Anchors Aweigh!

If not for this COVID trouble we’d be out exploring Isla de Mona, hiking on Culebra or snaring lobster in the Raggeds about now. And then maybe this blog would be more interesting from an adventurous point of view. But despite, we’re making delicious lemonade in any case. Our sincere thoughts go out to those less fortunate to have the virus and/or in a worse situation. HOLD FAST!

Borrowed from Master And Commander

HOLD FAST is an ancient sailors’ term purportedly of Dutch, Norwegian… Germanic origin, to say metaphorically: keep a strong hold of lines, mast, boat, each other, in the most adverse of storms, battle or attacks by pernicious kracken, so to survive and live to tell the tale. Never give up!

Kraken (borrowed from Wikipedia)

Now onto the more mundane purpose of this post, a retrospective of work started almost one year ago! Installation of our electric windlass. Oh boy!

You may recall again from the About Fayaway page that she was purchased four years ago with very little in the way of cruising ameneties – so we started adding stuff. We spent our first two summers sporting a Bruce 33-pound primary anchor (our only anchor), 30 feet of chain attached to 200 feet of nylon line, which could be hauled up by my grunt force in and around the Islands of Maine and Massachusetts. But we weren’t anchored every day like we are now. Maybe I’d be building stronger muscle from the effort, but I’m thinking Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison were onto something better. Nothing beats hauling up 250 feet of heavy chain like the push of a button!’

Projects last spring were scheduled from bow to stern. Windlass, being at the bow, was numero uno. First, we found the right size windlass. If you know me, you wouldn’t be surprised to read that I spent weeks researching on this topic. Brand, size, type, price? Its base needed to fit, and allow the chain to feed at the best angles from the anchor bow roller and down through the gypsy to the chain locker. Fortunately, Fayaway has a HUGE chain locker, and her deck had a reinforced pad already pre-supported with solid fiberglass. Now I just had to find a windlass with the best credentials.

Measure three times!

We ended up purchasing a Lofrans Kobra, with foot-control buttons and a 5/16″ gypsy. (Chain and anchor size discussion is another long-researched project for another time). I’d need some heavy bolting hardware, and adhesive sealant. So let’s do some careful measuring, marking, re-measuring and…. start drilling and cutting already!

What about electrical power? After much research and internet debate I decided to run heavy new wire directly from the house batteries, in lieu of putting another heavy dedicated battery into the bow. Fayaway’s house batteries had recently been relocated to the main salon (during previous year’s repower project) – so not so far away. And after we add 250 feet of chain to the bow, I figured another large battery would work against good weight balance.

Next came the foot switch buttons. So how should we locate these? Another lengthy debate ensued with the crew, as she would likely be the one pushing my buttons!

Add a few more wires, breaker and relay and… voila! Bob’s your uncle!

Later on, we realized something had to be done with the anchor/bow roller setup. While other portions of Fayaway’s rig are more heavily built, there were puny washers holding the bow/stem fitting into place, so we needed to add a backing plate with larger bolts/washers. Our old Bruce anchor never really fit well on the roller, but the new Rocna had a longer shank and so made the issue worse. While we knew what had to be done, we lacked the skills and tools required to do something about it. Dealing with the difficult owners at our boatyard made a minor issue into a much bigger problem. Simply mentioning this stressful memory here tightens my brow, and leaks tension-producing chemicals into my bloodstream. So I’ll put that story off for another time after you’ve primed me with a malt beverage or three.

A small trip to somewhere is better than no trip at all.

Hal Roth

So, as Hal Roth indicates, we may may not be able to go as far as we had planned this year, but we are happy where we are, and satisfied. We manage to stay secure in this peaceful place, thanks in part to our new anchor and chain. When it’s time to go, Kelly knows how to push our buttons!

Newburyport on one hot summer evening.

For the uninformed, more about what is a windlass?

Essentially, Fayaway’s windlass setup. Borrowed from West Marine

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