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Heaving Anchor without a windlass


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I'm looking to brainstorm some ideas for heaving anchor  when things are too heavy to hand-bomb without dragging chain across my decks.

In general, I haven't had any issues hand-bombing my 22lb Delta and 200ft of 1/4" chain in but as I'm generally solo I think it'll be prudent to have a back-up plan if I hurt myself, it was really blowing, or I had to set (for whatever reason) in very deep water. I haven't had any problems in ~15-20kts in as deep as 75ft of water but it wouldn't take much of an injury to prevent me from doing so again.

I think the general concept of a chain hook and line led back to a primary winch with a second hook to relocate the hook/line further up the chain works. I was thinking I might improve it to have a block at the forestay with a longer continuous line with two hooks with ends led to either primary winch. This arrangement would let me re-hook the chain and stow loose chain with one trip up to the foredeck per length. Two-up it would allow much faster heaving, stowing chain as you go, and stationary positions to allow both people to be clipped in.

My one hesitation to implementing something like this is the amount of chain dragging across my foredeck.

Idea being:

1) Active Hook pulls chain back to active winch while lazy hook is pulls chain on deck back to the pullpit

2) When active hook as far aft as possible walk up to the foredeck and re-attach lazy hook to loaded chain, stow chain in chain locker.

3) Walk back to the cockpit and take up tension on the lazy hook making it the active hook

4) Take the new lazy hook's line off of the winch and repeat

image.png.02cada58409c79dfa0063ac99dee0f24.png

Has anyone put something like this together? Any idea on preventing chain from dragging around on the foredeck?

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Agreed that this is viable in a lot of cases. I can tie my crab trap float and sinking line to the end of the chain and drop it to retrieve it later.

I can picture cases where I'm in remote enough locations where I'd need to reset or I wouldn't be able to get dive assistance if I hooked a log boom cable or something and had to get the anchor up myself.

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12 minutes ago, Kenny Dumas said:

How bout tying a loose slip knot around the chain with a weight. Drop it down to the bottom, winch up rope and anchor, hand pull remaining chain loop. 

I don't follow. Would the weight pull the lazy end of the chain back down?

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You might also question whether you really need 200-ft of all-chain rode on a 29-ft cruiser/racer in protected NW waters.

If you switched to 29 feet of initial chain and the rest nylon rode, then presuming you purchase a standard 200-ft spool of rode, you'd have 229 feet total anchor line and you could directly crank the entire length of the nylon rode aboard using the genoa winch, with no chain-dragging issues. The final 29-ft of chain should be do-able (with a little planning) even if you're working with one arm and a hurt back.

Feeding the nylon rode back forward and down into the anchor locker would be a similar non-issue.

And the whole setup would be lighter and thus give better sailing performance when beating in chop with the anchor on the bow. And because it is lighter and easier to transport, you'd be more willing to take it off the boat when full-on racing (we use a hefty-built plastic laundry basket to carry ours around -- one person carries all the rode and chain in the basket, the other carries the anchor, no wheelbarrow required. There's a smaller emergency/lunch-hook anchor stowed belowdecks near the base of the mast compression post).

I guess that nylon rode in theory has a touch less security than all-chain, but it's worked for us in these waters for 30 years so far. Have we ever dragged during a big blow? Sure, once or twice, but on both occasions there were boats on all chain that dragged much worse. It's really all about what anchor you're using, how well you're set, and -- at least a little bit -- how lucky you are.

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19 minutes ago, climenuts said:

I don't follow. Would the weight pull the lazy end of the chain back down?

The weight is just to sink the line. When you pull the line, the slip knot grabs the chain. After lifting the anchor, you have a loop of chain in the water that you hand lift 

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3 minutes ago, Alaris said:

200 feet of chain without a windlass? On a 29 footer? Overkill, thy name is Kenny

I've played the 30ft of chain game. There's no way I could jam into tight anchorages when other boats are on chain. Also makes a huge difference when stern tying on short scope which happens a lot here.

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A few thoughts: use a halyard winch (mounted on mast or deck near the mast cause your boat looks like a C&C)  + chain hook. Then you can easily walk to bow, clip on 2nd hook + 2nd rope and swap them back and forth. Not fast but simple and hard to fuck up. Because the chain is led high it won't drag along the foredeck as much.

If you ever have to dump the anchor tie a 10' floating length of yellow polypro to the bitter end (if you don't buoy it). It will float off the bottom and make the chain much easier to find in a mud bottom or in reduced visibility.

Eric Hiscock used to write about a chain pawl on his anchor roller. Simple one way catch that holds the anchor chain as it is brought up, and gives you a break from holding it in a deep anchorage.

1 hour ago, climenuts said:

stationary positions to allow both people to be clipped in.

What kind of anchorage are you in where you need to be clipped in?? 

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I don't like the complexity of your proposed set up. Too many lines and turning points involved. As others, I think you have way too much chain. 

I have once seen an image of an alternative "poor man's windlass" using a halyard. The tricky part is still to keep the chain from hitting your hull and you would actually lift the chain  above deck with potentially hitting the mast. If this would be nylon rode, accept for the last 30 feet or so, that set up would work as follows.

Attach halyard to rode with a stopper, and guide rode through a (snatch) block. Winch in halyard the length of mast. Tie off rode. Lower Halyard, Repeat. Once the anchor is free, you can pull in by hand.

I am not crazy about this either, but at least it is less complex.

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1 hour ago, climenuts said:

I'm looking to brainstorm some ideas for heaving anchor  when things are too heavy to hand-bomb without dragging chain across my decks.

In general, I haven't had any issues hand-bombing my 22lb Delta and 200ft of 1/4" chain in but as I'm generally solo I think it'll be prudent to have a back-up plan if I hurt myself, it was really blowing, or I had to set (for whatever reason) in very deep water. I haven't had any problems in ~15-20kts in as deep as 75ft of water but it wouldn't take much of an injury to prevent me from doing so again.

I think the general concept of a chain hook and line led back to a primary winch with a second hook to relocate the hook/line further up the chain works. I was thinking I might improve it to have a block at the forestay with a longer continuous line with two hooks with ends led to either primary winch. This arrangement would let me re-hook the chain and stow loose chain with one trip up to the foredeck per length. Two-up it would allow much faster heaving, stowing chain as you go, and stationary positions to allow both people to be clipped in.

My one hesitation to implementing something like this is the amount of chain dragging across my foredeck.

Idea being:

1) Active Hook pulls chain back to active winch while lazy hook is pulls chain on deck back to the pullpit

2) When active hook as far aft as possible walk up to the foredeck and re-attach lazy hook to loaded chain, stow chain in chain locker.

3) Walk back to the cockpit and take up tension on the lazy hook making it the active hook

4) Take the new lazy hook's line off of the winch and repeat

image.png.02cada58409c79dfa0063ac99dee0f24.png

Has anyone put something like this together? Any idea on preventing chain from dragging around on the foredeck?

Use your original concept, except change to using a halyard to do the winching. Attach hook onto halyard. Winch chain up to masthead. Attach lazy hook down by the pulpit. Lower halyard while feeding chain into locker. Wash, rinse, repeat. No dragging chain across deck. 
 

edit: that’s all hypothetical of course. No idea if it’d actually work. 

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22 minutes ago, Kenny Dumas said:

Not my boat. I run 50 lb on the corners and 90 on the bow, no chain. (40,000 lb houseboat). No coral in the PNW. 

I’d upsize the anchor and run no chain if I was OP

Brain fart. I read the post above mine not the OP

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30 minutes ago, climenuts said:

I've played the 30ft of chain game. There's no way I could jam into tight anchorages when other boats are on chain. Also makes a huge difference when stern tying on short scope which happens a lot here.

What kind of anchor are you using? I'm guessing Danforth?

My experience with Danforths around here hasn't been great, and you might find you have better luck with a claw-type anchor or Delta. The claw anchors can take a little finesse to get set properly (if you gun it backward too fast they can just scrape along the bottom forever-- they need to be set nice and slow). But once dug in they're pretty good about holding on short-ish scopes.

Just avoid kelp-covered bottoms -- a claw often won't hold in broad-leafed seaweed.

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1 hour ago, krikkitman said:

You might also question whether you really need 200-ft of all-chain rode on a 29-ft cruiser/racer in protected NW waters.

If you switched to 29 feet of initial chain and the rest nylon rode, then presuming you purchase a standard 200-ft spool of rode, you'd have 229 feet total anchor line and you could directly crank the entire length of the nylon rode aboard using the genoa winch, with no chain-dragging issues. The final 29-ft of chain should be do-able (with a little planning) even if you're working with one arm and a hurt back.

Feeding the nylon rode back forward and down into the anchor locker would be a similar non-issue.

And the whole setup would be lighter and thus give better sailing performance when beating in chop with the anchor on the bow. And because it is lighter and easier to transport, you'd be more willing to take it off the boat when full-on racing (we use a hefty-built plastic laundry basket to carry ours around -- one person carries all the rode and chain in the basket, the other carries the anchor, no wheelbarrow required. There's a smaller emergency/lunch-hook anchor stowed belowdecks near the base of the mast compression post).

I guess that nylon rode in theory has a touch less security than all-chain, but it's worked for us in these waters for 30 years so far. Have we ever dragged during a big blow? Sure, once or twice, but on both occasions there were boats on all chain that dragged much worse. It's really all about what anchor you're using, how well you're set, and -- at least a little bit -- how lucky you are.

What he said.  It is insane to try and pull 200' of chain by hand.

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Your C&C has a decent sized anchor locker, put in either a manual (ratchet handle type) or powered windlass with a chain gypsy and stop fooling around. I would think by the time you bought all that other gizmo stuff to engineer what your up to, you bought a windlass.  You could probably have enough space to get it mounted mostly below deck and it wouldn'y look bad. 

I have the same boat, use a 25lb delta, 30ft of 5/16 chain and 1/2 nylon rode. I like to go to sleep knowing the boat will be in the same place in the morning.

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5 minutes ago, krikkitman said:

What kind of anchor are you using? I'm guessing Danforth?

My experience with Danforths around here hasn't been great, and you might find you have better luck with a claw-type anchor or Delta. The claw anchors can take a little finesse to get set properly (if you gun it backward too fast they can just scrape along the bottom forever-- they need to be set nice and slow). But once dug in they're pretty good about holding on short-ish scopes.

Just avoid kelp-covered bottoms -- a claw won't often hold in broad-leafed seaweed.

Mr. Krikkit nice to see you here!

I've got a Delta on Mariah and have been looking at putting a Rocna on but it's not very high on the list. I have a Danforth with the old 30ft of 5/16 chain I put on for races.

8 minutes ago, zenmasterfred said:

What he said.  It is insane to try and pull 200' of chain by hand.

It's really not that bad with 1/4" chain. I'm a big guy and not quite 30.

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It's ok if the anchorage is 30' deep. Sucks when it's 75' deep...

I had to pull up our 44 lb anchor + 5/16" chain in about 30' water several times when our Quick windlass died. Easy enough to do it occasionally but wouldn't want to make a habit out of it.

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24 minutes ago, Zonker said:

It's ok if the anchorage is 30' deep. Sucks when it's 75' deep...

I had to pull up our 44 lb anchor + 5/16" chain in about 30' water several times when our Quick windlass died. Easy enough to do it occasionally but wouldn't want to make a habit out of it.

Yes, I had to drop in 75ft when ducking into Sturt Bay/Van Anda to get out of some weather. Dock was full as was the small shallow spot. Was pretty painful but in reality only ~100lbs at the worst point.

Armed with the knowledge gained from you fine individuals the past couple years I would probably do it a bit differently today with kellets, a more reasonable length of chain, etc. but the chain is in the locker now and I'll continue to use it. I know I went a bit overboard and 200ft is generally considered overkill but I'm very pleased with the results. The boat doesn't dance around side to side at 2kts anymore, the anchor sets reliably, holds on shorter scope when necessary,  and I don't swing around into boats who are on chain after the wind/current shifts which were all issues I encountered my first summer with the boat before getting the 200ft of chain. I know the catanary doesn't play a big part in a proper blow with small vessels using modern anchors with proper scope (other than chafe which isn't a big issue here in the PNW) but it still has its benefits on the lighter days.

The purpose of this question was to have a contingency plan in the event I hurt myself and couldn't pull this up by hand. I like the halyard ideas proposed and will give that more thought but I'm not sure having chain swinging overhead and easing the halyard back down solo would be very straightforward.

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No, you don't use a halyard to lift the chain. Just the halyard winch.

1. Attach chain hook + 15' of rope to the chain near anchor roller.

2. Holding the rope, walk to the halyard winch

3. Winch in ~10' of chain & cleat off rope at winch

4. Walk to bow. Attach a 2nd chain hook + 2nd 15' of rope to chain

5. Holding 2nd rope which is not under load, walk to halyard winch

6. Hold 2nd rope while easing 1st rope off winch

7. Put 2nd rope on winch, winch in 10' of chain, cleat off rope at winch

8. Stow all 20' of chain that is over the deck.

9. Repeat as often as required.

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By the way we sailed around the world with 150' of 5/16" chain spliced to 150' of 5/8" rope.  It was plenty. Deepest we anchored was the Maldives in about 85' of water. Could easily see the bottom and how the anchor held. Very weird looking.

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I agree with Climenuts about 30' of chain not being very useful up here. I started with that, then upsized to 100' of 1/4" G4 and 270' of 1/2" nylon with a 35 lb Delta on the business end. That was the reason I put in a windlass. The little Lewmar V700 does a fine job for the price, and you don't need really heavy wire because it's only a 35A breaker. It's not ridiculously expensive, and it fits just fine in an anchor locker.

FBdbo4N.jpg

 

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