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Old 02-22-2015, 08:42 PM   #21
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I learned the hard way to always turn the breaker off after deploying the anchor. I am sure I have told this story as to how I learned, but here it goes again.

I had anchored in a cove in SW Florida and went to bed. My windlass has a manual switch dongle instead of foot switches. I had forgotten and left the handheld unit on deck instead of putting it in the anchor locker.

Late that night it started to rain. I was sleeping soundly, probably enjoying the patter of rain when a terrible clatter started up on deck. It lasted for 5-10 seconds and stopped. I rushed out on deck to see what had happened. The rain had soaked the switch, shorted the terminals and started the windlass up. It came up 10' or so until the snubber chain hook jammed the windlass and tripped the breaker.

It was quite a while before I got back to sleep.

I always turn off the breaker now.


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Old 02-22-2015, 09:22 PM   #22
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Have wondered about leaving breakers on or off for all circuits not being used. I concluded that I leave my house and never shut off breakers. Aren't the breakers designed to trip if something goes wrong? Accidents happen with breakers off as well as on.


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Westport, CT and Stuart, FL
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:24 PM   #23
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I turn off the power to the deck switches They are on their own separately fused and powered circuit.
Yes, it is possible that the main heavy power relays could goof up but the C.B. for that is in the engine compartment and although not hard to get at is not EASILY accessible without lifting hatches and dropping in.

In most cases if you disarm the control power that will prevent accidental or malicious operation.

I do also have a cover for the deck switches in addition to their own flip tops adn that cover is put in place.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by N4712 View Post

Our foot buttons have guards that's flip off when need be so they can't be accidentally pushed.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:50 AM   #25
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I read an article somewhere about a fellow that left his anchored trawler to go for a hike, and returned to see his boat aground with the anchor stowed. Apparently some old wiring decided to short out and haul in the anchor. I'll see if I can find that article.....

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Old 02-23-2015, 09:05 AM   #26
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25 years and while anchored power is left on to operate in a hurry if needed, while docked its shut off.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:07 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Capt Kangeroo View Post
I never used to turn mine off but one nice sunny morning I went to the bow to enjoy the sunrise. As I stood there solving the worlds problems, a coffee in one hand and my other hand resting on the capstan, I shifted position and accidentally stepped on the deck mounted foot switch for "raising" the anchor. In the blink of an eye the next moment I was standing there dumbfounded, still with coffee in one hand and most of my other hand embedded deep into the winch/chain mechanism. I think I stood there in disbelief for a few seconds before my brain finally caught up to the events or it may have been the copious amounts of blood spurting out from behind the chain guide that signaled me to action

Having somewhat regained my faculties, I weighed my options and decided to step on the other switch to see if reversing the capstan would allow me to extricate what remained of my hand. I steeled myself, took a sip of coffee (now wishing it was a stiff shot of rum) and stepped on the 'down" switch. Aside from the sickening crunching noise of bones in metal, much to my delight and amazement my hand came right back out as quickly as it went in.

Pleased to be free, I headed toward the aft deck to inspect the damage and was surprised to note that a small stream of blood had already made it's way down the deck and stairs and was dripping out the scupper by the salon door. I recall thinking it would be interesting to see if it attracted any sharks then "more importantly" wondered how the hell I was ever going to get blood stains out of the no- skid.

All in all I got off lucky, several broken fingers and some really nasty gashes. I'll spare everyone my rant on travel insurance and major health care expenses in a foreign country.

The rather long winded "moral" of this story is "NEVER" leave the power on to your capstan or winch when not in use.
There but for the grace of god go I.

Thankfully the damage wasn't worse.

And as for travel insurance...

I too have been surprised a few times when the winch was left on and someone stepped on the foot switch inadvertently.

I always turn it off and after reading this, I will double check that it's off.

To answer Marty's concern, if a good samaritan wants to help, with no power to the windlass, all they have to do is take the chain out of the wildcat and then it will pull itself out of the chain locker (after they undo the snubber and chain lock of course)
M/Y Dauntless, New York
a Kadey Krogen 42 Currently in Western Europe
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:34 AM   #28
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My boats windlass is switched, thru a breaker which feeds the three up down locations and also to energize a solenoid which feeds main power to windlass. Solenoid consumes a little power, 1/8 amp. I am in the habit of keeping it off unless we are raising or lowering anchor. For me in the interest of safety, that is what I choose.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:17 AM   #29
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We have grandkids visit us from time to time. They are of the generation that a button is there to be pushed. knob turned and toggle switched. No way would our deck switch covers suffice to prevent an untold windlass event from occurring.

I heard a good one the other day from a TF member. An onboard but less than sober female guest insisted on steering the boat. The skipper put the boat on AP and told her to steer away, she did and was thrilled with her perfect course keeping.
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:46 PM   #30
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Like N4712, I have covered foot switches. You need to really want to operate the windlass to get the covers up.
The breaker has been turned off once, that I can recall, in 21 years of owning this boat. That was to replace one of the foot switches. I can't think of any other reason to turn it off.

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