Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Simple solutions

Please welcome new contributors Scott and Brittany aboard s/v Windtraveler!  For their first contribution, they face up to a problem all blue-water cruisers must deal with - how to keep the anchor from flopping around up there on the bow in a seaway - and they find that a simple solution is the best...

Isn't it funny how sometimes the cheapest, simplest solution is often the most evasive?  When we put our new anchor on our boat, it became immediately apparent that we'd need a way to prevent it rocking side to side when we were underway.  Tying it off prevented any up/down and forward/back motion, but regardless of how much we tied and how tight we pulled, the side to side rocking could not be quelled.  It might not seem like a big deal to those of you who aren't boaters, but a 73 pound anchor rocking to and fro and banging against the bow roller over and over is not only dangerous, but would make a tremendous ruckus in our boat.  We needed a better way to secure it before we left.

Our first idea was to modify our bow roller to accomodate our specific anchor.  That seemed simple enough.  We called a local metal working company and after they presented us with a quote for over $2,500.00, the decision to go a different route was very easy.

It became comical, actually, how many people were putting their heads together on this thing.  Even guests here at the building we are docked behind came over to offer their two cents on how to rectify our issue.  With each new idea the solution snowballed into something more and more complex.  I'm all for brainstorming, but this was getting out of hand. One afternoon, when Scott and some of our friends were on the bow talking about new rollers, drilling contraptions into the deck, raising the windlass, the addition of a pulley system and god knows what else I said, "We need a block to fit around the top of the anchor, essentially wedging the anchor into the roller, and then we need a hole in the top of that block to lash it down to the roller".   The guys looked at me, looked at the roller, scratched their heads and after a pause replied, "That could work".

And it did.  The very next day Scott fabricated my solution with $25 bucks worth of parts, and a little modification of his own.  What we did was make a block out of pieces of starboard, with a slot down the middle for the anchor shank to fit in.  Scott made the block sightly larger than the bow roller, and then routed out the sides of the block (with the new router I got him for Christmas!) so that it fit in the roller exactly.  With the sides routed out (Scott's brilliant modification) the block will not slide fore or aft, and all I need to do is lash it down to the bowsprit with some line through the hole he drilled though the top.  Make sense?  I'm sure there are other solutions, but we think this will work for now.

It's strangely easy to overcomplicate things on a boat (we've done it time and time again).  But usually, there is a very simple solution for just about any problem.  You just need to clear the table, clear your head and find it - it might mean the difference between $25 and $2,500!
Shameless plug: See Salnick's First Law

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