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Windlass with Anchor Ball

banchibanchi Posts: 80 Deckhand
Looking at buying a boat (25' CC) that has an anchor windlass...plow type anchor attached.  Have always used an anchor ball to retrieve the anchor (Danforth style rigged in a break away configuration in case it gets stuck) when reef fishing.  Will the windlass be able to retrieve a hung up anchor?  Should I still use the anchor ball and breakaway setup?  Thanks.
Sgt. Thomas Baitinger...EOW January 24, 2011...I miss you every day my friend...


  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Naples, FLPosts: 1,240 Officer
    You will still need the anchor ball in case you get hung up. 
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • K-DawgK-Dawg Posts: 235 Deckhand
    Can't you still rig breakaway with the windlass? The windlass negates the ball, IMO as they serve the same purpose.
  • banchibanchi Posts: 80 Deckhand
    Thanks for the input...Kind of what I thought...anchor on boat is a plow style so prob will switch to Danforth with breakaway setup when reef fishing...wasn't sure if windlass could handle strain of pulling on stuck anchor...figured anchor ball will help with that problem...could tie it off on a cleat then pull it up with anchor ball then reel it in with windlass I guess...
    Sgt. Thomas Baitinger...EOW January 24, 2011...I miss you every day my friend...
  • K-DawgK-Dawg Posts: 235 Deckhand
    How are you rigging a danforth breakaway?

    IMO, a plow type anchor works better rigged to breakaway because it always lands the same way.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,740 Captain
    edited January 2019 #6
    You generally need to use a plow anchor with the pulpit and windlass set up in order to get the anchor to self deploy.  Danforth type anchors are too light and need to be "helped" out of the bow pulpit.  A Mantis style anchor is the best choice for reef fishing because the ring seems to reduce anchor fouling on an irregular bottom.

    You don't need an anchor ball when using a windlass since you have a lot of lifting power.  You can rig most plow anchors in breakaway fashion, which helps a lot.  But keeping an anchor ball on board to help free up a bad snag is a good idea.  Sometimes a pull from the side will break a snag free when pulling straight up of from the opposite direction of the set doesn't work. 
  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,576 Captain
    edited January 2019 #7

    I was an avid diver for 50 years. I came across so many anchors in that time period I stopped raising them unless they were in pristine condition. 99.9 % were Danforth type designs. I never came across a plow or grapple anchor on the bottom.  Some were not even fouled in the reef had and had so much nylon rope attached and were not cut at the bitter end; That I figured the person who dropped the anchor forgot to attach the rode to the boat or tied a poor cleat knot.  One of the best anchors I found (a heavy grapple w/chain) was lying in the roadway just in front of the old toll booth at Rickenbacker Causeway.


  • banchibanchi Posts: 80 Deckhand
    Thanks for the input!!  The Danforth rig I have used for years (haven't lost one yet...), was connected at the top (pivot point) then the chain was down the shaft and connected to the primary attaching point with plastic wire ties.  With the anchor ball, I always managed to get it free, tho broke the ties on many an occasion.  I suppose I can do the same thing with the plow type anchor, then use the ball if it gets hung up.

    The anchor is not on a pulpit, but in the front of the boat.  Was wondering if a Danforth (or any other type anchor besides the plow, would fall out the way it is intended from the windlass.

    We used to snorkel the shallower reefs and find anchors too.  Sometimes, we had to go get our own!!

    banchi B)
    Sgt. Thomas Baitinger...EOW January 24, 2011...I miss you every day my friend...
  • Grouper GeniusGrouper Genius Posts: 1,518 Captain
    My advice? Don’t use the windlass as a “winch” to pull the anchor out of a stuck position. 

    I motor the boat forward while while running the windlass. If the anchor does not come up freely then I back out rode, deploy the ball, cleat the rope, then pull anchor up that way. Use windlass to retrieve floating anchor. 

    Windlass costs a crap load more than ball. 
    2400 CC Sea Chaser-Yamaha F250-Bad **** Tower (SOLD)
    Grady White 306 Bimini 300 Suzukis
    Hurricane 246 FunDeck
  • banchibanchi Posts: 80 Deckhand
    Grouper...thinking that's the way to go...
    Sgt. Thomas Baitinger...EOW January 24, 2011...I miss you every day my friend...
  • FS DanFS Dan Posts: 2,353 Moderator
    I always like the delta Fastset rigged break away style. Couldn't agree more with grouper, don't try and use the windless to free a stuck anchor. I had the windlass but always found the ball to be faster and easier to use when diving for lobster in the keys. 

    Formerly Catmandew
  • LouDLouD Posts: 168 Deckhand
    I considered a windless after years of using an anchor ball and tormenting my crew with anchor duties. The worst was having to re-anchor when my calculations didn't put us on the reef. Lost a lot of fishing time. For the price of a windless (plus installation) I went with a GPS trolling motor. Haven't anchored in 2 years. Best investment!
  • NitzeyNitzey Posts: 232 Deckhand
    I agree with the last few posts.  Motor forward and if the anchor does not come up, then tie a line around a cleat and use the ball.  Also agree that not anchoring at all, trolling motor with electronic positioning, is best.  However, never used the latter due to cost and mess with extra batteries, etc.
  • LightfootLightfoot Posts: 22 Greenhorn
    I have a windlass on my current boat.  I've lost one plow anchor to a wreck.  I've rigged the replacement anchor with a breakaway feature.

    Although I've never used an anchor ball, I have read about it and understand the concept.  How does the ball help with a stuck anchor?  Is it just the pure momentum when it comes tight, does the ball create a different pull direction/angle or is it due to the ~30 degree heading/angle away from the anchor point?
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