|Too much chain weight on the hydraulic Windlass - Engineer Matters|
We were in the Cook Island, where the anchorages are not very good, very extreme in some places, and were anchored off one of the atolls in about
100 ft of water, with about
400–500 ft of chain out during the day.
We dragged a little.
Seeing as there was nothing around, only deep water, we were not too concerned.
Then it came time to haul anchor and move on; we began the process, the deck crew
engaged the windlass and started to haul anchor.
However, during the dragging the anchor had slid off the coral shelf and was basically
hanging straight down. So if you do some rough calculations we had 400–500 ft of
one-inch (approx) link chain and a 1,000-lb anchor hanging down ... a lot of weight!
More than the windlass hydraulics were rated for!
So the captain, 1st mate and I got together and threw a number of ideas around
(everything from dive lift bags). We even attempted to run back into shallow waters,
which the seabed would not co-operate with.
In the end we used our forward deck crane, a diver, the windlass, heavy lifting equipment
and about eight of our crew. The whole process took about 11/2 hours of lifting 50 ft
of chain each time. All was done very cautiously, very safely and very successfully.
Chief Engineer Scotty Angelo