GONE WITH THE WINDLASS
Last time I was out on the boat – a Fairline Phantom 50 – it struck me whether I should be concerned about the strain on my electric windlass when retrieving the anchor. Is it okay to haul the whole lot in one go or does that put too much strain on the motor and risk damage? Michael Crowley It depends on the age of the windlass but a modern one should be able to handle hauling the anchor and chain up in one go, especially if you’re anchoring in shallows and don’t need to retrieve a couple of hundred feet of chain and run the motor for an extended period of time.
It’s worth trying to make the work as easy as possible for the windlass by keeping the boat straight and to make the angle as kind as possible. If the chain is at an angle, then the windlass will have to fight against the weight of the boat, adding unnecessary strain on the motor. Send a crew member to the bow and get them to send signals to the helm so the skipper can align the boat in the best position to give the chain the easiest ride back into the roller. Use your ears, too – it’s usually quite easy to hear when the motor is straining and at that point, you can ease off for a second or two to let it recover.
If you’re hauling a lot of chain then it’s helpful to do it in bursts to stop the motor running for extended periods, or you could haul half and give the motor a rest before completing the job. Use your judgement – if the motor is warm to the touch, give it a rest for a minute and continue. Jack Haines
UP THE CREEK
I have a 75ft motor boat based in the south of France. I love the area but have recently been questioned by a number of ports, and in one case turned away, due to the limited capacity of my boat’s black water tank. Despite assurances that the tank is big enough for our needs and that I would never discharge it overboard until we were well offshore, some harbour authorities still aren’t satisfied. Do I have to find space for a bigger black water tank or is there another solution? Daniel Bourdon One solution would be to fit a small sewage treatment plant. This gets around the whole issue of having to store your waste on board until your next offshore cruise and should satisfy even the most stringent port authorities. Tecnicomar make a very neat little plant called an Ecomar 20 which can process up to 2,000 litres a day. It’s smaller than a household washing machine, connects directly to your existing black tank and takes care of the whole process of treating and flushing your tanks automatically. All you need to do is top it up with hydrogen peroxide from time to time. Aquamare are the UK dealers for Tecnicomar and have already fitted Ecomar 20s to a number of similar boats in the area. Visit www.aquamare.co.uk or call them on +44 (0)1752 604603. Hugo