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Old 02-01-2011, 12:37 PM   #1
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Anchor Swivel

My Maxwell Freedom vertical windlass specifies 5/16 G4 Chain and 5/8" rope which I have purchased new along with a delta anchor. 50 ft chain and 150 ft rope. The windlass instructions say:*Use a swivel between the anchor and the chain to prevent the line from twisting as the*anchor is raised or lowered.

Not having much experience with the boat and no experience with the windlass other than it not working due to worn out chain wheels which I'm replacing, do you guys find that a swivel is necessary. I've read past posts on this subject and many of you don't recommend swivel's because you consider them a weak point in the anchoring systems. Have you found it easy to just untwist the rode as it is retrieved thereby negating the need for a swivel?


A good swivel can cost more than the anchor, which I am not willing to pay, but I would rather do without if I can than have one break.


My past anchoring experience was on my sailboat where I was the windlass and had no problem twisting. Retrieving the anchor was another story however.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:16 PM   #2
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RE: Anchor Swivel

This is another of those discussion that will last for weeks so I suppose I will start things off. We have cruised for 20 years all over the US coast and Caribbean, covering tens of thousands of miles and we have anchored thousands of times in every possible bottom condition. And this includes 15 named storms. We have used all chain rode, 3/8 BBB and a CQR anchor. We have never used a swivel and never will. We have been present on two occasions where a swivel failed on a cruising boat at the worst possible time and luckily for the boat and crew, it was not lost. In my opinion, it is simply adding an unnecessary weak link into your anchoring system that will serve little purpose and can possibly fail and separate you from your anchor. Now, I am sure others have a different opinion. Chuck
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:20 PM   #3
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RE: Anchor Swivel

Quote:
timjet wrote:Have you found it easy to just untwist the rode as it is retrieved thereby negating the need for a swivel?
No, because we have NEVER had our all-chain rode end up with a twist or kink in it that did not undo itself long before it reached the surface, if there even was a twist or kink in it.* And with our large tide range and the constantly changing currents, boats often rotate around their set anchors many times in the course of a day or night.* But even with this, we have never had any problems with our rode at all.*

The photos below illustrate a typical tide range here and were taken at a small island in the San Juans on which we have property.* You can imagine with a range like this what the currents can be like coming and going, and how much one's boat will move around at anchor.* You hit every direction on the compass, usually multiple times.

We used to use a swivel but got rid of if as I read more about anchoring.* The experienced boaters we know personally who do a lot of anchoring have no swivel in their rode regardless of the type of anchor they use, so we used that as a guide too.

Our anchor will sometimes reach the bow roller out of alignment with the pulpit but I've found that simply reaching down and giving the chain a twist in the pulpit channel as I let some back out corrects that immediately.* I've never had to reach out with a boathook or crawl out on the pulpit to re-align the anchor.* That's on our boat.* Other boats with different bow or pulpit configurations may require more effort to re-align the anchor.

If for some reason I felt I had to use a swivel the only one I would consider today is the WASI Powerball.* But they are hellaciously expensive.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:31 PM   #4
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RE: Anchor Swivel

Thanks Guys. I think I'm going to give it a try without the swivel and see how it goes. I do remember the couple of times I did get the windlass to work, the rode had a lot of twist to it and I had difficulty retrieving it, but the windlass was not working properly due to the worn out chain wheels.

Marin, I would think that ladder swivel in your pictures get's quite a workout.

Chuck, I would not think of adding complexity in the form of a swivel if I had not had trouble with the line twisting. Like I said though, I'm going to give it a try without one and see how it goes.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:41 PM   #5
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Anchor Swivel

One thing to bear in mind is that we may anchor in deeper waters than you do. We consider 30 feet pretty shallow but it's what we aim for if we can. But at a 5:1 scope, that's 150' of chain out. And much deeper anchorages than this are common here. So we've got a lot of chain down there as we move around our anchors.

If someone anchors in much shallower waters they will probably have a lot less chain out and so their boat's moving around may impart more kinking and twisting simply because there is less chain out to absorb it. So I can see how using all-chain rode in one area could result in twisting problems while using all-chain somewhere else won't. So a swivel may, indeed, be the best solution in some cases. Just make sure it's a strong one and oriented correctly between the anchor and the chain. If it's backwards you can be setting up a real potential for failure.

The dock ramps around here pivot on big pins or rods. I suppose they could wear out eventually but they all seem plenty heavy enough to me to deal with the constant movement up or down.* It's not so nice if they start to squeak, though


-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 1st of February 2011 02:42:58 PM
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:42 PM   #6
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RE: Anchor Swivel

Good point Marina. I generally anchor in less than 10 ft of water. The good of this is that we don't have to carry gobs and gobs of chain. The down side is that we have lots of channels we have to use.

Which brings up another point. When you pass another boat in a channel that doesn't respond to a VHF hail, do you speed up or what. I believe my boat puts out a bigger wake at 10 kts than on plane.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:24 PM   #7
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RE: Anchor Swivel

Timjet, I'm using a swivel from Suncor that is a whole lot stronger than the 1/2" G4 chain its attached to.* It was remarkably cheap, or at least I thought so.* The anchor is too heavy for me to shake the chain and have anything other than herniated discs be the result, so I really like having the swivel as I can easily turn the anchor with a boat hook.* The Suncor has a bronze bearing to smooth the action.

http://www.suncorstainless.com/anchor/S0190-00.jpg

Regarding passing etiquette, I am usually the slow boat, and from my perspective, as long as they don't moon me when they go by, I'm fine with whatever speed they're at.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:01 PM   #8
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Anchor Swivel

Quote:
timjet wrote:

Which brings up another point. When you pass another boat in a channel that doesn't respond to a VHF hail, do you speed up or what. I believe my boat puts out a bigger wake at 10 kts than on plane.
While we are just one boat, in the twelve-plus years we have been running our GB in these waters I have never--- and I mean never-- heard another boat hail any other boat with regards to passing in what we consider narrow channels up here.* We just pass.* Go-fast boats on a semi-plane putting out a tsunami of a wake don't, as a matter of course, slow down.* They just go by.* People with slower boats like ours soon*learn to turn into or away from the wake and pitch around a bit as we go through it or it goes under us.* It's not a big deal, you just have to be aware of it.

The only times we ever hear any official radio calls regarding traffic is from the BC ferries as they enter Active Pass in the Gulf Islands.**Active Pass has two doglegs in it, or is a big S-turn however you view it,*it's fairly narrow, and it can have some impressive*currents and eddies in it.* So the ferries*call a Securite and ask any boats that think they might have a conflict to bring it up on the radio.*

But that's it with regards to recreational boat passing, overtaking, or crossing.* Commercial vessels will talk about passing or crossing on VTS, but that's got nothing to do with recreational traffic although you can monitor it if you like.* And some of us use VTS if we're going to be crossing a shipping channel in low visibility.

On busy boating days, particularly during a fishing season, you'll hear lot of "Slow down you a*shole" calls from people, mostly fishermen trolling or mooching, directed at powerboaters who blast past them on a semi-plane.

But I don't recall ever hearing a radio call or horn signal up here in any passing, overtaking, or crossing situation.* You just follow the Colregs (and hope the other person does too) and pass, overtake, or cross.* It's polite to wave at the other skipper as he goes by, though.

Photo of Active Pass is lifted from the web.


-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 1st of February 2011 08:18:30 PM
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:25 PM   #9
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RE: Anchor Swivel

I have often had to radio sailboats to offer a slow pass, sometimes they answer I tell them the plan we both slow down him much more than I so I don't wake them. Often they don't reply to the radio call, I believe sailboaters usually have their main VHF down in the cabin while they are up in the cockpit maybe with a hand held which is usually off, to conserve batteries? When they don't answer I just proceed and pass trying to wake them as little as possible but can't really feel bad about it.
I always radio tows before passing, there are plenty of them around here, the almost always answer maybe 1 in 50 won't reply
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