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Manual-power windlass effective in groundings

Jan 1, 2003

To the editor: As a delivery captain with more than 34 trips up and down the ICW and the better part of a decade cruising the East Coast, Bahamas, and various and sundry islands with my 33-foot ketch Tanga Rua, I completely agree with Chuck Husick about using the engine to come up on the anchor and break it out ("Anchor windlass refit," Issue 103, January/February 2000). However, what happens when one runs aground? Half the time the engine will not suffice, so there must be an alternative. In other words, the windlass and crew should be strong enough to bring up the anchor in the manual mode if the engine is not available.

I have been on the bottom more times than I can count (or wish to). But before I departed on my cruising in 1986, I made darn sure that my windlass was of sufficient powermanualto haul my boat off of any place that I happened to climb onto during a moment of distraction or crew indifference to channel.

Most of my cruising acquaintances are also prepared to bottom out; they have sufficiently powered windlasses mounted on the foredeck. Some of them are electric powered, but also have manual ability. Stating the windlass is solely on deck to haul up the anchor, once free of the bottom, is not considering the above possibilities and somewhat lacking in total advice.