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Old 29-08-2011, 12:49   #1
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Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

I put my repaired ST-50 wind transducer back on at the mast head this weekend (Thanks Dan Gerhardt who did a GREAT job rebuilding it). So I decided to try running my buddy up the stick using the windless, just as a test to see if it would work if my wife ever needed to run me up. I took a halyard and used the main winch mounted on the mast as a turning block to bend the halyard forward to the windless (too lazy to move dinghy on foredeck to get to an attachment point at the base of the mast and use a real turning block)). No turns around the winch, just a quarter turn to point the halyard forward. Granted it was against the winches turning direction but I thought it would just slide over it (no turns). My Maxwell HWC 1500 wouldn't lift my 250 buddy up. I ended cranking him up with the winch. I was surprised! Wouldn't most of you expect your windless to have enough power to pull a person up the mast? Was it the friction from the winch?
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Old 29-08-2011, 13:10   #2
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

The Maxwell HWC 1500 has a maximum pull of 1,500 lbs, more than 6 times your buddy's weight.

I doubt that friction was the problem. More likely, you've got a serious voltage drop going to the windlass or, possibly, a defective windlass.

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Old 29-08-2011, 13:12   #3
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

My windlass does fine and it is rated at 1250. I suspect there is another problem.
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Old 29-08-2011, 13:18   #4
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

I need to learn to type faster

Maxwell VWC1500 Windlass
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Old 29-08-2011, 13:43   #5
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

You really ought to try again with a large turning block at the base of the mast. A one fourth circumference turn on a non-spinning winch drum will add a lot more friction than you might think, especially if the drum has machining marks on it that grab the line. Nevertheless, your windlass ought to be up to this job, so I'd guess btrayfors is on the right track suggesting low voltage - maybe you need to be running the engine during this evolution?

For another thing, using the open winch barrel on the mast is not the safest procedure - a little slack in the halyard at the wrong moment (you stand on the spreaders, say), the halyard jumps off, and now your wife has dropped you maybe six feet in an instant. Hope everything holds together!
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Old 29-08-2011, 13:49   #6
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

My wife and I regularly use the maxwell HWC1100 (now relabeled the HWC1500) to go up the mast, with two snatch blocks to lead the halyard forward. As I only weigh 165, maybe you need a smaller friend--check the voltage at the windlass under load.
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Old 29-08-2011, 13:51   #7
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

Pull isn't always lift for a winch.

I'm not sure where the difference comes in but in 4wd winches, I always see ratings like "2000 pound pull, 500 pound lift" with a note that they can PULL a much higher number than what their vertical lift ability is.

Heck, I can pull a 20,000# yacht along the dock, but I sure can't LIFT it.<G>
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Old 29-08-2011, 13:56   #8
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

HelloSailor - Basic physics - you *could* lift your boat with the right purchase.
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Old 29-08-2011, 14:38   #9
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Pull isn't always lift for a winch.

I'm not sure where the difference comes in but in 4wd winches, I always see ratings like "2000 pound pull, 500 pound lift" with a note that they can PULL a much higher number than what their vertical lift ability is.

Heck, I can pull a 20,000# yacht along the dock, but I sure can't LIFT it.<G>
Pull is against horizontal gross vehicle weight resistance, lift is against suspension spring compression.
Its the same reason trailers have a tow ball (tongue) weight max.
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Old 29-08-2011, 14:54   #10
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

Billy, physics and purchase has got nothing to do with my own capabilities, or the ratings of a winch.

Using block and tackle and force multipliers is something else entirely and no matter how good you are with them, it still comes down to the capabilities of the "motor" that will limit the whole business.
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Old 29-08-2011, 16:21   #11
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

This one has a max pull of 1500 pounds. That means it will put 1500 pounds of tension on the chain or rode. There has to be something wrong with the winch or power supply.
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Old 29-08-2011, 17:02   #12
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

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This one has a max pull of 1500 pounds. That means it will put 1500 pounds of tension on the chain or rode. There has to be something wrong with the winch or power supply.
RIGHT ON!!!!


I have a Maxwell HWC2200 mounted onto my boat's bow. Currently it is attached to a Delta 88# anchor (until I swap it with an 80# Manson next weekend). It pulls that 88# anchor up as if it was a toothpick. However, it uses 24vdc rather than 12vdc so the there is much less worry about wire sizes and voltage drops. I often wonder why others overlook using 24vdc for their high power loads such as windlasses and thrusters.

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Old 29-08-2011, 17:23   #13
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

We used to use our Lofrans Tigres to take me up the mast frequently. I think the problem you experienced was caused by not going around the mast winch so it would turn freely. By running it that way, you use the resistance to control the descent. I weigh about 200#. Try again.
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Old 29-08-2011, 22:58   #14
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

According to the Maxwell website, your 1500HWC windlass has a stall load rating of 1500 pounds and a working load of 500 pounds.

To determine your required maximum pull capability, complete the calculation below.The only meaningful way to rate anchor winch performance is by looking at what it will lift and at what speed. The two things to consider are (a) the maximum pull capability and (b) the working load of the winch. Maximum pull (sometimes referred to as stall load) is the maximum short term or instantaneous pull of the winch. Working load is generally rated at about one third of the maximum pull and is usually considered to be the load that the winch is pulling once the anchor is off the bottom.

If your windlass is stalling with a 250-300 pound load, its time to measure the voltage across the windlass terminals under load.
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Old 30-08-2011, 05:53   #15
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Re: Using a Windlass to Haul Someone Up the Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Pull isn't always lift for a winch.

I'm not sure where the difference comes in but in 4wd winches, I always see ratings like "2000 pound pull, 500 pound lift" with a note that they can PULL a much higher number than what their vertical lift ability is.

Heck, I can pull a 20,000# yacht along the dock, but I sure can't LIFT it.<G>
Rolling or floating loads require less mechanical effort (“pull”) to move the load (once the initial inertia has been overcome), than would be required to actually hoist (“lift”) that load. As you note, you can pull a heavier load than you can lift.
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