers your question or not.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:41   #13
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
If you end up on all chain. Use a nylon snubber line attached with a rolling hitch to the chain and cleat off. Give the chain some slack so that the force is on the snubber line. I usually have the rolling hitch at water level.
Excellent advice, but it addresses a different problem from the one posed by the OP.

Besides having a snubber on, you should always take the load or potential loads off your windlass with a chain stopper or by tying off the chain ahead of the windlass.

And besides all that, the bitter end of your rode should be made fast somehow so that the chain doesn't run out and get lost if for some reason your clutch goes off or you just forget how much rode you have out sometime when your letting it out.

The bitter end of your rode should be made fast inside the chain locker. On our boat, which uses all 12mm chain, the end of the chain is attached to a large eyebolt by way of a couple of feet of fairly light line. The eyebolt goes through the crash bulkhead between the chain locker and the forepeak. The line is fairly light and not nearly as strong as the chain, so it will break first if subject to some big load -- it is not intended to bear all of the loads of the ground tackle. This line -- Important! -- is also intended to be cut in case you need to jettison your ground tackle in case of an emergency. Some people hang a knife in the chain locker for this very purpose.

So once again: you have to secure your anchor rode in three different places:

1. 15 or 20 feet down the chain by way of a snubber, to absorb the shock loads and give some stretch

2. Just ahead of the windlass -- to take all loads off your windlass. Using a chain stopper, a cable strop, or a piece of line made off to a cleat or samson post.

3. At the bitter end inside the chain locker.

You need all three.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:45   #14
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
if you still have your sampson post, and you can get under deck to reach it, wrap it there and secure it. is how mine is done. my sampson posts are keel stepped, glassed into hull.
I am completely green with envy of your samson post -- keel stepped and glassed in to boot -- what luxury! And I curse the fashion which eliminated samson posts from cruising boats, including mine.
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Old 25-08-2011, 11:01   #15
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Re: Securing bitter end with windlass

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Excellent advice, but it addresses a different problem from the one posed by the OP.

Besides having a snubber on, you should always take the load or potential loads off your windlass with a chain stopper or by tying off the chain ahead of the windlass.

And besides all that, the bitter end of your rode should be made fast somehow so that the chain doesn't run out and get lost if for some reason your clutch goes off or you just forget how much rode you have out sometime when your letting it out.

The bitter end of your rode should be made fast inside the chain locker. On our boat, which uses all 12mm chain, the end of the chain is attached to a large eyebolt by way of a couple of feet of fairly light line. The eyebolt goes through the crash bulkhead between the chain locker and the forepeak. The line is fairly light and not nearly as strong as the chain, so it will break first if subject to some big load -- it is not intended to bear all of the loads of the ground tackle. This line -- Important! -- is also intended to be cut in case you need to jettison your ground tackle in case of an emergency. Some people hang a knife in the chain locker for this very purpose.

So once again: you have to secure your anchor rode in three different places:

1. 15 or 20 feet down the chain by way of a snubber, to absorb the shock loads and give some stretch

2. Just ahead of the windlass -- to take all loads off your windlass. Using a chain stopper, a cable strop, or a piece of line made off to a cleat or samson post.

3. At the bitter end inside the chain locker.

You need all three.
This advice should go in a folder and should be sold with every anchor made. For "snubber at waterline", you could substitute "bridle lines coming through fairleads to chain", but the rest is identical: The U-bolt takes no load, and nor does the windlass itself, and the lower the "pull point" on the chain, the more effectively it aids the anchor in staying put.
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