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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,
Currently anchored in La Cruz Anchorage in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

As the chain comes up over the bow roller it sometimes twists. This gets so bad that the chain starts to come out of the gypsy when bringing the chain up or down. This can be dangerous if the weather turns bad and we need to get the chain up quick. I also tried to bring it up with the hand crank on the windless and actually bent the handle trying to get it up and through the gypsy.

We had gone into a marina for a day and we took all the chain and some of the attached rode out of the boat and strung it out on the dock and un-twisted about ten feet at a time. This helped but was a real pain. It still has some twists in it though.

We have friends who have 5\8 chain and an anchor. They go out to about 200-300 ft and lower the anchor and chain and let it hang for about ten minutes. Then bring it back up, it is un-twisted and they are happy with this method. They have about 150 ft of chain and a larger windless on their 38 ft cat. So we were wondering if we hung 200 ft of 3\8 chain and a 45 lb anchor off the bow in 300 ft of water would our windless bring it back up?
I wrote Lewmar about this concerning our Lewmar H3 windless for our 3\8 chain and 45 lb anchor.

I asked Lewmar support if the windless would retrieve the 200 ft of 3\8 chain and 45 lb anchor it hanging in say 250 ft of water. That is so it would un-twist.
I told Lewmar about our friends and Here is what they wrote back of course there were several email till we got this far.

“There is a lot going on when you dead lift. Most of the time is trouble because of connections, length of run, type of bow roller (most are very poor at rotating efficiently)

And are they getting 13.5 plus volts to the windlass?
And does his working load of the windlass match the rode weight?”


also:

"Sorry, chain will (Rope too) naturally role over the davits bow roller wheel as it comes in and over the bow roller wheel. Some people believe a swivel will stop that from occurring; really doesn’t. Slows down the process in some cases. Still will roll and twist and you cannot stop it…

Hanging the chain down in deep water will not un twist itself… no it will not unwind itself…

The best way is to get a swivel and connect it to the other end of the dock with the chain connected, connect the other end of the chain and fasten that to the other end of the dock. Take a long bar, slide it through the chain and un twist. Yes it’s a lot of work. It’s the best way."


So this we can sort of take care of but the question did not really get answered.
Does anyone have any experience with this and with the Lewmar H3 windless?
We do not want to have problems with the chain and anchor hanging out there and having to pull it back into the chain locker with other means.
See pics..
Thanks,
Chip
 

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swivels? cant make out that pic
 

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I don't know your particular windlass but it should have a load rating in the specs somewhere. However, unless you have an over sized windlass on your boat, I think it might not handle the load. Don't forget the vertical movement as the boat goes up and down on the swells.
We have not had this problem either with the CQR or the Rocna, but I do have a swivel at the anchor. We inspect it very carefully often and have found wear on the last link of the chain, but absolutely none on the pins of the swivel. I don't really worry too much about the strength factor of the swivel, as we use a 1" X 30' 3 strand nylon snub, so there is plenty of elasticity in the set up.
I'm not exactly sure from your post if you use all chain, or a combination of chain and line, but if you are using the latter, that is probably where your problem lies. If not, have a roller machined that helps guide the chain to the gypsy w/o allowing twisting between them. Also, if you are using HT chain, I've found that those links are about 1/3 longer than BBB links and this could possibly be at least part of your problem.
One thing we do, that most don't, is use the windlass to draw the boat forward when picking up our gear. Just enough to allow the weight of the chain to pull the boat forward, then taking up slack and again using the chain's weight, never overloading the windlass. Before, using the engine, the anchor would usually come up twisted on the shackle or the chain would get caught on some underwater obstruction, rock or coral head.
Perhaps this also helps keep the chain from twisting, I just don't know. Above all, you must not let the voltage get below the windlass's operating voltage or the amperage goes up and that is dangerous. For us, either the engine or the gene is always running when we pick up, even if we are sailing off the anchor. By the way, we are on our anchor at least 11 months a year.
 

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We have an all chain rode and a Maxwell windlass. We use a swivel between the rode and the anchor and have not experienced what you are experiencing. I would do what needs to be done to remove the twist and then install a swivel. Hopefully the twist won't return.

I am trying to conceptualize how the twist is getting in the chain in the first place. How long do you anchor in that 1 spot? Are you spinning on your anchor when it's down? Something is putting that twist in there. Do you have a rope ride prior to the chain that is put around the capstan? The winds around the capstan can introduce twist to the rode. Otherwise???

Tod
 

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How much chain are you lying to at your anchorage? Obviously that's the only portion of your chain that's becoming twisted, and you'd have to 'dangle' in deeper water to untwist. I'm surprised by Lewmar saying that procedure will not untwist the rode, I've certainly seen my anchor 'spinning' slightly while coming up from the bottom in clear water, as a modest twist in the rode is being unlaid by the simple force of gravity...

I'm not familiar with the area you're anchored, but you're obviously rotating about your anchor routinely to develop such twisting. How long are you lying to your anchor at a time? A solution could be to simply re-anchor every few days, or whatever...

I'd only consider the use of a swivel as a last resort, and limit its use solely to an anchorage where you are revolving around your anchor. I think their use is unnecessary and dangerous, and is primarily used for convenience, as an aid in bringing larger anchors back over the bow roller without having to 'guide' it into proper alignment. If you do inject a swivel into your ground tackle system, at least put a bow shackle or short length of chain between the swivel and your hook, clamping any swivel I've ever seen directly to an anchor stock is a VERY poor practice, and can impart the sort of eccentric loads upon the swivel for which it was not designed to handle...


 

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We had the same Lewmar on the previous boat. Started having the same trouble w/ the chain. It was a real PIA. Discovered the 3 screws that hold the 2 pieces of the gypsy together had sheered. Remove the gypsy and make sure this hasn't happened. There is a specific orientation of the 2 pieces.
Jim
 

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That sounds like it might be the cause of the OP's issue. I have never seen chain twist itself on our system. Has to be a problem or defect somewhere!


Mandolin, Bayfield 36 out of Rock Creek, Chesapeake Bay.

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for all of the good replies. Here is some follow-up information: on our anchor shaft, we have a shackle. That's connected to the swivel...that's connected to our 3/8" BBB chain. We spin around about every day due to some pretty good fetches with 18-20 knots of wind in the afternoon in the La Cruz anchorage of Banderas Bay. We stay anchored in one place for 10 days straight. We go for a sail then re-anchor. Typically we are anchored in 18' of water with 120' of chain out. We have never had a problem not setting our anchor or having it drag (thank goodness!) The twisting of the chain carries out throughout all 200' of chain. Last winter we anchored up and down the Pacific Mexico coast all the way to Barra de Navidad and can't remember having this problem. This summer we added 125' of rode to the 200' of chain (spliced on) but we don't see how that would cause any problem with the chain since we have never had to use that length of rode. It was primarily for assisting us if/when we have to stern-anchor. We do use a dual-rode snubber about 10' long. We will definitely check out the gypsy.
 

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the twist will return you forget you are in la cruz de huanacaxtle, nayarit mexico, in a not protected from anything anchorage and have tidal changes daily x4,and you have wind clocking around daily in complete circles. one must re-anchor weekly at times to ensure proper holding.
good luck. i like this anchorage a lot better but we still experience those daily phenomena, only without the chop, and our chain twists up also. however we are protected from seas and the hugest of winds. until spring, at which time we will register wind speeds of over 35 kts.
zihuatenejo also has this occurring regularly.
anywhere that the tides and winds clock the boats around full circle will present with twisted chain.
a swivel is weakest part of link..you will need to inspect it and pray hard as the winds will get to 35 kts before calming down in spring. and then there is furycame season......

ok so how do i deal with it....for past 4 yrs i have lifted anchor slowly and untwisted it as i go. is dangerous to rapidly bring chain onto boat, so slowly is good. can clean and inspect chain at same time, as well.
never be in a hurry to raise anchor...and always have one ready to deploy in case of emergency....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
the twist will return you forget you are in la cruz de huanacaxtle, nayarit mexico, in a not protected from anything anchorage and have tidal changes daily x4,and you have wind clocking around daily in complete circles. one must re-anchor weekly at times to ensure proper holding.
We decided to clean our chain as it came up and we did this just before it was going into the gypsy in the anchor locker. Bringing it up slowly, well a section at a time because the windless dictates the speed. We cleaned about 18” at a time. We first had to use a round file and the wire brush to get the encrustations and grass off it. The wash it with the wash down pump. We tried to straighten the chain as it was going down the windless with mixed success. The last 30-40 ft were not twisted or needing cleaning. So we will keep an eye on the chain so we do not let get that over grown again. I think we can clean it every ten days or less and then only need to wire brush it. That is about when we get off the hook and go sailing. Hopefully we can continue to un-twist it and when we clean it. We may need to clean it more often and we can probably do the without moving. We can clean the chain till we get where it is not needing it say 30’ and then lay it back down doing this on a calm morning. So we think we have a plan and will see how it goes for un-twisting the chain.
A few weeks ago I bent the manual retrieval on the windless trying to get the chain up with it loaded with twists :( but we had to get the chain up!
Thanks for the suggestions and that is where we got our new plan.

Our windless is oversized for our boat. We have a 36' boat. No idea what 200 ft of 3\8 chain weighs but will try to find out.

Lewmar H3 windless
Motor size = 1000W Output
Maimumm pull = 1900LB or 860kg
Working load = 100lb or 45kg
Draw at working load = 60A
 

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Your chain is probably BBB. 3/8" weighs 1.6 lbs per foot or 320 lbs for the full 200'
 

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I don't think that the windlass has anything to do with your problem. If you have tidal changes that make the boat always turn in the same direction that is your problem I think. We have not anchored in such a place. When we lift the anchor (no swivel, all chain) there will be minor twisting that naturally untwists once the anchor is free of the bottom. I guess you need to lift the anchor slowly enough for the twists to disappear. If you have many twists this might be impractical.
 
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Had this exact problem last fall. Pulled all the chain up by hand onto the deck (not down the hawsepipe), until the anchor was on the roller. Untied the bowline that attaches the rode to boat and pulled all the chain and line out of the anchor locker. Then manually untwisted the chain along its length. With 150' of 7/16' chain, it was not fun but not too difficult.

When Bermuda moored (two anchors off the bow), we always get "wraps" where the two anhor lines get twisted around each other. To unwrap it, we first tie the port side of the dinghy to the stern. Then we start the sailboats engine and let it idle in reverse. Then we start the dinghy engine and let the dinghy drive the sailboat around in circles, maintaining a careful watch while the 2 anchor lines untwist.

If done when there's little wind, it takes a couple minutes for each revolution. We get about 3 wraps per week, so it's just part of the weekly (sometimes biweekly) activity.

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Why not use a mooring swivel? They are big, strong and dependable, while easily letting the chain untwist.

When the anchor is up on the bow roller, mark a spot on the chain that is between the anchor shackle and the gipsy. Put the swivel there. (Make sure the length of the swivel doesn't put it right up into the gipsy. Make sure there's some chain or a couple of shackles between the swivel and the anchor shaft.)

Then if you are only gettting light winds for a few days, start the engine and put it in reverse until the chain is taught. That will get any mid-rode twists out.

Regards,
Brad
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi,
We have been slowly bring the chain up. About two feet at a time. We wire brush it and wash it off with the salt water wash down then do a couple more. We have found that about 7 days we can go and then the chain is not got much growth at all. We are still cleaning off some old growth each time but the chain is getting pretty clean.


Our friends bring up theirs one a week also and take out the boat all day and come
back and re-anchor. They just wash down the chain as it comes up. Either they have a real strong wash down pump or the chain locker is well ventilated so the chain dries out. I can not other wise understand why the chain does not get growth as the living things should be able to handle a day out of salt water.
 
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