Stella Blue came with a Lewmar Concept 1 windlass. Mainship engineers did an aesthetically nice job of the mounting of the windlass, in a recessed and covered compartment. It makes for an attractive, flush deck.When using a nylon rode, the windlass works reasonably well, except for the occasional jamming at the nylon/chain splice.

The problem with this configuration is the rode is lead to the gypsy at an angle that is above from horizontal. Although it is mounted within the tolerance recommended by Lewmar ( 9 degrees), it is far from optimum. Being lead from above, by nearly 9 degrees, the rode is twisted by the friction of the top halve of the gypsy as it is retrieved, and causes the rode to hockle or kink in the locker. Next time the anchor is launched, this causes jamming in the windlass. The same happens with an all chain rode, but the jamming is even worse with the twisted chain.

The rode also makes a downward turn from the anchor roller channel over the upper edge of  the fiberglass ramp that leads to the windlass. When using a chain rode, this causes excessive noise, and wear of the gypsy, and the eventual gouging of a channel in fiberglass surfaces where the chain draws across. Simply tipping the angle of the winch back, so the line of pull to the gypsy is aligned with the lead of the rode, would solve the problem. The issue will be remounting the winch while trying to maintain the top of the capstan aligned with the cutout in the hatch cover.

I have  formed and mounted a 1/4" thick piece of starboard over the fiberglass to stop the abrasion of the gelcoat.  After cutting the piece to size and heating the material to facilitate bending, I simply affixed the piece with marine silicone sealant. Changing the mounting angle of the windlass, won't be so easy, but it must be done to make life easier on the hook.

The Anchor Roller

Mainship did a great job on pulpit and anchor roller. They have learned from the long flexing pulpit on the 43 Aft Cabin, that short and stout is the way to go. The double rollers are mounted fairly close together, making it difficult to have two rigged anchors together on the rollers ready to launch. Four anchors later, I have found a combination that works pretty well. My primary anchor is now a 44 lb "Claw" by Lewmar (a Bruce type knockoff) on a nylon rode with 20 feet of 5/16 hi-test chain.  This is a great anchor for medium to soft bottoms. It buries quickly and holding power is great.The "Claw" rides on the portside roller, and the rode is stored in the port side section of my divided anchor locker. I use the capstan for retrieval of the nylon rode with only the last 20 feet of chain to be hauled by hand. The best part of this arrangement is the price of the anchor. At about $135.00, this is a great value! This anchor took PowerBoats Reports top honors in recent testing of anchors under $200.00 (February 2006).

My backup (or primary anchor for hard bottoms) is a 35lb CQR on 120 feet of 5/16 hi-test chain with 250 feet of nylon. This anchor is feed through the windlass with the rode dropping in the starboard compartment of my anchor locker. The roller is a little narrow, causing the anchor to ride at an angle on the roller. If the anchor is positioned so the tip points to starboard, the anchor will not interfere with the launching or retrieval of the Claw. (By raising the shank on the Claw, the flukes and crown will swing inward toward the hull and drop without interference by the CQR.) The CQR is a great anchor that will penetrate weeds and dig in where a danforth type will not. Also great for hard rocky bottoms.

Regardless of which anchor I am using, I always launch and retrieve the anchors while I am at the forward controls. Neither of these anchors will self launch because of the slight back angle of the pulpit. It is also necessary to be in position to clear the inevitable jams that will occur when using the windlass. Guiding the chain as is drops in the locker so it does not pile up, will make the operation more trouble free.

The Anchor Locker

The anchor locker on Stella blue has been divided to keep the 2 rodes separated. The starboard section is larger that the port side section because the divider is set aside of the windlass. I have found the this is not the best arrangement and I will change it this winter. The starboard section needs to be much larger for the chain rode to fall freely and proper windlass operation.

The chain will quickly pile up under the windlass and cause jams if you are not spreading the chain out by hand. The port side does not need nearly as much room for the hand laid nylon rode.

The port side locker already is notched for a line or cable passage, just as is the starboard side for the electrical cable. The hatch cover though, is not. Using a roto zip saw I cut a small slot in the hatch so the cover can close around the chain from the Claw anchor. I still need to trim things up and provide some chafing protection from the chain when it rests on deck and passes through the locker and hatch cutouts.