Anti Chain-Pyramid Rod

Like most long-range cruisers I carry a lot of anchor chain, but I was having a problem with pyramids in my chain locker. When weighing anchor my chain piled up beneath its deck pipe, sometimes reaching up high enough to block it, so that the chain being fed in would suddenly jam the windlass gypsy.
Author:
Publish date:
 A rod is a useful tool for knocking down chain piles while weighing anchor; a washer bolted to the end provides a better grip (inset)

A rod is a useful tool for knocking down chain piles while weighing anchor; a washer bolted to the end provides a better grip (inset)

Like most long-range cruisers I carry a lot of anchor chain, but I was having a problem with pyramids in my chain locker. When weighing anchor my chain piled up beneath its deck pipe, sometimes reaching up high enough to block it, so that the chain being fed in would suddenly jam the windlass gypsy. This locked the windlass so solidly it could not turn in either direction, often just as my anchor was breaking free from the bottom. With my boat thus adrift, I had to scramble to unlock the blockage, which usually entailed removing the windlass deck pipe cover with a pair of Allen wrenches.

To prevent this, I first cut a small access hole in the deck just abaft the windlass and installed a deck-fill fitting with a cap. This allowed me to ram a wood dowel in there to knock down the chain pyramid while weighing anchor. After breaking several sticks, I devised the perfect anti-pyramid rod instead. A local machine shop wanted $100 to fabricate a stainless steel rod, so instead I did some scrounging and found a perfect rod in a scrap pile outside a rigging shop—a 5ft 6in x 5/8in thick-walled galvanized pipe. The friendly shop-owner wouldn’t take any money for it.

I tapped and threaded the inside diameter of the pipe to accept a case-hardened bolt I had laying around in a spares can. I also found a heavy galvanized washer that just fit through my access hole at the windlass. I bolted the washer to the rod end to serve as a little claw to help push, rake and swipe the chain pile forward, aft and sideways to spread it more evenly around the locker. This simple device has been a godsend, enabling me to weigh anchor quickly and confidently every time. 

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more