Great Bow Roller

The elements of the ideal bow roller for the Sarca

It is one thing to have a great anchor in the Sarca – it also needs quality designed accessories so the anchor behaves the way it was designed to.

The Sarca was designed for self-launching and without the correctly designed bow roller it’s not be possible. Also important is that the anchor comes home without any problems and is then secured on the bow for further use.

A single or double roller

A single roller is fine for smaller anchors and is even suitable for some of the larger anchors, but the larger roller will better deal with lateral rocking with minimum fuss and bother and also is a better option during the deployment and retrieval of the anchor and chain. It has been found that the smaller roller puts more stress on the windlass during these activities than it does with the larger roller.

Dual rollers can also be employed. So it’s worth discussing your anchor set up with Franklin Marine when purchasing a Sarca. They will advise you in the best set up for your bow roller.

Roller profile

Keep in mind that the roller supports not only the rope but also the chain, then finally the anchor. A roller needs to be shaped and grooved in order to accommodate vertically aligned links so that they don’t jump the roller. The sides of the roller need to be cambered in such a way that the anchor, the rope and the chain all come through the center of the roller.

Materials used for rollers

There are several materials used for rollers but more commonly aluminium and plastic. These two materials do not really compare in quality or durability.

Aluminium is lightweight, durable and very easily milled. It also has long lasting properties which is excellent for the hard wear it will receive.

UV stable nylon plastic is used for rollers as well but does not last anywhere near the time of an aluminium roller in fact it can only be expected to last a few years.

A stainless steel pin (either 316, high tensile 2205 or equivalent for weight savings) with a plastic sleeve is ideal for the axle for the roller. It should be kept in mind that the pin many need to be replaced at a later date and therefore the design should take this into consideration.

Cheek plates

When the cheek plates are being designed to hold a Sarca anchor they should be extended downward to meet the upper surfaces of the anchor fluke when it is home. With the anchor held back in place, this locks the anchor in all dimensions.

This also removes some of the onus from the anchor securing system with regard to resisting shock loads on the anchor from solid water when at sea.

Cheek plate design should include the plates projecting forward past the roller and their lower forward extremities should be cranked forward in at approximately 45 degrees. The reason for this is that the flaring will help guide the chain onto the roller when the boat is yawing and the alignment of roller and chain is not perpendicular. This design also helps stop the chain rotating on the roller during retrieval and creating a twist between the chain wheel on the windlass and roller.

Materials for Cheek Plates

The most popular material is aluminium because it is lightweight and considered a soft metal, meaning it will damage the anchor if the plates meet the anchor during use.

Stainless steel can also be used and in this case the cheek plates may be capped with wood such as teak.

Franklin Marine is skilled at building a custom bow roller if a standard one does not suit your purposes.

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