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Old 04-06-2018, 06:22 AM   #1
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Anchor windlass, powered deploy

Educate me a little, I'm trying to understand the benefit to having a windless that is powered to deploy the anchor. Even when my windlass is freewheeling properly (not right now) we have to give the anchor an initial nudge by hand to get it going and when I want it to go out I want it to go out quickly. What is the benefit to being able to control it by power? Maybe more beneficial with a different setup or larger boat?
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Old 04-06-2018, 06:30 AM   #2
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definitely not a necessity, but for me sigle handling, I hang tbe anchor just off the water as I approach an anchorage as mine doesnt self deploy smoothly either.

Most would still have to go to the bow anyway to unsecure whatever restraint device you use.

then when I have selected my spot, I can power over to it, stay at the helm and have a better idea of exactly where the anchor hit bottom, both visually and electronically.

if freefalling, and standing at the bow, often the wind and current will carry me a bit further than expected ...but even that can be overcome to a degree if you really want to and move fast.... .... but freefalling deploys faster and that helps too.

in reality, preference may play a greater role than actual need to.
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Old 04-06-2018, 06:36 AM   #3
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Free falling chain would be kind of wild. Rope less so. My windlass is power down/up all chain but I've manually free dropped (and hauled ) rope rode in up to 300 ft no problem.
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Old 04-06-2018, 06:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstbase View Post
Educate me a little, I'm trying to understand the benefit to having a windless that is powered to deploy the anchor. Even when my windlass is freewheeling properly (not right now) we have to give the anchor an initial nudge by hand to get it going and when I want it to go out I want it to go out quickly. What is the benefit to being able to control it by power? Maybe more beneficial with a different setup or larger boat?
Good question. To me, it is about control. There are many proponents of freewheeling deployment. There are times when I have done that when rapid deployment seemed to be required. I prefer to loosen the brake to allow a more rapid (still controlled) deployment. The reasons I prefer a more controlled drop include:
1. Easier control on the exact length of rode being deployed (I tyically run past my intended length before able to tighten the brake).
2. I like to slowly back off the initial set position while deploying the rode so not to have it pile up either on the anchor or in a pile just off the anchor.
3. I prefer an initial short set or quick set at about 3:1 before deploying the longer length of anchor rode to set completely. As a result, I want more control of the length being deployed. (Please, this last statement was not intended to start a “how best to set an anchor thread.” I am only sharing what I prefer to do.)

I am sure others have excellent supporting comments on both techniques and I would enjoy the reading.
Steve
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Old 04-06-2018, 07:11 AM   #5
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definitely not a necessity, but for me sigle handling, I hang tbe anchor just off the water as I approach an anchorage as mine doesnt self deploy smoothly either.

Most would still have to go to the bow anyway to unsecure whatever restraint device you use.

then when I have selected my spot, I can power over to it, stay at the helm and have a better idea of exactly where the anchor hit bottom, both visually and electronically.

if freefalling, and standing at the bow, often the wind and current will carry me a bit further than expected ...but even that can be overcome to a degree if you really want to and move fast.... .... but freefalling deploys faster and that helps too.

in reality, preference may play a greater role than actual need to.

That's exactly what we do when we anchor ...... IMO the downside of " free fall " esp. in shallow anchorage, there is the risk of piling the chain and possibly fouling the anchor ..... just sayn' ...... fb
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Old 04-06-2018, 07:33 AM   #6
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I power down. I prefer having the control. My anchor sits in the bow pulpit such that it always starts dropping as soon as chain is powered out. Do have to go forward and release the safety before deploying. I prefer to be at the helm to control the boat just before I start the deployment.

Speed of deployment varies a great deal by windlass manufacturer. Ideal windlasses are fast! I'll need to time it, but I'm guessing 50' in 15 or 20 seconds.

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Old 04-06-2018, 07:56 AM   #7
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Thanks guys. I sort of worded it incorrectly I guess. We don't just let it rip but do control it with the clutch and don't just let it go as fast as it can go. Wife is the anchor person and unties the restraint, controls things up front while I drive. At least she was until I started having the no freewheeling issue. She's not strong enough to get on top of it and manually pull enough out to get to 3:1 or so for it to grab. So....I'm running back and forth. Not much fun in a close anchorage. I have a remote control with up and down buttons at the helm. Would be nice to have some control over it. Don't know if the down can be added on or takes a new windlass but that is being covered in another thread.
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Old 04-06-2018, 08:59 AM   #8
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Power down keeps your hands away from the fast moving chain.
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:37 AM   #9
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Power down keeps your hands away from the fast moving chain.
What he said! Only in my case it is my spouses hands.....
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Old 04-06-2018, 11:10 AM   #10
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I release the safety then do it all from the helm. I have a self-deploying anchor roller and a fishfinder so when I power it down, I can watch the anchor settle to the bottom on the fishfinder screen. Then I can back down slowly as the rode continues to deploy. Once set, it's just a matter of attaching the snubber.

If I'm fishing in benign conditions for an hour or two, I might not even attach the snubber.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:41 AM   #11
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Power down, usually from FB. anchor is readied before final approach. We seldom anchor in more than 25'.
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:17 AM   #12
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I always power down so I can make sure the chain won’t foul the anchor and I can lay out the chain from the anchor. Not sure how much faster a free falling anchor will touch bottom over powering down in the depths I usually anchor in usually 25 feet or less.
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Old 04-07-2018, 12:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by firstbase View Post
Thanks guys. I sort of worded it incorrectly I guess. We don't just let it rip but do control it with the clutch and don't just let it go as fast as it can go. Wife is the anchor person and unties the restraint, controls things up front while I drive. At least she was until I started having the no freewheeling issue. She's not strong enough to get on top of it and manually pull enough out to get to 3:1 or so for it to grab. So....I'm running back and forth. Not much fun in a close anchorage. I have a remote control with up and down buttons at the helm. Would be nice to have some control over it. Don't know if the down can be added on or takes a new windlass but that is being covered in another thread.

Up until very recently I always powered down. Based on previous threads I have have started to do what you do, use the clutch to do a controlled drop of the anchor. I like the option to either power down or freefall. As others have mentioned there are a variety of reasons for using the windlass to power the anchor down.

BTW, I would strongly recommend that instead of running back and forth, just have your wife control the boat while you handle the anchor. It is a skill that she probably should have and it probably isn’t a bad idea for you to be able to let go of that control at times. :-)

I will typically have my wife at the helm and I go forward to deal with the anchor. She can do either, but I like her to to have as much helm time as possible.
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Old 04-07-2018, 01:14 PM   #14
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Yes, agreed. She has gone from totally intimidated to just intimidated. Am working on her to take more time. Actually I don't have a problem with her taking the helm when we are just keeping it in the fairway.. it's when some sort of maneuver is required she is outta there. Biggest issue is that we always seem to have friends and family aboard. Once we can get out on our own a little more I will be able to get her to practice and learn much as I did. And am!
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