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Old 08-13-2016, 09:36 PM   #1
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Fingers in the winch

Sometimes life just bites you on the bum.

The other day I was doing a walk around on the boat, and decided to have a look at my winch, more specifically I thought as the winch hadn't been used for a month or so, I would remove the chain from the capstan and run the winch to keep the gears oiled.

Like a lot of boats mine has an electric foot switch as well as the wheelhouse remote. I flipped up the plastic cap on the foot switch and lent over to lift the chain off the capstan, unfortunately at the same time I trod on the switch.The result was three fingers holding the chain were drawn down between the chain and the teeth of the capstan. The anchor was now tight up against the pulpit with me well and truly skewered, blood dripping down over my newly painted Lofran.

After some yelling and general use of a few well known anglo saxon descriptive words my partner finally figured out which switch on the flybridge lowered the anchor.

Apart from losing a few finger nails etc, there appears to be no permanent damage, I was lucky.

So what have I learnt, apart from ensuring body parts and big metal things not coming in contact with each other. The main thing I have realised is that your partner must be capable of operating the boat , if for any reason you are not, and in this situation it will probably be highly stressful for all concerned, so your partner must understand this and know what to do under pressure.

Time for this old dog to learn new tricks..
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:22 PM   #2
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Ouch! I feel your pain, Andy.

Actually - I did feel it a few weeks ago. My anchor shackle sometimes gets caught up, and I was holding the chain to the side while sucking up the last couple inches. The chain sucked up faster than I expected and included my fingers. I learned what a silly mistake that was, luckily just with a bit of bruising.

Its no use getting older if we are not getting wiser.
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:57 PM   #3
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Ouch!!
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:11 PM   #4
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Ouch!!
Ouch X 2! Be careful!!

Few years ago, due to anchor use, I broke forward knuckle on right hand ring finger... She became a thick knuckle, still flexible though.

Moral to the story... Anchor paraphernalia can BITE!
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:09 AM   #5
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Good thing you weren't nude!
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:22 AM   #6
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Sorry Andy. I am. Dry glad it wasn't more serious.
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:09 AM   #7
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O U C H
I boat alone and after reading this I will be fitting a UP and Down switches near the winch seems logical ?
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:11 AM   #8
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It was the foot switch near the winch that was the root of the problem.
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:12 AM   #9
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Ouch baby, very ouch! Sort of like the guy who reaches around to see if his drill bit is about to break thru,,, when it does.
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:26 AM   #10
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Good thing you weren't nude!
It doesn't bear thinking about, having other dangly bits in close proximity to the winch.
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:31 AM   #11
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Ouch indeed! If the winch was in a factory it would be guarded under the Factories Shops & Industries Act. It`s only properly guarded if it can`t be used.
A speedy recovery Andy.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:16 AM   #12
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That was winch, not wench.....right.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:30 AM   #13
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Does a windlass in standard mounting have a switch to cut off the foot switches?
Just wondering and hoping to avoid something like this once we buy.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:30 AM   #14
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You can rig it many different ways electrically....

The simplest way to avoid inadvertent actuation and chain issues, is lift the chain out of the gypsy till you plan on deploying or recovering.
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Old 08-14-2016, 11:27 AM   #15
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You can rig it many different ways electrically....

The simplest way to avoid inadvertent actuation and chain issues, is lift the chain out of the gypsy till you plan on deploying or recovering.

Not sure I understand. Assuming you have a chain lock or snubber, you leave the chain off the gypsy until you want to either deploy or raise the anchor? I have never thought of doing that.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:15 PM   #16
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Just don't touch it! I used to have a conventional windlass with a chain gypsy and I can't think of a reason to mess with it by hand. Some, like on some Mainships, are covered up so you can't get at it. If you do have to mess with it, go to the wheelhouse and pull the breaker, put a hitch on the chain with a mooring line or similar to support the chain, then do whatever you have to do.

We rescued a woman who had wound her hand in the gypsy and couldn't reach the switch. Fortunately we were strong enough that we could lift the chain and eased it off her hand. She got a ride in an helicopter.

Almost as dangerous as a spinning prop shaft...that's another story.
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:16 PM   #17
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Not sure I understand. Assuming you have a chain lock or snubber, you leave the chain off the gypsy until you want to either deploy or raise the anchor? I have never thought of doing that.
Yep...most people I know secure the anchor well beyond just the gypsy holding it.

Just lay the loop of chain that goes over the gypsy underneath it. Takes a second to throw it on once up there and ready to go. That way any inadvertent actuation of the windlass don't hurt anyone, doesn't damage the windlass or other things by pulling the chain tight against restaints.

I do it a lot when working in and around there or playing with the free fall tension...but usually leave it on all the time. There are a few other safeguards on my boat so I don't find it necessary...but could see others doing it for various reasons.
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:22 PM   #18
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I always wondered how it got it's name, Wildcat, now I understand.
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:35 PM   #19
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My wife and I were EMT's for 20 years. We give a talk on emergency medicine for coastal cruising boaters and have been doing it for 5+ years.

One of our scenarios is the typical husband pulling up the anchor. The wife hears him yell out and runs to the bow to see 3 fingers rolling down the deck. He's grabbing his hand with blood everywhere yelling for help, bandages, etc.

You're the wife. It's a serious emergency with more blood on the deck than you've ever seen in your life. What's the first thing you do to help?
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:39 PM   #20
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my wife and i were emt's for 20 years. We give a talk on emergency medicine for coastal cruising boaters and have been doing it for 5+ years.

One of our scenarios is the typical husband pulling up the anchor. The wife hears him yell out and runs to the bow to see 3 fingers rolling down the deck. He's grabbing his hand with blood everywhere yelling for help, bandages, etc.

You're the wife. It's a serious emergency with more blood on the deck than you've ever seen in your life. What's the first thing you do to help?
Run!!
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