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A windlass near accident that happened to another sailor

WayneH

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Jan 22, 2008
850
Tartan 37 Pensacola Shipyard, FL
Friends of mine had a very nice boat. Well maintained and a real beaut. Not giving the brand because I think it's irrelevant and I don't know the brand of the windlass.

Anyway, they dropped anchor and set it and then got into their dinghy to visit friends downwind of their boat. After a short visit, they were heading upwind in the dinghy to go to store for dinner and maybe a few drinks. As they were passing the bow of their boat, the wife noticed the anchor was out of the water and heading for the bow roller. They boarded their boat and were able to get the anchor back down and set but had to turn off the windlass breaker to keep the windlass from bringing the anchor back on board.

I can't recall the cause of the failure but my friend always turns off the windlass breaker now after setting the anchor. Seems like a good idea to pass along.

Me? I still haul my anchor by hand but I have a tagline with a hook that reaches the spinnaker winch at the mast if it proves difficult to hoist.
 
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Likes: Leeward Rail
Sep 25, 2008
6,185
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
Had some friends aboard once who brought their dog (a different story). The dog wandered to the bow and stood on the ‘UP’ switch which was still energized. I don’t allow dogs onboard anymore.

To the point, denergizing the winch if a blow comes up pushing another boat to blow down on me, I may not have time to go below to switch a breaker back on before getting smacked. “Your boat; your choice”
 
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Dr. D

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Nov 3, 2018
193
Beneteau Oceanis 35.1 Herrington Harbour North
Question: On my boat the windlass is only energized when the motor is running. Is that not standard?

OK, this is the first boat I've owned that had a motorized windlass.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,864
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
I would also hint that securing the rode to the windlass only (which sounds like the case) is also iffy. They've been known to run out also.

The switches are known to fail, and they can fail "on." Not the first time I've heard this one, nor the second.
 

Tom J

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Sep 30, 2008
1,941
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Question: On my boat the windlass is only energized when the motor is running. Is that not standard?

OK, this is the first boat I've owned that had a motorized windlass.
Is it hydraulic?
 

Tom J

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Sep 30, 2008
1,941
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Our Beneteau has the same cutout. Not hydraulic, just a 12V windlass. The engine doesn’t actually need to be running, so if there’s an engine problem you can still use it. But the “ignition” must be on.
This makes sense if the windlass runs off the house bank, and the idea is to not drain the batteries too much.
 

capta

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Jun 4, 2009
4,254
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
A boat is a dangerous place.
And yet sailing is about the safest activity on the planet. IMO, it takes someone with no common sense to get themselves into an salvageable situation.
I do agree with Don about keeping the windless energized, at least at anchor.
 

MitchM

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Jan 20, 2005
934
Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32 Erie PA
some time ago there were reports on the cruising boards about the lewmar air switches malfunctioning in exactly the way wayne h. described . they've now been discontinued. if it were a part on a car, there would be a mandatory recall.
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,732
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
After a short visit, they were heading upwind in the dinghy to go to store for dinner and maybe a few drinks. As they were passing the bow of their boat, the wife noticed the anchor was out of the water and heading for the bow roller.
My understanding is that the anchor rhode/chain should be secured, when anchored, to prevent loading of the windlass gypysy or drum; caused by waves, wind, passing boats, etc.