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There are a couple things on the Leopard 4600 that I have to shake my head and wonder “why would the designers do that?” I’m sure that would be the case with most boats. Here is one such thing. On the forward cross bar between the hulls, just to port of the headstay, is a bow roller of sorts. It’s not the primary bow roller as the actual anchor well on a 4600 is aft of the trampoline in the center of the boat. That’s where the anchor deploys from.

The easy assumption is that it’s for a secondary anchor but if that’s really the designers’ intent, how is it supposed to work? Even if the rode was flaked out on the trampoline before letting the anchor go, how would the bitter end of the rode be secured to the boat? Also, what’s with the pin on that roller? What kind of anchor could that possibly secure? For the record, this bow roller exists on every 4600 and if I’m not mistaken, on other Leopard models as well. That said, I have never come across a single Leopard with an anchor anywhere near that roller. Anyone care to take a crack at explaining this to me?

See follow-up post and comments here.


  1. Good morning Mike. The roller in your photo does not look like it was ever intended to be used with an anchor….as the pin is to close to the roller. My opinion is that it is used as a lead for a trip line on your anchor.
    Capt Rich

    • I don’t know, Rich. I could be entirely wrong but I think you’re taking a pretty big leap there. Of course, as I wrote, I don’t think it’s set up for an anchor either.

  2. Lagoons also have this secondary roller as my 450 does. I can’t really figure it out either but the owners manual indicates, with a photo, having the bridle deployed from it. We tried this, more out of curiousity, and it doesn’t work and makes it awkward to attach the bridle to the chain. No answers here, still curious, but it’s not only Leopards.

    • Thanks for sharing. If a whole bunch of people who sail and live on these boats do not know the purpose of something, it is ill designed and/or explained. That is a fact.

  3. It’s to help pull up your crab traps! 🙂

  4. Mike,
    It looks like it is definitely for your anchor. The anchor is carried under the deck (chain led back to locker) and the trip line is ran through the roller in question.

    I found a picture of one in use this way:

    • Nope. Not the same boat. The 4600 anchor does not deeply from the there. The roller is not designed to carry an anchor under it as in that image.

      And all this talk of trip lines… in all of our travels I have only set a trip line (attached to a float, not to the boat) once, and that was in an area known to have underwater obstructions (Alligator Creek). I don’t know anyone who routinely sets an anchor trip line.

      • Alligator River is also the only place we’ve ever deployed a trip line (we did not need to use it for retrieval). You and I must be reading the same sources…

  5. I’ll go the concept the it’s for when the anchor is hung up, you use that roller to secure the chain and work it free using the bow’s rocking motion. But the crab pot idea hit the spot for me.

  6. I was once at a club that had a stone pier. Boats were moored to the pier, fore and aft, bows to the pier. The stern of each boat was attached to a mooring ball by a line that led through a roller on the ball, down the side of the boat to the pier and then to the bows; so essentially a line attached to the bow and stern of the boat while rove through a pulley on the mooring ball. Pulling on the line, you could (from the pier) draw the boat towards you or pull it away from the pier towards the mooring ball. So after a sail, you would come up to the pier , disembark from the bow, then pull on the line to pull the boat away from the pier, tie it off and voila, boat is safely removed from the pier wall. Conversely, when headed out: pull the line to draw the boat to you, emark, tie off the mooring lines, head out. Your bow roller is perfect for a system like that or similar.

  7. Three speculations –

    1) – It’s a left over from a previous time when the anchor WAS deployed from the bow, and either the architect/assembly team keeps putting it there “because it’s always been there”. Call it a Lagoon’s appendix 😉

    2) – It’s there for temporarily leading a line to a cleat, like one for a mooring ball or if you are med-mooring without initially deploying your bridle.

    3) – Lagoon uses it for some purpose during the building process and/or moving the yacht out of the shed to the launching ramp.

  8. i’ve seen those before, and was told it’s just a convenience for pulling things on board for example if you had a small dingy you wanted to pull onto the tramp , that kind of thing… or CRAB TRAPS 🙂

  9. I think you will find that the answer is pretty simple, but fortunately not something that you have needed to know.

    If you are towed by a rescue boat in poor conditions, they will give you a line to put over your bows and round a strong cleat, (assuming that you have one, modern boats often don’t) or round the base of the mast. Pulling that rope to and fro needs a roller.

    The pin across the top is to trap the rope in the roller so that it does not jump out as you pitch in the waves.

    I have seen and done this.

    It can also be used to take a long mooring strop, secured however you would then do it, and again the pin is to keep the strop in the roller. On a swinging mooring this is a common way to moor, then you don’t need a bridle. In bad conditions, wind against or across tide, that pin is essential. I have several years practice with this.

    Hope that helps.


  10. Hi Mike,

    I have a 2007 Leopard 43 and in the parts manual it is listed as an Anchor Roller and the pin is listed as an Anchor Warp Retaining Pin. On my cat there is a cleat directly behind it on the side of the Anchor box for securing the line to. Not a very elegant setup but I think in a pinch it would work as a place to deploy a secondary anchor.


  11. It’s for running a short term use lunch hook so you don’t need to drop the primary anchor if conditions are right. I know, seems silly, but that’s what they told me about it on my Leopard.

  12. Can you attach the TRX to it?

  13. Sea anchor deployment.

  14. I saw some Germans in PSV deploy a secondary anchor by walking across the tramp and throwing it over, the rode was led over the roller and captured by the pin so it didn’t jump the roller when they went sailing around on the rode. No idea why they didn’t deploy the primary, still in the anchor locker, or use a bridle, but perhaps the designers had such people in mind.

  15. I should have added that the roller and pin are important if you lay out a kedge anchor, either for a short lunch stop or in support of the main bower anchor.

    It provides a simple way of deploying the anchor and getting it in. The pin will keep the line in place if you are pitching in short steep seas.

    Making fast again involves a strong cleat. However I have seen this done to a mast cleat when no proper deck cleat was available. Equally, the rode was wound in using a halyard winch rather than trying to do it by hand which would be impractical on a boat of your size in any wind or tide.


  16. The only thing you have to do to find out what this was designed for is to remove the roller. Within two weeks a situation will arise that make it perfectly clear why the roller is there. This is the second law of excess alcohol, enlightenment is only achieved in times of need! In the mean time stick with the crab trap solution.

  17. Why don’t you send an e-mail to Leopard and ask?

  18. I also have no idea. I have one on my Leopard 47 but the interesting thing is that on the opposite side of the windlass is a rode drum, and this lines up with the bow roller. Presumably you could set an anchor through this and haul it on on the windlass then. However, I use that side of the windlass to raise my mainsail….so much easier than using the winch.

  19. Just my opinion but I believe for numerous reasons a cruising boat should have two anchors ready to be deployed. Preferably different types of anchors for different bottoms. If there is a cleat in a reasonable position to the bow roller I would say it is for a second anchor. If no cleat…..then I have no idea.

  20. Next time you are in Charlotte Amalie take a look at the CYOA docks; they have found a way to use this bow roller. Our Mahe 36 there has the same setup and when they reverse the boats up across the end of the ‘T’ dock facing out into the harbour, they tie up to the dock at the stern and then secure the bow with a big heavy mooring line. This line is secured out in the water away from the dock and when they reverse in they pick up the bitter end of the line, run it over this bow roller and cleat it off to a cleat in the anchor locker. They set the length so that they can back down hard to the dock, tie off the stern and hold the boat in position against the dock to run a gangplank but not so close as to rub. It’s a good use, although I have no idea if it was actually designed for this type of ‘med-style’ mooring.

  21. I’ve had to attached a trip line to the roll bar and haul with a winch twice (logs). That would be nice on a large boat. As for some of the other ideas, I assume you know that anchoring off-center on a cat makes it hunt all OVER the place.

    * It would not be used while towing. It would weave as though the captain was drunk. You use a bridle and not the mast.

    * It would not be used for a second rode. In addition to the above the plates are not flared and the line would chafe through in no time at all.

    * Sea anchor deployment would be suicide for the above reasons.

    Thus, it pretty much boils down to hauling a stuck anchor and kedging, though kedging without flared sides may be rough on the rope. It’s of no use retrieving a second anchor, since it doesn’t lead towards a storage location.

    (In my case, to haul on a trip line I simply used the port spin sheet, led right through the regular anchor lead–gotta be careful not to pinch the rope under the chain, so I use a piece-of-junk old dock line as a leader. With the Leopard, that roller and a few snatch blocks would do the trick.)

  22. Come on Mike… Tell these folks that are trying to help you that your boat came with a second anchor & rode… That directly behind the roller is a rode side to your windless and a huge cleat for securing the rode.. Stop messing with them!

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