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Thread: Drakes Bay 2022

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
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    Palo Alto
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    My next newbie lesson at Drake's Bay was anchoring...

    I have anchored a few times but always in controlled and relatively light conditions
    My first time to Drake's Bay
    I was not prepared for how much harder things get in rough water and weather
    I anchored early with little wind and a bit of current and ended up facing shore about where the most northern spot labelled "anchorage" (the yellow oval) from the Skipper's Meeting with 200 ft chain in 15-20 ft. depth with a couple of nylon snubbers on a Mantus claw hook
    Everyone motored in one by one through the evening
    Galaxsea ended up near me, I think he was keeping an eye on me. I will ask, but am very grateful. It did make me feel better to have someone with experience that I sort of knew next to me
    Quantum, a support yacht that was rafting one of the race boats, was also nearby
    By 3am the wind had turned South picked up and waves started to build
    I had a graphical anchor watch on and saw myself shift around
    In the middle of the night I saw Galaxsea I assume dragging. I had seen a cabin light on earlier but there was none on now. I flashed a spotlight several times. First lesson: what do you do to try and alert someone? I thought Galaxsea had grounded at what seemed like 100 yards inshore from me
    I decided it was too hard to try and pull anchor at night so started to get ready to pull anchor at first light in case things got worse.
    I knew that DB was not a place to be in a Southerly. We didn't mention this at the Skippers Meeting so newbies like me: be warned...
    At 6am I stated to try and pull anchor. I had 200 out of 300 feet of 5/16" chain out with a 35 lb Manson Supreme on a 34 ft boat (I think 300 ft of chain is too much to carry, that would be my first question ...)
    I have a Lewmar HX1 electric windlass and a Lewmar brake
    It was really hard to motor and pick up chain in wind and swell. I took an hour or more to get down to 50 ft chain out. Quantum came over and offered to help but I thought it was dangerous to transfer and said I would try and pull the last 50 ft and anchor out.
    Galaxsea was quite happy and had just waited until dawn to re-position. At that point, I wished I was in that much control.
    The sets were really coming in and my boat was pounding on anchor, which was now on short chain.
    I tried using the Mantus claw with line on a cabin top winch but the anchor would not budge. I had no idea which way it was set, or probably had reset, but having spun through more than 180 degres I didnt know
    A really big set came in while the chain was still on the brake and bent the bow roller. I just had the plate underneath the roller replaced with 1" Delrin and addded 1/2" G10 sheet under the entire foredeck so what bent was the 3/16" SS bow roller plate. Twisted like it was paper.
    Quantum again offered help and we prepared fenders, but decided it was too dangerous
    I pulled out the bolt cutters and Quantum was dubious that would cut chain. I had practiced at dock and managed to cut 5/16" high test. Tom Relyea at South Beach Riggers had told me about a demo he did at STFYC to cut rigging at sea. I think mostly for big boats but he said cordless angle grinder > explosive cutter > cutters > hacksaw. The bolt cutters actually worked. It was good that I had practiced because you have to have the chain tight if not taut and cut twice cleanly at 90 degreses on one link. I would not have time to figure that all out if I had not tried it before. My advice is to try cutting stuff ahead of time and if it isn't trivially easy it isnt going to work on a bouncing deck.
    I probably should have just cut a $500 anchor loose immediately instead of what will be thousands to repair everything
    The bow roller had crushed down on the deck as it twisted, it didn't look like the hull or stem was damaged but I decided to call it a day with a really valuable leson learned. This one was a bit different because usually as a newbie I do stupid stuff I know I shouldn't do but here I'm not sure what I should have done. This one was painful as I know it will take me off the water for a while just I was getting going. Two steps forward ...

    So what should I have done diffferently? I really cant find much on anchoring solo

    1. Whats the best anchor? I dont really need an anchor review (SV Panope has a great series) but I want one that un-sets as well as sets when I'm by myself. The Manson is supposed to set well, but not that great for me in mud and sand. It does not un-set at all well. I dont read much about that aspect of anchors in reviews. I have a Fortress and Danforth as back-ups right now. I do have an anchor retrieval ring and ball but in those conditions it wasnt going to happen. Maybe I should have set a trip line. I just dont know. I have no experience,
    2. How do I pick up an anchor in 15-20 and biggish swell (apart from not getting into that situation in the first place until I know how to get out)
    3. What am I missing wrt anchor, brake, windlass, use and technique?
    Last edited by GBR3068; 08-22-2022 at 12:00 PM.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Alameda, CA
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    @GBR3068 - It was a hard night/weekend. I was aboard Quantum, the support boat Beneteau. We cut loose Leading Lady who rafted up with us at 2130 knowing we were going to bang hard. None of us slept much. About 02:30 we were all awake, by 400 it was even bigger. Knowing you were solo, I made sure I did several observations of EOS throughout the night and observed you taking some punishment. At first light we pulled anchor. We moved to be on station for you when i spotted you on the foredeck and circled EOS for over an hour as you managed to work out your anchor issue. The hobby horsing you where taking was severe. I was prepared to help you if needed. Glad you made the choice of cutting, got free and motored off with great confidence.

    It was rough and costly weekend. I was happy to have withdrawn my boat from SSS Drakes Bay this weekend in my 30 foot boat once out there. Sadly, I did manage to loose my fancy cinematography drone in the Drakes Bay anchorage after it captured fly overs of whales, seals, beach, fog over the hills and all the lovely boats arriving at anchorage. It crashed into the water refusing to land on the deck of the boat due to the moving rigging and uneven waters, just 6 inches off my outreaching hand running out of battery. I immediately jumped into the water off the boat fully clothed without a pdf had it in my hand and tossed and lost it after it bounced on and off the deck of the boat. one of the crew aboard dropped a line and pull me to the stern which was welcomed. It was hard for me to to get warm even with a change of dry clothes and a warm cabin and bag to climb into.

    As for us on Quantum - We ended up motor sailing for a short period home, a mile off drakes bay point - one of the furling jib lines worked themselves loose in the mixed seas and fouled our prop stopping the motor which was in gear. We all sailed home a little green in the gills. We ended up under main and jib making 9s a fews times to Alameda - getting a final push into the slip from the Oakland YC marker dinghy. We will have to dive the boat in the next days among the red tide in the estuary. The experienced crew of Leading Lady which we were trying to support, the 1D35 was pretty beaten from that long night. They did race well but wisely chose to keep the spin in the bag. This was a great test for both fleets - those who sailed well or even made it there - big kudos. Finally at 11am this morning and third cup of coffee - i am nearly at full strength. I hope the rest of you all feel better and bounce back as well.

    Ted Hoppe
    Pretty Penny
    Last edited by Black Jack; 08-22-2022 at 11:45 AM.
    Without friends, none of this would be possible.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    3,103

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    Here is Bob Walden's response to anchoring Saturday night:

    "Yeah, Saturday evening was delightful but post-midnight was the pits. Bet we don’t have folks sleeping on deck again for a while."

    On my way to the race, just about to Alcatraz, my engine overheated. Huh. I turned around and sailed into my slip (BUMP UP! Good girl! No harm done!). I guess I'm not sorry that I missed Drakes Bay this year. Sounds like it was more fun ashore.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
    Location
    Palo Alto
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    Ted Hoppe
    Pretty Penny
    and all on Quantum... Huge thanks for you just being there. It's one thing to be in a situation like that quite another to go through it totally alone. You guys were awesome in continuously offering all the help you could, but just being there with offers of support and encouragement was more help than you could imagine.

    You guys managed to pull of some smooth anchoring but more than that, un-anchoring. So any suggestions from you (or anyone else) would save me some money next time I do this...

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Saratoga
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    281

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    Quote Originally Posted by GBR3068 View Post
    My next newbie lesson at Drake's Bay was anchoring...

    So what should I have done diffferently? I really cant find much on anchoring solo

    1. Whats the best anchor? I dont really need an anchor review (SV Panope has a great series) but I want one that un-sets as well as sets when I'm by myself. The Manson is supposed to set well, but not that great for me in mud and sand. It does not un-set at all well. I dont read much about that aspect of anchors in reviews. I have a Fortress and Danforth as back-ups right now. I do have an anchor retrieval ring and ball but in those conditions it wasnt going to happen. Maybe I should have set a trip line. I just dont know. I have no experience,
    2. How do I pick up an anchor in 15-20 and biggish swell (apart from not getting inot that situation in the first palce until I know how to get out)
    3. What am I missing wrt anchor, brake, windlass, use and technique?
    Since I wasn't there, I probably should not comment on this; the conditions sound horrendous.

    In many ways I think you were very lucky that the only thing you broke/bent was the bow roller. It would have been too easy to lose a body part in those conditions; fingers, hands, feet, etc.
    I think your anchor is more than adequate; why so much rode out? What was your depth and free board combined?

    When my anchor won't come up, I often motor over it to try and break it out backwards. Doing that solo is tough, unless the winch has a remote.
    If you could have gotten a 2nd person aboard somehow, to help with helm and to take tension off the rode using the engine, it might have been easier?
    Friends cruising the PNW use a floating line slightly longer than the depth tied to the retrieval hole to yank their anchor up backwards should they encounter any problems.
    Instead of cutting, could you have buoyed all 300' of rode to retrieve at a later date?

    When my chain was longer than the depths I often anchor in, I used a chain hook on a short line to belay between breaths and re-grips. Line stretches, chain doesn't. Do you employ some kind of snubber to transfer the shock load off the chain and windlass?

    Hindsight being what it is, maybe pulling in the dark would have been better, before conditions got worse?

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    892

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    A quick report from PJ on CaB ... Just the facts :-)
    Friday I sailed out to Pillar Point and overnighted in the Bay.
    Saturday was a very long day. I am rusty with race starts so when I noticed that Greg/Outsider was making his crossing I realized I was late, jumped the jib, and made my way behind our Flag fleet. After a bit of sailing to get to Point Bonita, the rest was a long drawn-out agony of an underpowered CaB. I just don't have sails for light wind affairs on CaB. I tried the Code 0 and that worked until the wind went further aft. I dropped it and hoisted the A2 but the wind continued to die down and the sail started dipping in the water, the lines too, picking up water and weighing the sail down, so that was that. It was jib and mainsail for the rest of the day, which was very long indeed. I stuck with it, hoping for wind, land breeze, sea breeze, something. And we got both. First, the fog on the beach was pushed out to sea and, with light rain, we got a bit of wind to push us closer to the finish line. Then all died again, and lastly, we got a bit of westerly again. I crossed at 9:42 pm. My lights are dead, one more for the maintenance lists. I called in my time and Dennis of sv Pamela hailed. What a wonderful surprise! It felt like arriving in Hanalei again when Dennis was instrumental in getting all racers organized. We rafted, chatted, and had a cup of tea. He even prepared me a tuna melt! At about midnight, I went back into CaB for "sleep". There was so much noise inside, I could only lay down to rest. Then the party began and I was being jerked every few seconds as CaB was pulling at all the lines. I went up on deck to check things out a few times. Finally, we decided to untie as we were not comfortable with how things were going. I left like a bandito leaving in a rush not saying goodbye!
    The rest of Sunday morning was spent motoring up and drifting down Drake's Bay until I realized I could heave to with no sail, just the rudder to windward did it.
    I felt good about it being windy as CaB likes a strong breeze and, although not a great start, this time, I was not late. A day of upwind sailing began. First along the Coast to make our way to the finish line, which was well congested, and second back to Pillar Point. I think it was 11 when I got home.
    It was a long weekend. Saturday especially was very draining ... And now to fix the lights ...
    Thanks to the race committee for managing the race.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    38

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    Mike

    I agree with Intermission’s observation that you were extremely fortunate to have not been injured given the sequence of events you described. The forces developed on the bow of a 35’ boat in those wind and sea conditions demand respect and knowledge about their potential. Here are some suggestions:

    Drake’s Bay as an anchorage in a southerly is generally known as a place to be avoided. I am really surprised that the Race Committee did not mention this at the skipper’s meeting. The forecast southerly was well known beforehand and discussed on this forum prior to the start of the race. The problem with YRA and SSS scheduling races a year in advance is there is pressure from the group mind to stay with the program regardless. The SI’s and NOR’s all speak to the skipper’s individual responsibility to race, so you need to make your own call about the conditions. Don’t be influenced by other skippers who may have different equipment to handle adverse conditions or different experience levels in these situations. Pushing your personal envelope somewhat is a good thing. Blindly following the pack will always end in tears.

    The decision to weigh anchor near a lee shore is just like the decision to reef. When you first think about it, do it then. It never gets easier if you wait. What you should have done when you were first confronted with those conditions was this:

    Start your engine, idle in neutral, tie a fender on the anchor rode, let all the rode out until it’s clear of the bow roller, motor away, set sail, get off the lee shore and come back another time to pick up your gear.

    Regarding your choice of gear, unless you are planning to sail to the tropics and anchor in coral strewn lagoons, then 300’ of chain is too much. Imagine a full grown sumo wrestler sitting on your bow pulpit and you have a good approximation of the weight you are unnecessarily carrying. Even if you are planning to visit those places in the future, you should store 200’ of your chain somewhere other than your chain locker preferably somewhere low in the bilge. Attach 150’ of line to your 100’ of remaining chain. This will be good at 7:1 scope in up to 35’ of water. Way less weight in the bow; easier to retrieve and easier for the windlass to handle. Ideally, you need a capstan and gypsy for a mixed rode.

    Regarding your windlass, the HX1 is a light duty windlass definitely over matched by the conditions in Drakes Bay. It’s not designed to drag the boat up to the anchor in anything other than dead flat calm conditions. Even then you should always use the engine to advance the boat to the anchor. I like Intermission’s idea of a windlass remote switch you can access from the helm so that you can motor up to the anchor without blowing up the windlass. The problem with this approach is you are not close enough to the windlass to hear when it’s over taxed so you are much more apt to keep pushing the “Up” button at the helm. You also can't see the angle of the anchor rode in the water from the helm to see if you are motoring over the anchor and potentially about to foul your prop. Small mistakes love to cascade into full blown emergencies...

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
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    Palo Alto
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    (Me) >> Thanks Intermission. Thanks Grace. I will fill in a bit more detail for Intermission then next for Grace ! Keep advice coming, please...

    Since I wasn't there, I probably should not comment on this; the conditions sound horrendous.

    >> Please do comment. It's the only way I will learn. This Forum is better by far than any other place or resource, even the good ones.

    In many ways I think you were very lucky that the only thing you broke/bent was the bow roller. It would have been too easy to lose a body part in those conditions; fingers, hands, feet, etc.

    >> You are right and I think all newbies should know that. I had practiced a few times with the Lewmar brake. I did cut my finger on chain while practicing. I had my Petzl gloves ready if I needed to grab chain. The really dangerous part is that the windlass is not meant to and cannot take any strain really, so using it while solo is fraught with danger. The Lewmar is only rated to be able to pull 60 ft of chain vertically, for example. Its really more of a “third hand” just to pull in slack chain and you should treat it as such but what are you going to do by yourself? If you are back at the helm you can’t see what is happening so you have to use the remote on the bow (I do have a remote which works but only kind of because of the poor radio chips used). That means you are dealing with large forces rapidly moving around. Maybe I should have a windlass with a brake as part of the unit. I dont know. What would be really good is a remote for the windlass and for the engine. Next boat, maybe.


    I think your anchor is more than adequate;
    >> It has refused to budge on several occasions. Thats good and bad. The overall feeling about the Supreme has gone from great to maybe not the best. See SV Panope that to me has by far the most practical anchor study out there. But I still have not seen an anchor study intended for solo use. Setting an anchor is OK, even if it takes a while and is a nuisance, but not being able to retrieve an anchor is by far the biggest problem going solo.

    why so much rode out? What was your depth and free board combined?

    >> (All rounded to +/- 5 ft for calcs.) Depth was 15-20 ft with 5 ft tide change overnight. Freeboard to anchor is 5 ft. Water surface to zero depth is 5 ft. (15-20) + 5 + 5 = 25-30. 200 ft chain out. Did I make a mistake here?

    When my anchor won't come up, I often motor over it to try and break it out backwards. Doing that solo is tough, unless the winch has a remote.

    >> Tried that. It was impossible to keep the boat moving slowly in any direction with criss-cross square waves and the anchor anywhere near tight. I have a remote but it honestly didn’t help that much, or as much as I or anyone would have thought. The real problem is you spend 15 minutes pulling in 10 ft of chain slowly and then a big set comes through and before you can set the brake safely 20 ft goes out. That must have happened 10 times. The strongest points I have on the boat are two massive bow cleats that I got from a 50 ft Beneteau and two massive drogue mounts on 1” of G10 on the transom. It’s a Cal 2-34 so the bow area is typically regarded as weak even with 1/2" of G10 I added to the foredeck. The transom is as strong as the transom is, who knows how strong. That leaves my transom drogue mounts as the best possible point to try and tractor the anchor out. I thought all this out but it was just too hard to do in practice in heavy sea. What do you think would be best? I really don’t know.


    If you could have gotten a 2nd person aboard somehow, to help with helm and to take tension off the rode using the engine, it might have been easier?

    >> Quantum and I discussed that several times. They offered to come on board right away and I was a bit nervous about that and said let me try myself first. The second time they offered we prepared to join but Quantum skipper quite rightly called it off as too dangerous. I was glad he did. Those guys were great and just being there actually helped me stay calm and think.

    Friends cruising the PNW use a floating line slightly longer than the depth tied to the retrieval hole to yank their anchor up backwards should they encounter any problems.
    Instead of cutting, could you have buoyed all 300' of rode to retrieve at a later date?

    >> Quantum suggested marking the anchor but it was just too rough and too much to do in the conditions. Once I was free for safety reasons, mine and Quantum, I just needed to get out of there. Lee shore was way too close in these conditions. At 15 ft depth, I reckon I had maybe 1000 ft or less worth of faffing about before I was in danger of going aground. I could have prepared everything at 3am. I could have set a trip line. I could have had everything ready to mark a cut-off anchor. Pumped up the red ball, got the anchor ring ready, set the nylon line to the right length on the pulley so the ball doesn’t trip the anchor when the tide changes, but I didn’t. I would really appreciate advice on the use of a trip line ahead of time. With what little I know that sounds like the best solution I know about so far.

    When my chain was longer than the depths I often anchor in, I used a chain hook on a short line to belay between breaths and re-grips.

    >> I use a Mantus chain hook. The one that looks like a claw with the stretchy rubber thing that looks hokey but works very well. I put a 3/8" screw gate quick link triangle on that for the snubbers to avoid cross loading.

    Line stretches, chain doesn't.

    >> Yes, you are right. When close to the end of the chain, at about 50 ft of chain out, when I was ready to go from chain to snubber and try and work the anchor loose, a big set came in and the boat behaved like it was attached to a brick wall and the bow roller buckled.

    Do you employ some kind of snubber to transfer the shock load off the chain and windlass?

    >> I attach two 30 ft 5/8" double-braid lines to the triangle quick link as snubbers. Both on the biggest bow cleats I could find. I have some dynamic dry climbing rope but not sure what difference that would make. I tend to think too much and then when I get to reality realize that things are way simpler and much worse than theory. When I go to the winch on the cabin top I take one of those snubber lines. The other thing you can do (but I never got to in this case) is wrap one of the snubbers around the strongest point on the boat (wrap because you'd better be able to release quickly) and let the waves "gently" pull the anchor. Works great in theory, works great in small waves. Works great practicing off Brisbane Marina. I doubt it would have worked at all in these conditions. I never got that far, the waves were big enough to grab all the slack I had and shock load the roller. The shock loads were enough that no point in my line of ground tackle would take those loads so you have to use line whenever possible: the windlass just rattled the chain out, the brake was hardly able to stop the chain and let many feet out before catching safely, the bow roller is pretty beefy (I will post a picture) but the 3/16 SS twisted like paper.

    >> Ideally you would be on nylon all the time but trying to reel the chain and anchor in, take slack on the windlass, reattach the snubbers and repeat was just too hard in these conditions. One major problem was that I could realistically only winch in 1 foot at a time with any wave bounce and between the steps of transferring load back to the brake, re-positioning the claw and so on, it just doesn’t work. Maybe with two winches and two claws... but there has to be a better way? (doesn't there?). There is only 1 foot or so of space between brake and the roller. The brake and windlass are next to each other. That means that safely (otherwise the chain claw, brake, and windlass all start to get tangled) you can only reel in 1 foot at a time. On a flat day I can winch in the nylon past the windlass and run the chain up the deck and reel in maybe 10 ft at a time, but no way in conditions like these were. I find I run into this stuff all the time: I read everything I can on the Internet, I try stuff in calm conditions and everything works great just like they say (most but not all of the time), then reality hits and you can do about 1/10th of what people tell you.

    Hindsight being what it is, maybe pulling in the dark would have been better, before conditions got worse?

    >> Yeah, you are right. I really thought long and hard about doing just that between midnight and 4am. To be honest (1) I shouldn’t have gone out in the first place, but I wanted to learn.
    I have found that doing is the only way to learn, or (2) I should have turned around at DB and gone home for the night, or (3) I am quite happy sailing at night, I should just have stayed out all night. I had everything with me that it takes to do that.

    >> Keep it coming. This is exactly why I joined SSS. Thanks so much.
    Last edited by GBR3068; 08-22-2022 at 02:52 PM.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
    Location
    Palo Alto
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    58

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    (Me) >> Hi Kalia. Thanks for the great comments!

    I agree with Intermission’s observation that you were extremely fortunate to have not been injured given the sequence of events you described. The forces developed on the bow of a 35’ boat in those wind and sea conditions demand respect and knowledge about their potential.

    >> You are right. It felt dangerous. I know what it takes to bend 3/16 steel.

    Here are some suggestions:

    Drake’s Bay as an anchorage in a southerly is generally known as a place to be avoided. I am really surprised that the Race Committee did not mention this at the skipper’s meeting. The forecast southerly was well known beforehand and discussed on this forum prior to the start of the race. The problem with YRA and SSS scheduling races a year in advance is there is pressure from the group mind to stay with the program regardless. The SI’s and NOR’s all speak to the skipper’s individual responsibility to race, so you need to make your own call about the conditions. Don’t be influenced by other skippers who may have different equipment to handle adverse conditions or different experience levels in these situations. Pushing your personal envelope somewhat is a good thing. Blindly following the pack will always end in tears.

    >> It was my decision. I own it. But yes, I did feel a bit sad when I saw the bow roller. I have just been through two trips to the yard. That’s when the tears start.

    The decision to weigh anchor near a lee shore is just like the decision to reef. When you first think about it, do it then. It never gets easier if you wait. What you should have done when you were first confronted with those conditions was this:

    Start your engine, idle in neutral, tie a fender on the anchor rode, let all the rode out until it’s clear of the bow roller, motor away, set sail, get off the lee shore and come back another time to pick up your gear.

    >> Best suggestion yet. I think it is cheaper actually to just buoy the gear and post on Craigslist “$500 anchor and $1000 of high test chain at GPS coordinates X Y, email me for receipts”. I will find out how much cheaper soon and next time will know better. It wasn’t so much the money as I thought “I should be able to do this”. That was my mistake.

    Regarding your choice of gear, unless you are planning to sail to the tropics and anchor in coral strewn lagoons, then 300’ of chain is too much. Imagine a full grown sumo wrestler sitting on your bow pulpit and you have a good approximation of the weight you are unnecessarily carrying.

    >> I wondered about that. Not good for hydro. Not good for mechanical. I don’t have a chain locker floor either. The chain also volcanoes in the locker. It is convenient though. The HX1 does like 5/16 chain and it does make it easy to anchor in nice, calm, flat waters and reel it back in again. Works great with two people, one at the helm motoring slowly forward and one at the bow taking in the chain with the remote giving directions. Not so great by myself. But what do I use instead? See below.

    Even if you are planning to visit those places in the future, you should store 200’ of your chain somewhere other than your chain locker preferably somewhere low in the bilge. Attach 150’ of line to your 100’ of remaining chain. This will be good at 7:1 scope in up to 35’ of water. Way less weight in the bow; easier to retrieve and easier for the windlass to handle. Ideally, you need a capstan and gypsy for a mixed rode.

    >> Good advice and I thought about that. I looked at and bought and tested every conceivable chain joiner: the Crosby’s, the links, the more obscure Hammerlock coupling links, the transport chain links. None are easy to use (where are you going to pound a Crosby link together) and none work with the HX1 in practice. So the 200’ is spare chain and nothing else if you want to use the Lewmar windlass. The Lewmar is supposed to work with chain/rope but I couldn’t get it to grab rope. Lewmar advises using their own pre-made rodes, but that didn’t work either. I have the version with capstan and gypsy but not sure how much use that is since you can’t easily get the rode in and out of the gypsy. If I used a chain/rope rode, I’d have no brake on the rope which I do find useful when solo. The Lewmar was not cheap but honestly it is little more than a “third hand”. What other choices should I look at? I doubt anything can reel in a boat at under say 100A, right?

    Regarding your windlass, the HX1 is a light duty windlass definitely over matched by the conditions in Drakes Bay. It’s not designed to drag the boat up to the anchor in anything other than dead flat calm conditions.

    >> Yes. Actually Lewmar specifically tells you not to do that even though I do. What works best for me is let the boat sail itself back and forward and I take up the slack as she goes. Boat likes to sail because I have a furling boom that requires a wide sail track. Between that and the over-sized mast I basically have a permanent vertical sail. But that only works in lake-like conditions.

    Even then you should always use the engine to advance the boat to the anchor.

    >> Sigh. I wish I could do that. Its either un-anchor with the engine from the helm where you can’t see anything going on or from the bow with no engine. I do have a windlass control switch at the helm but it doesn’t do me much good. I have thought about mounting a wireless camera on the pulpit, maybe I should try that. Or you work at the bow where you can see almost everything (except the anchor) and use the windlass remote from there (and the remote kinda sorta works from there). Then you can’t use the engine effectively. There’s no way to run up and down the boat in these conditions.

    I like Intermission’s idea of a windlass remote switch you can access from the helm so that you can motor up to the anchor without blowing up the windlass. The problem with this approach is you are not close enough to the windlass to hear when it’s over taxed so you are much more apt to keep pushing the “Up” button at the helm.

    >> I do have a switch for the windlass at the helm. Lewmar standard. Doesn’t and didn’t help me much in these conditions. The Lewmar windlass tells you in no uncertain terms when it’s not happy, that much you can hear from the helm. In fact you can tell quite a lot from the helm even though you can’t see anything. I have a chain counter (which doesn't work with rope/chain) but don’t really need it. I have colored markers on the chain but can’t see them from the helm. I thought of using spinnaker cloth strips but found I can quite accurately gauge things by listening even with the engine on. I know exactly how many feet per second the windlass pays out and pays in and its consistent. I know exactly when the motor stalls (and always before tripping the 70A breaker). The only problem is when the clutch kicks out and chain rattles out, then I don’t know how much I lost.

    You also can't see the angle of the anchor rode in the water from the helm to see if you are motoring over the anchor and potentially about to foul your prop. Small mistakes love to cascade into full blown emergencies...

    >> So very true on all counts there.

    >> Thanks! You gave me a lot to think about. Please add anything else you can think of.
    Last edited by GBR3068; 08-22-2022 at 07:18 PM.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Here's my setup. Lofrans Royal manual windlass; 100' of 5/16s HT chain; 100' of 1/2 three strand line. The chain goes around the windlass 270 degrees so it will accept a 5/16s shackle connecting two lengths of chain without complaining. On chain alone I am OK to about 20 feet at 4:1 including height of the bow roller. The chain is secured down below by a line which can be removed once it comes on deck if I want to connect the chain and line. This combination will get me to about 30' of depth at 7:1 scope.

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