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Windlass and CQR anchor installation on M32 "Promise"

The small Danforth anchor that Promise had when I bought her was inadequate for any real cruising. There was no bow roller and or windlass and the Danforth was just tied onto the bow pulpit.

I had always liked the CQR anchor and about 80% of cruising boats have them so that was easy. The 35 lb CQR seemed to be right. I would use the existing rode (220 ‘ 5/8 line with 50 ‘ of 5/16 chain).

I studied the bow arrangement of Promise for a long time trying to figure out how in the heck I could get that anchor to fit with the bowsprit, platform, bob stay, whisker stays, etc. I looked at a lot of other boats with CQRs and bowsprits. Promise has an M31 ‘spoon’ type bow. I’m not sure if the M32 clipper bow has the same type of platform dimensions.

I wanted to install a bow roller to cradle the anchor when it was up and provide a strong pivot point for the rode when it was out. I studied all of Windline’s bow rollers and tried to figure out which one would work. It basically came down to one model (CR1) that was narrow enough to fit between the sprit and the bow pulpit tube. I wanted the roller frame to reach back to the toe rail if possible. I also didn’t want it too far forward (less stress on the sprit). It seemed that the rear row of (long) platform slots might be enlarged to let the anchor come through. Installing a piece of stainless angle under the platform to bolt the roller too would make for a sturdy mount and also stiffen up the bow platform which was a bit wobbly.

The other problem was what kind of windlass to use and where and how to mount it. The chain gypsy would have to line up with the chain coming form the anchor. I wanted a manual windlass (less things to go wrong) and it would have to sit on top of the sprit in a fairly tight space. The two candidates were the Simpson Lawrence HiSpeed and the LoFrans Royal. I decided on the Royal based on value. I was able to get the Royal from in Seattle for $516 (with no tax or shipping). They also gave great service. I ordered the windlass with the Hitest chain gypsy in case I wanted to convert to all chain rode sometime in the future. This necessitated replacing the proof coil chain I had already with 50 feet of 5/16 Hitest.

I combed the Internet looking for a used 35# CQR and found one that a guy in Florida was selling because he was getting a bigger anchor. I was able to get it for $100 plus $50 shipping. It had just been re-galvanized as well!

I had just ordered the CR1 bow roller from West ($140) when I happened to stop in at a local used boat gear store and found one that had been bent in a collision. I got it for $15, straightened it out and got a new roller from Windline for free! (cancelled West order)

Now I was all set to put it together.

Bow Roller and Anchor installation

Here the steps I followed with accompanying pictures (taken after the fact):

  1. Made cutout in bow platform with sabre saw Cutout photo, used a soup bowl to get the radius for the forward end of the cutout.
  2. Made oak spacer block so that roller frame would sit on top of the toe rail
  3. Bought a 3x3x ¼ in. piece of stainless angle (long enough to fit between bow and back of cutout)
  4. Did trial fit with roller, angle, block, and anchor through cutout hole (it all seems to fit!)
  5. Drilled two holes in the angle to bolt to sprit (drill press)
  6. Positioned angle (tight against platform) and used drill to mark sprit holes
  7. Removed angle and drilled holes through sprit
  8. Trial bolted angle to sprit Starboard side view photo
  9. Positioned roller on top of block and checked alignment of predrilled holes (drilled new hole for forward bolt to miss platform rail – also drilled new hole for toe rail bolt)
  10. Positioned roller and block on platform and drilled through spacer block, platform and just enough to mark holes in angle
  11. Removed angle and drilled holes for roller using drill press
  12. Gave the backing block 3 coats of Cetol
  13. Now I did the final assembly using bedding compound to seal everything  CR1 bolts and Angle photo. I used a lag bolt to go through the cap rail into the toe rail (must be at a slight angle)
  14. I then inserted the anchor up through the roller and it all fits! Closeup of CQR, and Port side view . Note that the pointy end of the anchor must be cocked to port in order to clear the sprit.  I intend to put thin stainless sheet or leather on the sprit where the anchor may touch it see photo.
  15. I wrap a line around the sprit and the anchor shank to tie it down and also tie the shackle to the bow pulpit tube
  16. When lowering the anchor one must be careful when it passes the bobstay
  17. Also, I rig chafing gear on the anchor line after deployment where it may rub against the bob stay and where it goes over the roller.
Windlass Installation
  1. Positioned the windlass on top of the sprit where I wanted it. Centered lines up the chain gypsy with the anchor nicely.
  2. Checked belowdecks to see where the holes would come though. The front bolts go through an existing backing block nicely. I had to make a backing block (3/4 in. oak) for the rear bolts.
  3. Marked the mounting hole locations on the sprit. Note that the back bolt pattern is wider than the front but not wide enough to clear the sides of the sprit.Rear bolts and Front bolts .
  4. Using a small square, I marked the sides of the sprit where I would have to make notches for the bolts.
  5. With a sharp wood chisel I made notches in the side of the spit (not quite ¼ in. deep). I smoothed these up as best I could with a rattail file. (maybe a Dremel tool would have worked?)
  6. Drilled the holes for the front bolts through the sprit and the deck.
  7. Drilled the rear holes along the notches and through the deck Photo
  8. Wedged the backing block in place with a stick and drilled the holes through it  Photo
  9. Gave the backing block 3 coats of white paint.
  10. Gave the notches 3 coats of varnish
  11. Did the final assembly using 7 in. bolts, washers, and locknuts. (I think 6 ½ in. bolts would have worked OK)
  12. I used plenty of bedding compound along the notches and where the bolts went though the deck.
I haul the rope part of the rode by hand and only use the windlass to lift the chain and anchor. Note that I chose to leave the hawsepipe where it was Photo.  This necessitates clearing the chain from under the gypsy by hand periodically when hoisting the anchor. I usually stuff the line part of the rode down the pipe before hauling the chain. Then I stuff the chain down after the anchor is up and secure.




I’m not sure how much the extra holes in the bowsprit (two horizontal and two vertical) might weaken it, but it seems to me that if the rigging stays together that the loads on the sprit are mostly compression. There could be a twisting load on the sprit from the roller if the boat was in a very windy rolling anchorage (pitching up and down) but I think the extra bolts would help in this case. All in all, I think this is a pretty sturdy installation.

I have tied using the rope side of the windlass and it seems to work OK (just slow) but if you needed the extra leverage it would be there. The line has to come at an angle from the roller.

I hope this may help anyone that is interested in installing a plow type anchor….

Fair winds,

John Bye