Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Windlass side loads
Got to thinking about snubbers and windlasses. I'm pretty good at installing a snubber, particularly if winds will be sustained above 10 kts, always above 15kts. Below that, I confess to not bother.
I've always done so to protect the gears in the chain gypsy from shock loading or from constant tension.
A comment was made somewhere about the side load that a windlass can accept, without being pulled off its mounts. I'm only guessing it would be less than that of a cleat. Although, since winches can take an awful lot of side load, I started scratching my head. We've all been warned not to use a winch as a cleat when docking, but I've always understood that to be due to the load not coming from the correct angle for its mount. Are they really incapable of take the load at all? Seems odd, given the amount of load on a close hauled 1,000sf genoa!
The windlass, on the other hand, would be taking a snubber's load from precisely the angle it was intended, straight over the bow roller.
This is why I got to thinking about it. When I attach my snubber, I let the rolling hitch run through the bow roller and down about 8 ft. I then tie the bitter end to a cleat on the foredeck. Given the angle, the snubber line will just chafe against the metal on the bow roller, so I actually allow it to run from the cleat, around the inside of the windlass warping drum and straight out the bow roller. No chafing.
That puts a side load on the windlass of some amount. Not the full force of anchor, but some. If a bad idea, I even wonder if a full wrap around the windlass would more evenly distribute the forces. I just can't get my head around this being bad for the windlass. I million years ago, I was taught to tie another line to the opposite cleat and pull the snubber to the center. In a real stink, I still do that, but I'm really wondering why now.
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