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Weight-less Anchoring

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After many seasons of raising his 35-pound CQR anchor with an old-fashioned manual windlass, the owner of this Downeast cruiser got tired of cranking. So he decided to equip her with a state-of-the art electric windlass, one that would not only drop and weigh his anchor effortlessly, but do so via a wireless remote control.

Windlasses are matched not to boat size or displacement but to the ground tackle. Used correctly the windlass doesn’t haul the boat to the anchor—motoring ahead while overhauling the rode is still the proper retrieval method—but takes over the heavy lifting when the anchor and chain are lifted off the bottom. Its maximum pulling power should equal or exceed four times the combined weight of the anchor, chain, and rope. This boat’s ground tackle weighs around 150 pounds.

Many excellent windlasses are available, but the owner wanted a Lewmar. Its Pro-Series 700 would have done the job, but to allow for future changes—adding chain, line, or a bigger anchor—he chose Lewmar’s Pro-Series 1000. He also replaced his old anchor rode with new high-test chain and Yale Brait by Yale Cordage. Brait is plaited from eight strands, woven rather than twisted together. It resists hockling (kinking and spreading), stays soft and pliable, and takes up less space in the anchor locker, so a longer rode fits in the same space. With a little practice, anyone conversant in marlinespike seamanship can splice it, too.

The owner asked Bill Jennings at New England Bow Thruster in Mystic, Connecticut, a Lewmar-authorized dealer and installer, to do the entire job. It took about eight hours. Here’s how Jennings did it.

This article originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.