Like many older stock boats, there are no provisions for anchor deployment or storage on the bow of the Apache 37. The stock danforth anchor is stowed on chocks on the cabin top and there are two chocks on the bow. No roller, windlass, etc. Pulling up the heavy thing is a strain on the back, and requires using the engine to break it free. I have looked at many boats anchor storage and was unable to find a suitable way that would fit the Apache. The best seem to be either bowsprits on cutter rigs with anchor provisions or heavy stainless / bronze castings with rollers built onto the stemhead fitting.
This year I contacted "Bowspritz" of Marblehead MA. They manufacture heavily built stainless bowsprits designed for the high stresses of anchoring in rough conditions and carrying heavy anchors in a sea. Available options include teak decking, bow pulpit modifications to allow one to walk out, a teak seat, etc. I opted for their basic model with dual anchor rollers. I didn't want to detract from the classic lines of the Apache with extra stuff. Also the options can double the cost of a basic bowsprit.
Construction is 1 1/2", 11ga marine stainless tubing with welded stainless plates for the rollers and mounting plates. The bowsprit bolts to the topsides via an internal (marine plywood) backing plate and is supported from the hull. A forked bobstay supports the vertical loading and mounts to the bow. The welding is very well done and everything is nicely polished. They use a patented fixture to 'measure' your bow. They can ship the fixture anywhere and an owner can use it to dimension and position the bowsprit.
The Bowsprit is installed. It is a fine product that works very well and looks very good on the boat. It is very well made and Anchoring is now a joy with it.
I use it with a used 35# CQR plow-look-alike and it works very well with the bowsprit. My old Danforth still stows on the cabin top and while I am cruising I route its rode through the second roller. Deploying and weighing the second anchor is now easier than it ever was as a first anchor.
Mooring lines go around the bowsprit, not through the rollers. That seems like a potential chafe point but 1 1/2" Stainless tubing has such a large radius that chafe should not be a problem. As far as the side loading on the pulpit, it it very strong and should handle it no problem.
Bowspritz says that the teak decking and extended bow pulpit make it easier and more enjoyable to use. I would agree. I found myself climbing outside the pulpit onto the stainless tubing to do things like un-twisting the second anchor rode.
They claim that using the bowsprit as the tack fitting for an asymmetrical chute is convenient (since it is forward of the forestay) and makes the chute work better by bringing the clew forward to better clear the mainsail wind shadow. I had the tang installed for possible future use.
I have one big complaint: Bowspritz was about three months late delivering the unit. During the delay, there was little contact with them: out of town (and out of touch) for weeks, no kind of commitments for shipping, etc. At one point I began to consider litigation to get my deposit back. When it was finally delivered my choices were to haul the boat to get it on (expensive) or do it at a marina (inconvenient). Don Lewis of Bowspritz cited every type of startup problem: unavailability of raw materials, labor problems, being overbooked, UPS strike, computer problems... His post sales service has been very good however, and he claims that the issues that caused delays are resolved. My recommendation: be very clear about delivery dates, keep the pressure on them, allow for extra time, and make contingency plans for if the shipment is late. Maybe give it all winter. Maybe a late penalty clause?
Cost? I paid $1600 for my
bare-bones unit with dual rollers. Figure another $1000 for the teak decking
and modified bow pulpit. For the ultimate, you can also get the optional
teak seat and drink holder. Yes, that is a lot of money, but I saw no better
solution to this back-breaking problem at any cost.
After many years of trying different boat cover methods I was unsatisfied with them all. On my old Catalina 27 I was fortunate enough to find a blue plastic tarp durable enough to last more than five years. This is the exception: most poly tarps are trash and rip themselves to shreds in the first storm. I saw friends and acquaintances use canvas covers with varying degrees of success. One friend used a semi-custom cover. He cut it to fit around his mast and rigging, and spent several hours each season sewing up the cuts.
Another buddy swears by canvas, but he covers the canvas with poly so the snow will slide off. That seems excessive. He also uses a dark canvas which makes the boat interior very dark in the winter.
I have ogled over full custom covers with provisions for rigging, vents, etc. But there are a lot of other $2000 boat accessories on my list before a cover.
The shrink-wrap covers look good and work well, but the annual cost on a 37 footer is high and I cannot accept throwing that much plastic away every year. Even with recycling, the waste seems very high. Also plastic does not breathe, so ventilation is an issue.
So I set out to build a cover that was easy, fast, cheap and durable. I noticed that a flat cover fit pretty well except that the square corners bunched up and got in the way. It seemed like a flat cover that was trimmed to fit better on the boat would do well. The first year my mast was down so I wouldn't need to deal with all the rigging cutouts.
After a number of false starts with various canvas manufacturers, I happened upon Acme Canvas Co. in Malden MA. They are a commercial outfit that specializes in canvas products and pool covers. They will cut a square shape to any size, have you trim it to fit the boat, and then they will finish it with edge seams and grommets. Their price is about $0.30 a square foot for rough, heavy, treated off white canvas plus the finishing cost. My square size was 40 X 20 for a total of $240 plus about $50 for the final finishing. Marking the shape while it was on the boat was pretty easy. Basically the shaping and cutting involved removing four large triangles from the corners and was done on the ground.
It fits amazingly well. The grommeted edges fit the bow perfectly. The transom fit is not absolutely perfect. but it's not a problem. I board from the transom by unlacing the last few grommets and climbing over the stern pulpit.
The cover frame was another challenge. I wanted something that was light, cheap, and easy to move and store. I once saw a power boat that used bent 1" PVC pipe for ribs on a 2X4 backbone. The ribs bent nicely to form arches but still seemed strong. They use PVC 'T' fittings on the boat's lifelines. I use the same approach with 'T' fittings on the lifelines. I have tried two approaches to mounting the 'T's. Originally I cut a groove in the 'T's and lashed them on with light line. I settled on threading the lifelines through the fittings. Either way works, but I prefer taking the few minutes to thread the lifelines.
The backbone is four 10' 2X4s notched on the bottom to fit the bow and stern pulpits and on the top to accept the PVC ribs. The ribs (and notches) are about 2' apart. The backbone is supported by sawhorse brackets located at the three joints. The sawhorse legs are padded by carpet scraps, but probably should be on plywood scraps to better distribute the heavy snow loads. Originally building the frame used only a handsaw and a battery screw gun and took about 2 hours. Assembling and disassembling takes about 1/2 hour and is simplified by marking the ribs and the backbone before disassembling it the first time.
The cover and frame look pretty custom. The fit, light below, ventilation and water and snow resistance are excellent. Three days after the heavy, 2' deep April 1 Blizzard of '97, there was no snow on it. After two years there are no signs of wear.
My boat was narrow enough to use all standard 10' PVC. On a wider boat the PVC extenders would make longer ribs. I also left small openings at the bow and stern for ventilation. If I leave the mast up. I'll need to cut the cover from one side to go around the mast. For rigging, I'll sew on small patches with holes. One rigging wire at a time will be unscrewed and run through the holes. I'll need some way to lace, zip or otherwise close the cut. Canvas can always be a work-in-progress.
The only issue with the cover is that the canvas is very heavy. I cannot safely get it up the ladder alone. So I tie on three lines and three people hoist it up onto the boat. Off is easy with the help of gravity. Also you'll need to find a local canvas outfit that is as accommodating as Acme was since it takes two trips to the company to get the cover made.