Anchor roller and deceptive store manager

I will try to catch up and write about everything that we have to in our preparations since May. Before and during the summer, everything was kind of hectic, and then I didn’t get started with writing about everything that we had already done.

I will start with the bow-roller, windlass, and the issues I had with the anchor chain.

New bow roller with anchor, chain and windlass

Using a bow anchor was something that we had hardly used. Mooring in the Baltic is very different than mooring outside Sweden. The traditional mooring in Sweden is with the bow to land and an anchor in the stern. The few times we had tried mooring with the anchor at the bow, we never felt comfortable. Mainly from lack of experience and lack of proper equipment.

But since using a bow anchor was something that would become our primary way of mooring, we wanted to have this fixed before our vacation so we would get experience and have the ability to test everything.

The anchor box was already completed, including the shelf for the windlass, and the bow platform was also removed. But we now needed to mount both the windlass and a bow-roller.

Aligning windlass with the bow roller

We bought a custom bow roller for Arcona 400 with the new deck-layout. But since we had the old deck layout with a different solution for the furler it had to be machined to fit our boat. The lead for the chain around the furler had to be cut out to fit our furler.

Unfortunately, one of the bolt holes on the bow roller was precisely where the old hole for the gennaker tack was. After removing the plate for the gennaker tack, we had to putty the old hole with glass fiber putty and a glass fiber backing plate.

But we also had to cut in the deck to fit the bow roller. Making new holes and cutting in the boat is always something scary. Hard to fix if something goes wrong. After a lot of measuring, cutting, measuring, cutting a bit more, more measuring, and cutting a bit more, we could finally fit the bow roller.

Everything mounted

Once the bow roller was installed, we could align the windlass to the bow roller and mount the windlass. The windlass is waterproof with an IP67 rating, but the contactor is not waterproof. To keep the contactor away from both water and moist, the contactor is mounted inside of the boat, and the pre-wired cables from the windlass are run through the bulkhead.

I followed the manual regarding cable sizes for the windlass based on the full length of the positive and negative cable. But I will get back to this later since we have noticed that we get too high voltage drop when using the windlass. The voltage drop is something that needs fixing during the winter.

Ladder

The old bow platform also has a ladder when mooring with the bow towards land or the jetty. To ease access from the bow when we would dock in the traditional Swedish style, we also added a ladder that fits nicely to the bow roller and is very stable. The ladder fits on top of a Bruce anchor. But due to the shape of the Spade anchor, we have to drop the anchor before mounting the ladder. The ladder will be left home when sailing south of Sweden, but it will be helpful when we are back.

The Swedish boat supply stores are usually relatively friendly and well-stocked. Sometimes they are a bit expensive. But I have never before had the issue of some store trying to dupe or con me. If there are any issues, they are accommodating and try to fix any problem. With the anchor chain, it was different.

In February, we bought a calibrated 60 meters x 8mm DIN766 chain from one of the larger boat supply stores in Sweden. The chain had a breaking load of 2500 kg and should be enough for us. Once I finally fitted the chain to the windlass, I noticed that it made a lot of noise and seemed to have issues with reeling in the chain.

A friend had bought the same type of chain, and luckily I could compare and measure the chains and immediately noticed that our chain was not off. The welding of the links was also extremely poor. When contacting the store manager, I was rudely told it was the ISO standard and nothing wrong with the chain.

After contacting the distributor of the Lewmar windlass about the issue and if this could affect the windlass, they were accommodating and provided me with all the DIN766 and ISO specification and how to measure the chain.

With the DIN766 and ISO standard, there are precise fault tolerances on the pitch inside link, width inside link, etc. But also the length outside the link of 11 links. The fault I had on two links was higher than the fault accepted by both the ISO 4565 and the DIN766 standard over eleven links.

With this information, I could once again contact the rude store manager and be able to prove that this was a faulty chain. I could then cancel the purchase after hauling 84 kg of chain back and forth a couple of times.

Finally the new and improved chain is here

Instead, I ended up buying a galvanized 60 meter x 8 mm ISO 4565/DIN766 Grade 40 chain. This chain is much better. Not only are the dimensions correct, and the welding a lot nicer. The Grade 40 chain also has a breaking load of 4000 kg instead of 2500 kg that the other chain would have had if I had gotten the correct chain from that store.

Sorry for the lengthy post about the issue I had with the chain. Things can always go wrong, and people can make faults. But the unwillingness to do correct the problem and being told that they cannot take responsibility for the products they sell upset me and not something I am used to by boat supply stores here in Sweden.

I want to thank the following for helping us with the bow roller and anchor chain

  • Olle Larsson for adjusting the bow roller to fit our bow and the Spade anchor
  • Comstedt for the support and providing the data regarding the DIN766 and ISO 4565 specifications 
  • Navinordic for the support and the quick delivery of the Grade 40 chain  

The work was done in May to June 2019 but the blog post was published in November 2019


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