Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain? - Page 6 - SailNet Community
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post #51 of 61 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain?

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
As I said, I'm not going to have one, so what it's called is moot from my perspective. i was just using the terminology in eherlihy's post and picture.

I answered your exact opening question with a proven solution and correct nomenclature. Sorry.

As for finding a gypsy that goes smoothly from rope to chain... be warned that doesn't always work as advertised. They tend to jam at the transition. That is why that combination is unpopular.

There are several splices that can be used at the join. The conventional short backsplice is fat and troublesome. Try a long backsplice.

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post #52 of 61 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain?

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There are several splices that can be used at the join. The conventional short backsplice is fat and troublesome. Try a long backsplice.
I agree about a long backsplice. In my experience the splice is more important than the gypsy.

The question is can you adapt your existing windlass for rope/chain instead of just a capstan.

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post #53 of 61 Old 08-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain?

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Keep us in the loop. I love coming up with creative ways to overcome "can't."
Based on web postings from C34 and C320 user groups, it appears that Catalinas of similar vintage to mine came from the factory with Maxwell 500 VC windlass with capstan drum only. Although designed to be mounted in vertical orientation, Catalina installed them in horizontal orientation inside the anchor locker. They were also installed without the needed switching to operate in both directions, so they crank only in one direction, with free-fall drop.

Maxwell sold a kit to convert this to a 500 VW model, which had both capstan and gypsy. The conversion kit also included a new gearbox which was required to do the conversion, and made it so costly that some owners instead would just replace the whole windlass with a new 500 VW (or upgraded at time of purchase). However, in horizontal orientation the performance and ergonomics of the gypsy is compromised, so this alternative was not fully satisfactory to many users.

The 500 series has been discontinued, and conversion kit is no longer available.

Also, my boat does not have a washdown pump built in. So if I wanted to go all-chain, I'd have to:
  1. Buy a new windlass
  2. Carve out the anchor locker and deck lid to provide access and space for a windlass installed in vertical orientation
  3. Find a place for a second foot switch for "down" operation
  4. Install a washdown pump, including new through-hull, pumping, electricals, etc.
  5. According to some users' comments, I'd need to find a way to expand the locker to accommodate sufficient chain
  6. Solve the weight balance issues that would come with a suddenly heavier locker filled with chain
All this for a boat that I haven't even anchored out in yet. I have anchored out in similar charter boats that had rope rode, and somehow survived.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound cynical, but at this point I'm going to go sailing and anchor with my existing tackle (except with new Mantus anchor when it comes). I'll enjoy what I already have until I decide that I want to do major surgery on my boat.

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post #54 of 61 Old 08-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain?

One additional thing: From user comments, it appears that many of them use the capstan to haul in the 10'-35' of chain at the end of their rope rode. They say that a little tailing tension on the chain provides enough friction for the capstan to pull it. However, it does chip the chrome plating off over time, and the chips can be very sharp and therefore a cutting hazard.

As far as the splice, there's a Chuck Hawley demo video floating around somewhere where he demonstrates a 5-6-7 backsplice. It's still bulky, but the transition is more gradual. Those with the 500 VW said it would go through the gypsy OK. With the capstan, the main benefit of the splice is that it eliminates the bulky eye and shackle that can take a chunk out of the anchor locker's gelcoat as it goes around the capstan.

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post #55 of 61 Old 08-23-2016
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Op, I thought your original suggestion Re a fibre line attached to your anchor sounded pretty reasonable. I have done a lot of anchoring. To help define a lot of anchoring, I was a deck hand, and mate on Buoy tenders for over a decade.

As you likely know, buoys are anchored to the bottom and in busy seasons we would place 25 a day in varying water depths and varying currents, even ice conditions.

Here's what works best.

Whatever works.

I have combined fibre and chain, cable and chain and different sizes of chain. I can think of no reason you're idea wouldn't work. Fibre snubbers on chain are common practice for pro's so I can't see why it wouldn't work on a yacht that anchors a few weekends a year.

Same thing with swivels. You're anchoring for a week end? A swivel isn't going to wear through in a week end, not unless it's made of popsicle sticks, just take a look at it every time you pull the anchor up.
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post #56 of 61 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain?

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
... So if I wanted to go all-chain, I'd have to:
  1. Buy a new windlass
  2. Carve out the anchor locker and deck lid to provide access and space for a windlass installed in vertical orientation
  3. Find a place for a second foot switch for "down" operation
  4. Install a washdown pump, including new through-hull, pumping, electricals, etc.
  5. According to some users' comments, I'd need to find a way to expand the locker to accommodate sufficient chain
  6. Solve the weight balance issues that would come with a suddenly heavier locker filled with chain
All this for a boat that I haven't even anchored out in yet. I have anchored out in similar charter boats that had rope rode, and somehow survived.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound cynical, but at this point I'm going to go sailing and anchor with my existing tackle (except with new Mantus anchor when it comes). I'll enjoy what I already have until I decide that I want to do major surgery on my boat.
Sounds thorny.

Depending on the depths you anchor in, you should be happy with 150' of 1/4" G43 chain and the balance 1/2" nylon. That should be enough 98% of the time to anchor on all-chain in the mid-Atlantic and Chesapeake. Saves a lot of weight and you only very seldom have to pass the splice. I have a set up similar to this in the Chesapeake (34' catamaran) and it is quite trouble free.

IF it wasn't for my own bad back, I'd say use what you've got. As it is, I feel your pain. 35 pounds of anchor + chain + mud is not light and the angle is bad.
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post #57 of 61 Old 08-23-2016
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Re: Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain?

I am thinking his issue is the chain without the proper windlass. Adding more chain will only magnify this situation. So I guess you are faced with a conundrum

Surely there are ways your Catalina 34 could have either a horizontal or verticals windlass but would be a major project. Having a correct set up with a powered windlass I am sure is possible for the long term solution. You have something so use it and don't let it deter you from anchoring which I am sure you won't. So without changing the windlass it appears you want to use as little chain as possible. Which of course leads to other compromises. Anchor rode angle, not wanting to anchor in other than begnign situations, worrying that the anchor will hold, hassle of raising the anchor.

For now I am sure you will deal with this the way you have decided. If it were me I would look for a better solution long term as you'll have the boat a long time. But that comes in the following years I am sure.

Many people opt for a fair amount of chain and rode combo. There is a reason for that . . I am sure they are not completely wrong with those thoughts. We decided we were not just staying in the Chesapeake which meant we needed a robust anchoring solution which meant a new gen anchor and 90 ft of chain. It doesn't unbalance the boat as its only 90 ft, but it helps keep the rode angle to a good angle, especially in situations with reversing currents or large tide changes.

There is another solution you haven't brought forth and that's a manual windlass. We have one and it works perfectly well and saved my back,it crancks in 1 foot at a time as its double Action and with the other hand I can stream the water from the wash down over the links so no mud. You don't have to worry about an extra battery, long heavy cable runs which add weight, it is very low maintsinence and it's good exercise.

The portable wash down will work for now, but eventually having a dedicated wash down makes it easier Having a good wash down system with continuous strong water pressure is a great addition. They are not that expensive. We actually use the thru hull for our head as we use only fresh in the head. It's no big deal to Set up a T valve up there if you don't want an dedicated thru hull. Having that great pressurized water allows us also to wash down the boat too. It took me 2 hours to install.

These are long term solutions as you grow into your boat. Getting a new gen anchor is a good first step. It's also a safety solution in an emergency too. It will give you greater peace of mind when you do anchor. Confidence in anchoring for you wife will come with repetition. Anchoring for us involved both of us acting in tandem. While I usually am in the bow, we sometimes switch roles. The key to anchoring is proper technique both setting and retrieving. We have watched some real horror stories and also seen some very harmonious people who obviously have developed a good routine. Especially when retriving the anchor. The key is allowing the boat to do most of the work. The last step after the anchor had broken free usually is the last 30 ft or less in the Chessie. When we have over 90 feet out and it's on the rode no need to use the windlass as the boat is moving forward and our rope rode comes aboard easily without using the windlass. Only the last 90 ft do we utilize the manual windlass. And we are not pulling on it with tension as Donna is moving the boat forward. Once the anchor breaks free she just holds the boat in position while I cranck and wash.

Do whatever you need to to get you out. Sailing is a great sport passion. There is a certain amount of my wife and my pleasure in anchoring out with friends or in many of the special anchorages the Chessie had to offer. Having dinner at anchor with a sunset, watching Eagles fish, or having coffee in the AM with your loved one takes a special perk of having a good cruising anchor set up and feeling adept at doing it. Even anchored in the rain can be enjoyable and is so different than a slip, or mooring in a crowded field. We raft up with others many times and I want the other captain to feel secure if I am the anchor boat. Anything which detracts from being able to anchor a lot with peace of mind and ease is something I would fix.

Just enjoy your new boat. She's a beaut.
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post #58 of 61 Old 08-25-2016
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Re: Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain?

Don't understand much of this discussion. A couple of feet up from interface use a truckers hitch to attach a line. Use one of the winches at the mast or long line to a primary ( this allows long sections to be unstressed). Tighten, winch in and take all strain off rode. Now have unstressed section of rode to feed by hand into locker. Rinse and repeat as necessary. No additional expense as a stout dock line or other spare line will serve. Use two lines to make it easier to untie truckers hitch and work rode in safely. Slow but foolproof. We've done this on a thirty thousand lbs boat when using the fortress secondary anchor which has rope to chain rode. Sure it would work fine on OPs smaller boat and he can keep his set up until there are bucks in the cruising kitty. Works best if you use engine to keep strain off rode. Have done it without mechanical advantage or secondary lines with just with an alert person at the helm on prior psc34 which is in the same weight range as OP but need to watch your fingers in case there's stress of rode inadvertently.
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post #59 of 61 Old 08-25-2016
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Outbound, your solution is almost exactly what the OP asked if he could do. It was news to me it couldn't be done.
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Re: Windlass technique: use messenger/snubber line with chain?

Been there -done that. Oh well.....
News to me too.

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