What size snatch block for bowsprit?

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  • August 14, 2011 12:10 PM
    Reply # 676069 on 657354

    Hey Eric,

    I don't think it's necessary to spend the money on a snatch block. I use a snubber every time we anchor, thus I have a regular single block permanently attached to the cranse iron. 1/2" line is probably more appropriate for our size boat as the point of the snubber is to have fairly liberal stretch; 5/8" will have about half as much stretch as 1/2" for the type of loads our boats are likely to see. Opt for a longer, smaller diameter snubber vs. a short, larger. I do have a long, 5/8" line and appropriately sized block that I can attach if I am predicting a very heavy, sustained situation.

    We normally use 40' of 1/2" three-strand nylon line rove out through the starboard anchor roller, through the block (a Schaffer 1/2" w/plastic sheeve), then back in to the starboard hawsepipe. Both ends of the line are made off to the starboard bulwark-mounted cleat abaft that hawse. With the line rove through the anchor roller, you can hitch the snubber to the chain comfortably from deck, then ease the chain out to set the snubber. To remove, haul back the chain until the hitch is back on deck.

    Some photos

    Hope this helps!
    Last modified: September 01, 2011 8:04 AM | Anonymous member
  • August 14, 2011 12:30 PM
    Reply # 676082 on 657354
    You don't need a snatch block at all
    The way my friend Lee does it, is to splice a thimble into some 3 strand. 
    Use a large shackle where the bobstay attaches to the cranze iron
    Attach the thimble to the shackle (like you would the snatch block)
    Tie the 3 strand to the anchor chain with a rolling hitch and let it out until the 3 stand is taking all the weight.

    That's it, you're done.

  • August 14, 2011 9:45 PM
    Reply # 676411 on 657354

    I take issue with this system. While it is simple, I have, on several occasions, found it more comfortable to shorten or lengthen the snubber. Also, if the wind pipes up, say in a squall or in a  sustained gust, one cannot easily payout more rode.

    Also, if you are caught in an emergency (think in an anchorage and a boat, which is windward of you, just broke lose and is drifting down on you...), with a fixed snubber you would have to go out to the end of the bowsprit, lay down and cut the snubber. With a snubber that is brought inboard to a cleat via the anchor roller, you can simply case it off and pay out your chain motor/sail away.

    I have not had to break away from my rode before, but I have chosen to lengthen the snubber/rode on many occasions due to changing winds. This is reason enough to have a variable snubber lenghth, IMO. But you don't need a SNATCH block for this, just a decent single block. Like I said, we used a Schaffer, something we retired from active duty on our running rigging.

    But we all get along via our own wakes.

  • August 14, 2011 10:07 PM
    Reply # 676423 on 657354
    Good points Aaron... but you still have to pull yours inboard to release your chain don't you?
  • August 15, 2011 9:14 AM
    Reply # 676807 on 657354

    If I have to drop the chain in a hurry, I can just cast off the snubber from the cleat and it'll run out through the hawsepipe and unreave from block. Then we could let the chain run out to its rope strap end, attach the float we leave on the bow when anchored, and pull the snap on the rope strap so that the chain will fall away.

    Normally we just haul back, untie the snubber line and make it off on deck, but it can be let run easily, too.


  • August 15, 2011 2:00 PM
    Reply # 677004 on 657354
    Aaron, that technique would make for a good video.
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