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Old 17-08-2013, 12:44   #1
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Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

Hi all,

My boat uses all chain which sometimes jumps from the gypsy and slips a foot or two when under heavy load. This appears to be due to the angle of chain fall around the gypsy being barely 90 degrees, even less when the anchor first comescovervthe bow roller. I am thinking about installing a removable chain roller just forward of the windlass that would capture the incoming chain underneath, acting as sort of an idler pulley. This would increase the amount of chain on the gypsy by lowering the path of the chain along the deck prior to the windlass.

Has anybody done or seen this set up before? Any reasons not to try it? I would remove the extra roller for lowering and setting the anchor (80# MS).

Thanks for any opinions.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 17-08-2013, 13:13   #2
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I've got the same problem and have considered the same solution but not tried it. Interested to find out if it works for you. I have a piece of aluminum sheet metal as a deflector at the hoss pipe to keep the chain on the gypsy another few degrees. Works but gets bent out of the way under load and then it doesn't work. Perhaps a stronger piece of stainless?
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Old 17-08-2013, 13:15   #3
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Ditto I just use my hands to get more wrap. Thinking ill move the hawse and pipe so it leads around better.
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Old 17-08-2013, 13:52   #4
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Re: Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

Sounds like a good plan.

One thought: are you positively sure that the chain and gypsy are matched?

Before I learnt better, I bought an additional 50 meters of 3/8 chain because that number was stamped on my gypsy. Turns out, I needed 3/8 high test chain. Results: just as you describe, with the jumping and slipping off under load because the chain links were just a little wrong-sized.
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Old 17-08-2013, 14:14   #5
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Re: Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

I've had that issue, but discovered it's due to twist in the chain, it accumulates as it comes up. a deeply grooved roller helps that some, more so if you come up slow.
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Old 17-08-2013, 14:16   #6
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I agree my chain does twist but if its held and led around the gypsy it won't skip as much. The way mine is led I get less then 90 degrees of coverage. Bad design. Maybe it untrusting will help the op though.
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Old 17-08-2013, 14:39   #7
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Re: Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

I hope you do it, I've thought of that solution before. I'd like to see what happens. I'm a little worried you will have a less forgiving twist that way (less able to "push" the twist back toward the bow, possible wildcat damage or even shaft damage over time) But... who knows! If it's still twisted it will still jump the wildcat and possibly jam.
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Old 17-08-2013, 14:46   #8
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I was thinking that I would use a grooved roller to maintain the straight lie of the chain. I recently added a grooved bow roller wheel and it has made a big difference in eliminating and or minimizing chain twist. If I go ahead with this, which is likely, I'll post pics.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 17-08-2013, 15:55   #9
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Re: Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

Are you absolutely certain you have the right gypsy for your chain? It's worth a check.
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Old 20-08-2013, 22:45   #10
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Yes, I have the correct gypsy. It is the angle of the chain as it passes over the gypsy that is the problem. I will install my "idler" roller tomorrow,so I'll let you all know how it works.

Cheers, bill
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Old 27-08-2013, 21:18   #11
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Re: Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

Hi everybody,

After many changes in concept and materials, I finally installed it today. Here are a couple of pictures of the install. The blue tape is there for the 4200. I used mostly parts from my used-parts chandlery. Probably cost about $80. There is an aluminum backing plate underneath.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 27-08-2013, 22:22   #12
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Nice looking job. How well does it work? Can you release it easily? Do you need to?
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Old 28-08-2013, 08:55   #13
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Re: Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

Cool, let us know if it solves the problem in the long run. That's definitely giving you more wrap on the wildcat....Your windlass is install high too, probably a good thing, it's amazing how little the chain is in the wildcat on Horizontal windlasses that are installed right on deck..... but how will it help stripping the chain out of the wildcat? Wasnt that your main problem?
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Old 28-08-2013, 10:05   #14
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Re: Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

I had the same problem and installed a roller to increase the angle of chain to windlass. Improved but did not solve issue. New gypsy, new chain exactly matched solved the problem and the roller is now history. Used to have to step on gypsy/chain as it was hauled in to reduce skipping. Not a pleasant task.
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Old 28-08-2013, 16:56   #15
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Re: Windlass Chain Fairlead Roller?

The problem of course is that a horizontal windlass has only about 90 of the gypsy engaged with the chain. A vertical has (in my case) 180 or twice as much. If you can force the chain down like an idler chain pulley this would increase the percentage of the gypsy engaging the chain and also limit it from jumping out. Worth a try!
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