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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Windlass ripped from hull

    We have just finished a weeks charter in the mediterranean. Everything fine until the last day when, upon raising the bow anchor (via electric windlass) after lunch in a bay, the rear end of the windlass (ie the part furthest from the anchor) became detached from the fibreglass platform it was bolted to in the anchor locker. This didn't happen as the anchor was being pulled up from the sea bed - it occurred after it had emerged from the sea yet just before returning to its normal position in the bow roller. The windlass motor did not trip out so after we manually rehoused the anchor into the bow roller and removed the anchor chain from the windlass we were able to turn the windlass winch in the usual way using the handheld electric device -- it would therefore appear the electric motor inside the windlass was undamaged and still fully operational.

    The company we chartered the yacht from seemed to suggest it was our fault either bacause the anchor was stuck under a rock on the sea bed or because during the week we had used it to pull the boat away from the quay after being moored stern to overnight.

    My thoughts/questions are:

    - Surely if the windlass is ripped from the hull in this fashion it is due to not being attached in a secure enough way in the first place .... is this correct ?

    - Lets say the anchor is lodged under a rock on the sea bed. If the skipper persists in trying to raise it using the brute force of the windlass, in a properly set up windlass either the electric motor should trip or the windlass clutch should slip before excessive strain is placed on the windlass hull attachments points (ie bolts as described above).

    - Is it true that you should not use a windlass to pull the yacht away from the quay when leaving a stern to mooring ??

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    Thanks....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    7,645

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    I'd say if it was fitted correctly and the correct thermal breaker was fitted it would not be possible to rip the windlass from the deck.

    However, it should not be used for dragging the boat around, it's there for raising the anchor chain and anchor. Even when retrieving the anchor you shouldn't just drag the boat along with the windlass. The correct way is to slowly motor the boat forward, whilst retrieving the slack chain. When directly above the anchor, tighten the chain and wave action should break the anchor free, if not, engage astern and give it a pull.

    Either way, sounds like the windlass was not securely mounted.
    Rainbow Marine.
    www.rainbowmarine.co.uk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Home UK Midlands / Boat Croatia
    Posts
    18,913

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    As Paul says, the windlass must never be used for pulling the boat in any direction, or indeed, for breaking the anchor free if it is deeply embedded or stuck under a rock or whatever.

    Whether such misuse could or should ever actually break the fibreglass mounting point is another question but, in my limited experience, I would say that I have been on several boats where such misuse would actually break the windlass mounts.

    Richard
    Last edited by RichardS; 22-06-19 at 16:55.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    748

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    I guess you're away from the boat now, but did you look for any existing cracks, i.e. dirty or weathered surfaces where the structure failed?

    As the others have suggested, if the anchor was stuck, I'd expect you to notice the windlass pulling the bow down before anything failed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,722

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    Even if you abuse the system the windlass should stay attached.

    On my boat you charterers regrettably do sometimes stall the windlass motor with the anchor firmly in the bow roller, ie trying to shorten the bow of the boat with bar-tight chain between windlass and anchor. Again and again find it like this when the boat comes back. Despite large clear notice next to the windlass switches. Windlass still however firmly attached. My boat does get checks and maintenance......

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    Many thanks for the really helpful replies. I should stress that our anchor didnt get caught.under a rock or anything like that ot jist seems that over time the windlass bolts must have worked themselves loose. Fingers crossed when the charterer opens up the windlass unit he will not find any internal damage and use that as an excuse to withold some of my security deposit....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Alness / Loch Ness Northern Scottish Highlands.
    Posts
    8,834

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRainbow View Post
    I'd say if it was fitted correctly and the correct thermal breaker was fitted it would not be possible to rip the windlass from the deck.

    However, it should not be used for dragging the boat around, it's there for raising the anchor chain and anchor. Even when retrieving the anchor you shouldn't just drag the boat along with the windlass. The correct way is to slowly motor the boat forward, whilst retrieving the slack chain. When directly above the anchor, tighten the chain and wave action should break the anchor free, if not, engage astern and give it a pull.

    Either way, sounds like the windlass was not securely mounted.
    Bit if you take up the slack and then motor astern, the force on the chain and hence the winch would still be the same.

    In this case the anchor was out of the sea, so somehow something jammed at the bow roller and the winch did not trip out, but ripped itself out of the deck.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    7,645

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    Quote Originally Posted by ProDave View Post
    Bit if you take up the slack and then motor astern, the force on the chain and hence the winch would still be the same.
    It isn't the same. Pulling the boat around with the windlass is a bad idea because it puts excessive load on the motor, that's the primary reason boat should be driven forwards. When you're directly over the anchor it can't hold the same as when you have a load of scope, so it breaks free easily, as a rule. If it doesn't, you don't use excessive force while the rode is still on the gypsy, if it doesn't break free easily you tie the rode off, same as you would when anchoring overnight or in windy conditions.
    Rainbow Marine.
    www.rainbowmarine.co.uk

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Med
    Posts
    5,890

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRainbow View Post
    It isn't the same. Pulling the boat around with the windlass is a bad idea because it puts excessive load on the motor, that's the primary reason boat should be driven forwards. When you're directly over the anchor it can't hold the same as when you have a load of scope, so it breaks free easily, as a rule. If it doesn't, you don't use excessive force while the rode is still on the gypsy, if it doesn't break free easily you tie the rode off, same as you would when anchoring overnight or in windy conditions.
    I agree with Paul and you always tie it off no matter what before trying to set it and then finish off by using a snubber
    What's I will say and this may not be the case here , I seen charterthat have they anchor caught on some thing and they draw forward under full power to try and trip the anchor , now as most of us know you can't trip the anchor in this way .
    Last edited by sailaboutvic; 22-06-19 at 17:51.
    Warning forumite dyslexia near by
    www.bluewatersailorcroatia.webs.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,722

    Default Re: Windlass ripped from hull

    The other thing many people do is rely on the windlass gypsy as the securing point when anchored. Windlass makers say not to do this (though for a light wind "lunch stop" I and many others do). But for longer term or windy anchoring this is very bad practice. Also it means that what's holding you is the clutch that just might slip, not a cleat that is hopefully very solidly bolted to the deck.

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