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Old 18-06-2018, 12:07   #1
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Anchoring Question

I'm having a windlass installed on my boat after switching to an all chain rode setup. I have about 200 ft of 5/16 chain and am installing a Maxwell RC8-8 windlass and 45lbs Rocna Anchor.

I have a few questions regarding anchoring with this setup since it is different then an all rope rode.

After dropping the anchor I need to set the anchor. Do I attach the snubber first and then back down on the anchor to set it? I'm assuming I need to use the snubber to remove the load when it is set as I don't want the load on the windlass.

When retrieving the anchor, I motor up to the anchor and use the windlass to retrieve the chain. Do I use the windlass to break the anchor free when I'm directly over the anchor and it is sitting vertically? If it doesn't break it free, do i need to attach another snubber line to tie off to a cleat so I can drive the boat over the anchor to unstick it? I'm assuming I just can't wrap the chain around a cleat.

I've seen chain stoppers mentioned and currently don't have one on the boat. Is this recommended to use and will it change any of the above questions with regards to setting the anchor or breaking it free?
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Old 18-06-2018, 12:19   #2
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Re: Anchoring Question

The RC8-8 is a good windlass, I have one.

Yes, ideally you should always rig a snubber, or engage chain stopper, before loading. Not everyone does this all the time, but ideally you should.

If your foredeck/lead angle supports it then a chain stopper makes this easy.

I also believe you should have the clutch just tight enough to do its job, but slip if heavily loaded. I leave mine set like this and it does catch the occassional unintentional loading or accidental engagement of windlass at the wrong moment/direction.
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Old 18-06-2018, 12:51   #3
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Re: Anchoring Question

As with all things "anchor", it depends on what you're anchoring in. For our conditions of sand, silt, or mud, the Rocna holds like a champ and comes up smoothly when lifted vertically. There's not much holding power in the weight alone, it mainly comes from the horizontal pull which buries the anchor. Our windlass hardly notices the 20 kg Rocna, and I've never worried about 'breaking it out'. That's my story ... What are you anchoring in?
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Old 18-06-2018, 12:56   #4
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Re: Anchoring Question

The key is whether there are waves. If well protected, the first responses are accurate. If the anchorage is open and there are waves, do everything you can to keep the load off the windlass. If the anchor is hooked on a rock and you are right above it, the force can be ridiculous.
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Old 18-06-2018, 22:01   #5
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Re: Anchoring Question

Thanks for the responses. I think I'll install a chain stopper at the same time as the windlass. I'm looking a the Maxwell P104358 because it is height matched to the windlass. Anyone have experience with this or would you recommend another chain stopper/system?
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Old 19-06-2018, 00:39   #6
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Re: Anchoring Question

A nice swell/waves are great for up-anchoring if the anchor is really dug in... when you know you'll be getting to the anchor, hit the windlass as the bow goes down, pause as it rises. Basically sweating up the anchor to break it out....
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Old 19-06-2018, 20:16   #7
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Re: Anchoring Question

I don't know where you boat but if PNW or other deep water 200 feet of chain is skimpy. In 50 or 60 foot of water scope only good for very quite conditions with no reserve. While you are at it get a combination wildcat chain and rode and add another 200-300 foot of rode.
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Old 19-06-2018, 20:33   #8
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Re: Anchoring Question

I use the chain catenary to take in the anchor rode because I single hand and (currently) do not have a remote in the cockpit. I take in chain until it is almost tight...the weight of the chain will pull the boat forward and put slack/catenary in the rode. Take in more chain until almost tight, rinse and repeat until the chain is vertical. If the anchor does not come easily I will do what Sojourner does or, if I'm in a hurry I'll put a dyneema strop on it (which is there to secure the anchor in the roller), go back to the helm and motor forward a bit to break it out.
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Old 19-06-2018, 23:36   #9
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Re: Anchoring Question

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Originally Posted by eyschulman View Post
I don't know where you boat but if PNW or other deep water 200 feet of chain is skimpy. In 50 or 60 foot of water scope only good for very quite conditions with no reserve. While you are at it get a combination wildcat chain and rode and add another 200-300 foot of rode.
I have another 200 ft of 3 strand nylon rode attached to the chain. The Maxwell windlass supports both line and chain so I should be okay here.

I'm based in Southern California and plan to cruise in Mexico.
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Old 19-06-2018, 23:38   #10
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Re: Anchoring Question

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
I use the chain catenary to take in the anchor rode because I single hand and (currently) do not have a remote in the cockpit. I take in chain until it is almost tight...the weight of the chain will pull the boat forward and put slack/catenary in the rode. Take in more chain until almost tight, rinse and repeat until the chain is vertical. If the anchor does not come easily I will do what Sojourner does or, if I'm in a hurry I'll put a dyneema strop on it (which is there to secure the anchor in the roller), go back to the helm and motor forward a bit to break it out.
I'm looking at getting one of those inexpensive wireless winch remotes on ebay to have wireless controls in addition to the up down remote that came with the windlass.
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Old 24-06-2018, 23:28   #11
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Re: Anchoring Question

How critical is it that the chain stopper and the windlass be of equal height? I'm having trouble finding Maxwell height matched stopper online for some reason. I sent Maxwell a note, but have yet to hear back from them.
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Old 25-06-2018, 01:58   #12
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Re: Anchoring Question

The paw of a chain stopper will not drop down and lock into place if the chain is angled up significantly either in front of or behind the chain stopper.

So the chain stopper usually needs to be roughly the same height as the entry point for the chain on the windlass gypsy. If the chain stopper is mounted close to the gypsy, as is usually the case, it needs to be very close to the same height, or slightly higher.

Normally the chain stopper is raised on a block to achieve the required height, but make sure this attachment is sturdy. Manufacturers have recently started producing raised chain stoppers, which avoids the need for a block, but surprisingly these are not common.

To address the original question: It is desirable (most would say essential) to remove the load from the windlass when breaking out the anchor and to a lesser degree when setting the anchor, and also when the anchor is stored especially in a large seaway. A chain stopper does these jobs superbly, especially breaking out the anchor, but many boats use a simple short length of line attached to strong point. This line is different to snubber which is much longer, as primary job is to provide stretch.

Some people call the short line a “short snubber” which is fine, but it is important to distinguish this from an ordinary snubber. An ordinary snubber can be used to take the load off the windlass when setting the anchor, but is too long for the other roles. Although you can have a single line and cleat it at different lengths for the two roles.
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Old 25-06-2018, 03:00   #13
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Re: Anchoring Question

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Originally Posted by felizcortez View Post
I'm looking at getting one of those inexpensive wireless winch remotes on ebay to have wireless controls in addition to the up down remote that came with the windlass.
Got one for $12 (from memory) wired into the up/down switch at the helm allowing me rto go out on the bridge and direct and hear without yelling.
Works a treat.
So well that I won't replace the foot switches when I redo the deck next month.
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Old 13-07-2018, 15:07   #14
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Re: Anchoring Question

I purchased the height matched chain stopper from Maxwell. How far from the actual windlass should you install the chain stopper? Should it be right in front of the windlass or closer to the bow roller? I was unclear on this from the directions included with the stopper.
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Old 13-07-2018, 16:45   #15
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Re: Anchoring Question

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Originally Posted by Simi 60 View Post
Got one for $12 (from memory) wired into the up/down switch at the helm allowing me rto go out on the bridge and direct and hear without yelling.

Works a treat.

So well that I won't replace the foot switches when I redo the deck next month.


I think I got the same one on Amazon, came with two remotes actually. I put the foot switches in spares in case the remote didn’t work out, three years later, they are still in spares. I hate foot switches, ties you in one spot.
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