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Discussion Starter #1
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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Well.... true story: A friend was using his windlass to recover a prawn trap on his Passport 40 (arguably as well built a boat as many) he ended up putting a side load on it and dislodged the entire assembly from the deck.. Hard to believe but it happened - to add insult to injury the prawn trap wasn't even full :eek:.

He's remounted it in such a way that even side loads can't do that anymore.. He had not had any issues with anchor retrieval prior to this incident, including several seasons in Mexico.

Best to seriously investigate how the thing's been mounted (and backed), I suppose.
 
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I think to some extent it depends on the windlass. We have an old Ideal on board that will be removed next year. We now use the modern Quick which works fine but is not even close to being as beefy. I suspect that both would take a load from any direction but why bother?

We use a bridle for a snubber with a chain hook. The ends of the bridle go through very substantial chocks to also very strong cleats on either side of the bow. Once the bridle is rigged we let out several feet of chain so the chain is hanging down from roller usually to the water. With this arrangement the only load on the windlass is the weight about 8 feet of chain. We also always hook up the snubber for any overnight stop. It might be 8 knots at 1700 when you anchor but who knows what might happen at midnight.
 

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I am no expert but I was instructed NOT to use the Maxwell windlass on my Catalina 36 MkII as a bollard. Coming to think of it, does that mean I should release/remove all tension from the windlass when anchored, and snub chain/rode to the cleats on the foredeck to avoid strain beyond a designed tolerance?
 

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Your chain should not put a load on your windlass; that is what a chain stopper is for. It is even inadvisable to pull the anchor without powering up on the chain. I imagine your windlass manual will state this; my Lofrans manual does.
We take the snub line to a foredeck cleat (the only thing stronger on the boat are the gene winches), but through the chock with chafe gear, not the bow roller. I don't think the bow roller is strong enough on many boats while the chocks should be, were one to be caught anchored in rising seas or a surge. I believe the lead is fairer from the cleat to the chock, as well. We also find the boat sails considerably less at anchor than when we used the bow roller.
By the way, we use fire hose for chafe gear and we are still on our original snub line after 3 years on the hook, in various anchorages in the Antilles.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your chain should not put a load on your windlass; that is what a chain stopper is for. It is even inadvisable to pull the anchor without powering up on the chain. I imagine your windlass manual will state this; my Lofrans manual does.
We take the snub line to a foredeck cleat (the only thing stronger on the boat are the gene winches), but through the chock with chafe gear, not the bow roller. I don't think the bow roller is strong enough on many boats while the chocks should be, were one to be caught anchored in rising seas or a surge. I believe the lead is fairer from the cleat to the chock, as well. We also find the boat sails considerably less at anchor than when we used the bow roller.
By the way, we use fire hose for chafe gear and we are still on our original snub line after 3 years on the hook, in various anchorages in the Antilles.
I have a Lofrans Albatross and the manual does say to use a subber and suggests a cleat. However, it gives no indication of the load it can carry or whether this because of stress on the gypsy clutch or the windlass mounts themselves. That's my curiosity.

For what it's worth, there is no practical way to affix a snubber to the chain in front of the bow roller on our boat and then lead it back through a chock on the side. At the least, one would need a chain hook (I tie it on) and a pole to reach in front of the pulpit and bow roller.
 

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I have a Lofrans Albatross and the manual does say to use a subber and suggests a cleat. However, it gives no indication of the load it can carry or whether this because of stress on the gypsy clutch or the windlass mounts themselves. That's my curiosity.

For what it's worth, there is no practical way to affix a snubber to the chain in front of the bow roller on our boat and then lead it back through a chock on the side. At the least, one would need a chain hook (I tie it on) and a pole to reach in front of the pulpit and bow roller.
A windlass is not designed for, nor intended, to do other than hoist the weight of ones ground tackle for which virtually all factory installed windlasses, and most owner installed windlasses are sized. Moreover, a bow roller is not intended to take the surge loads of ground tackle. It is intended to allow rode to be recovered (by hand or windlass) with a minimum of friction on a yacht's rail/prow by the action of the roller. A single legged snubber lead through a fair-lead and then to a cleat can work but does load the bow "off center". Better to use a double snubber, with equal length legs, attached to the rode with a chain hook or rolling hitch with a substantial bight of chain released, lead through a chain stopper, and hanging down between the point of attachment to the rode and the yacht's prow. With this arrangement, ground tackle loading on the yacht is centered and the rode is held below the various and sundry hardware on one's prow and no unnecessary loading is applied to one's windlass.

Anchoring 101....
 

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This thread is interesting.

In storm conditions, yea, I'm doing everything and anything to distribute load. Snubber to cleats, chain stop, etc. I'm even putting out a second anchor if I can work it out. Mooring chaffing, reduce windage...whatever... We've made it through tropical storms, etc.

But on a normal night with 10-20kts or less in a settled mooring field, when I'm on a mooring with a pennant that is too big for everything including the cleats and chocks, I've been known to run it through the anchor roller and put the loop over the windlass drum, and sleep soundly.

Yea, I know, I could rig my own bridle, etc, etc. But I though the windlass could take a reasonable load like this. I'm assuming a good builder would back the bolts extensively, spread the load, etc. I suppose beyond a certain load the shaft of the windless could be bent?

Now you guys got me wondering about this:confused:

And I was sleeping really sound on that hawser!:)
 

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...

But on a normal night with 10-20kts or less in a settled mooring field, when I'm on a mooring with a pennant that is too big for everything including the cleats and chocks, I've been known to run it through the anchor roller and put the loop over the windlass drum, and sleep soundly....

Now you guys got me wondering about this

....
Carry a 25/30 foot "utility line" of (depending upon the size of your yacht) perhaps 1/2" mooring 3-strand or brate. Secure one end to your starboard cleat, pass the other end, with a round turn, through the eye of the pendant from the mooring, under your bow, and back to your port cleat. The round turn prevents chafe at the pendant and the line will release itself when one end is cast off.
 

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Carry a 25/30 foot "utility line" of (depending upon the size of your yacht) perhaps 1/2" mooring 3-strand or brate. Secure one end to your starboard cleat, pass the other end, with a round turn, through the eye of the pendant from the mooring, under your bow, and back to your port cleat. The round turn prevents chafe at the pendant and the line will release itself when one end is cast off.
Yes, yes, of course...I know this and have done it. My question is am I risking life limb and boat doing it the other way in reasonable conditions?
 

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This thread is interesting.

In storm conditions, yea, I'm doing everything and anything to distribute load. Snubber to cleats, chain stop, etc. I'm even putting out a second anchor if I can work it out. Mooring chaffing, reduce windage...whatever... We've made it through tropical storms, etc.

But on a normal night with 10-20kts or less in a settled mooring field, when I'm on a mooring with a pennant that is too big for everything including the cleats and chocks, I've been known to run it through the anchor roller and put the loop over the windlass drum, and sleep soundly.

Yea, I know, I could rig my own bridle, etc, etc. But I though the windlass could take a reasonable load like this. I'm assuming a good builder would back the bolts extensively, spread the load, etc. I suppose beyond a certain load the shaft of the windless could be bent?

Now you guys got me wondering about this:confused:

And I was sleeping really sound on that hawser!:)
Sure, in the situation you've described, chances are there is virtually no risk at all... You're never gonna see the sort of sharp 'snatching' loads but on the gypsy or shaft that can occur when an anchor chain comes up bar-tight...

Horizontal windlasses seem to be a bit more vulnerable to shaft damage than vertical, the loads on the latter are a bit more 'centered', at least those with a rope drum mounted atop the chain gypsy...

'Windlass abuse' is rampant among many of the cruisers I see out there... They're not really intended for some of the chores I see some folks applying them to... Pulling the boat up to the anchor non-stop in 25 knots of breeze, for one - instead of letting the chain catenary do some of the work, much less the boat's engine...

A good friend of mine is with Florida Rigging and Hydraulics, he probably sells, installs, and services as many large yacht windlasses as anyone on the East coast (He recently returned from Saudi Arabia, where he was supervising the install of the tender cranes on some Royal cousin's 300-footer) He's seen every manner of damage that can possibly be done to a windlass, and aside from 'over-exerting' the motor, the number one culprit seems to be the failure to protect the windlass from the snatching loads that can be imparted by a taut anchor chain...

Hell, even the largest yachts, with their massively oversized and robust windlasses, protect them with equally massive chain stoppers... Why wouldn't we?


 

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Yes, yes, of course...I know this and have done it. My question is am I risking life limb and boat doing it the other way in reasonable conditions?
How fast can/do conditions change where you're located? Here (southwest Florida) the other night we were sitting in the cockpit nicely enjoying a sun-downer with, maybe, 5 knots of westerly wind through the anchorage. Suddenly, without warning, we felt a cold breeze on the backs of our necks, which here, forewarns a squall from the east. Within no more than 10 minutes, we were hit with a blast of wind/rain that laid the yacht over to 15º as she went broadside to the squall while rotating end-for-end to face the oncoming tumult. In 10 feet of water, we had 75' of chain out that went tight to our snubbers. Withing 30 minutes more the squall had passed, our only damage being a plate of rather soggy "Water Crackers" and Brie cheese that were inadvertently left in the cockpit when the girls scampered for the companionway. Afterward, our wind speed instrument registered a maximum of 41 knots (although our masthead instrument is sometimes unreliable). The remainder of the night was unremarkable.

Your call, eh?
 

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Yes, yes, of course...I know this and have done it. My question is am I risking life limb and boat doing it the other way in reasonable conditions?
You must sail in nicer, more predictable places than I do. You can have 'reasonable conditions' when you anchor that are anything but in the middle of the night. If you work out the system you use it takes very little time to hook up a bridle snubber. Avoids the 3 am drama when some unexpected weather comes through.
 
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How fast can/do conditions change where you're located? Here (southwest Florida) the other night we were sitting in the cockpit nicely enjoying a sun-downer with, maybe, 5 knots of westerly wind through the anchorage. Suddenly, without warning, we felt a cold breeze on the backs of our necks, which here, forewarns a squall from the east. Within no more than 10 minutes, we were hit with a blast of wind/rain that laid the yacht over to 15º as she went broadside to the squall while rotating end-for-end to face the oncoming tumult. In 10 feet of water, we had 75' of chain out that went tight to our snubbers. Withing 30 minutes more the squall had passed, our only damage being a plate of rather soggy "Water Crackers" and Brie cheese that were inadvertently left in the cockpit when the girls scampered for the companionway. Afterward, our wind speed instrument registered a maximum of 41 knots (although our masthead instrument is sometimes unreliable). The remainder of the night was unremarkable.

Your call, eh?
Exactly. Every night is a potencial storm night, so why do so many try to defend anchoring practices that denigh this?

I am guilty of using the windlass to pull the boat up on very light conditions; much easier, when single-handing, and I accept that it shortens the windlass life. I only do this in conditions where a few seconds will get the boat moving and then it will coast, and my cat is light.

But I am not guilty of risking surprise when a squal comes up. I like knowing there is nothing more to be done, that my roller/windlass are not at risk, and that the surges will be properly buffered. I sleep well because I know that the engineering is proper, not because I'm hoping the pulpit is strong.
 

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Yea, guess I'm not always anchored out with a squal line headed at me, or in the roaring 40's. Some nights, I even anchor out in places that aren't fully sheltered. The horror of it all:D

Seriously, at least around here and down east, there's usually ample warning for tropic storms, hurricanes, and Nor-easters, and instability based quick moving squalls are not usually a threat with a dry NW wind.

Yep, guess I'm the kinda guy that runs with scissors;)
 

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You're probably right Minn, the windlass can take some side load stresses. But I'd avoid it if possible. Our arrangement is almost identical to Killarney Sailor: dual snubber/bridle lead through beefy chocks to port and stbd hefty horn cleats. Only difference is I use rolling hitches.

I can count the nights on my fingers where I didn't put the snubber/bridle on. On our boat it's pretty easy (I get that it's not so with yours)., so given the vagaries of Great Lakes weather, to say nothing of the questionable forecasts we get, I almost always snub. The bridle also dampens the anchor swinging as well.


Why go fast, when you can go slow
 

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Discussion Starter #17
As I've been trying to solve for how I would avoid both the windlass and the bow roller, I had a thought. If I tie the rolling hitch around the chain in the middle of my snubber line, I could let it all through the bow roller and use a boat hook to retrieve the two bitter ends from in front.

The downside to having two snubbers lead back to each foredeck cleat is chafing against the prow. As the boat swings, it will wrap and chafe the topside paint. Does so at mooring. I will also require a substantially longer snubber line and tying the rolling hitch with 15 feet of bitter end won't be fun.

I'm glad I started the tread, as it has me thinking. Thinking about solutions the "anchoring 101" crack didn't actually offer.
 

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I have a Lofrans Albatross and the manual does say to use a subber and suggests a cleat. However, it gives no indication of the load it can carry or whether this because of stress on the gypsy clutch or the windlass mounts themselves. That's my curiosity.

For what it's worth, there is no practical way to affix a snubber to the chain in front of the bow roller on our boat and then lead it back through a chock on the side. At the least, one would need a chain hook (I tie it on) and a pole to reach in front of the pulpit and bow roller.
I don't understand why you might have a problem with a standard chain hook. I use galvanized and have never had a problem. Once it's hooked on the chain at the bow roller, keep a bit of tension on the snub as you ease off the chain until the snub comes tight in the chock. I do not remove the chain from the bow roller, just move the tension to the snubber in the chock and leave a nice long loop in the chain between the chain hook and the roller.
In your situation it might be possible to affix the hook into the chain before going over the roller, insuring a fair lead to the chock after being let out? Our snubber is 1" three strand nylon with a thimble and shackle to the chain hook, about 30' long. Perhaps a bit of overkill, but I don't worry about it chafing all the way through over a particularly rough night.
capecodda
"But on a normal night with 10-20kts or less in a settled mooring field, when I'm on a mooring with a pennant that is too big for everything including the cleats and chocks, I've been known to run it through the anchor roller and put the loop over the windlass drum, and sleep soundly."

Most places we've been, the owners of the moorings would be quite distressed to see a boat using the mooring pennant secured to the boat. The standard method is to run a line through the eye of the pennant from one side of the bow to the other and cleated off to your docking cleats. A secondary and perhaps more important reason to do this, is the facility of releasing yourself from the mooring in an emergency. Think of a boat that has dragged down on you and how badly you'd really like not to be attached to the mooring at that point. Of course you could hack through that grossly over sized pennant, or just loose one end of your line, like an endless dock line when fueling short handed.
 

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Most places we've been, the owners of the moorings would be quite distressed to see a boat using the mooring pennant secured to the boat. The standard method is to run a line through the eye of the pennant from one side of the bow to the other and cleated off to your docking cleats. A secondary and perhaps more important reason to do this, is the facility of releasing yourself from the mooring in an emergency. Think of a boat that has dragged down on you and how badly you'd really like not to be attached to the mooring at that point. Of course you could hack through that grossly over sized pennant, or just loose one end of your line, like an endless dock line when fueling short handed.
Simply passing a line through a mooring pendant without a round-turn is a formula for disaster. Many times we have seen boats chafe through their lines in very short order with such an arrangement, with and without their owners aboard, particularly if there is any scend in the anchorage. A round turn will release itself once the tension is taken off one of the legs and if there is any delay, one simply casts off both and comes back later....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I don't understand why you might have a problem with a standard chain hook. I use galvanized and have never had a problem. Once it's hooked on the chain at the bow roller, keep a bit of tension on the snub as you ease off the chain until the snub comes tight in the chock..........
You can not reach the chain from around our pulpit and down past the front of the roller to attach the chain hook. You would have to hang from the waste. :)

At the least, I would need a hook that didn't require tension to stay attached, just run the whole mess through the roller and fish the bitter ends back with a boat hook. I actually looked into one (was it the Wichard? I'm drawing a blank). But I've stayed old school so far.
 
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