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Old 11-07-2009, 12:20   #1
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Best Vertical Chain / Rode Windlass?

Hi!
I just joined up and can't believe I haven't know about you all for the last... 23 years of cruising. Looks like a wealth of knowlege here, and other stuff.

My old Maxwell VWC1200 just died so I have a useless boat until I can get a new one - it's a crucial decision for me, and I'm sure for others too.

I am trying to decide between a Maxwell VWC1500, a Lemar V3GD and a Quick Antares 1512D. The Maxwell is a drop-in for my deck features but it doesn't handle rode and has lousy manual recovery. I loved my old VWC1200, same problems though and I thought the drive-train could be more efficient. The Quick is a weird unknown to me but looks really great and East-coasters swear by them. Italian Bling? The Lewmar V3G looks great and may be underpowered unless the drivetrain is really efficient. Though Practical Sailor has good info on a few windlasses the selection they reviewed is hit-or-miss and typically for smaller vessels.

Any advice out there?
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Old 11-07-2009, 13:59   #2
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I bought a v3 to replace dead quick. Both have motors made in same plant in Italy. V3 has served well but has only been in service for 6 months. Manual recovery requires extra kit which I haven't bought yet. I almost bought an anchorlift but transportation was an issue at the time. Seemed price versus features had anchorlift ahead. Welcome to forum.
Steve
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Old 11-07-2009, 17:53   #3
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Thanks!

I took your advice Forsail and started looking at Anchorlift, and I like what I saw. It does appear to have the best combination of power and price, brutish in fact for the same $ or less than the other makers' next classes down. It doesn't have the bling, which is fine, as long as it's all stainless and bronze, which it is. An added bonus is that it looks like it will swallow a larger chain/rope splice or link than either the Lewmar, Maxwell or Quick windlasses.

I have been at scouring the internet for a week now yet Anchor Lift did not appear on my radar until your tip. Thanks again Forsail.
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:53   #4
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In what respect did the VW1200 fail? We have one that has, thus far, worked very well and I be interested in what to keep watch for.

Regards,

s/v HyLyte
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:25   #5
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I have lots of experience with the VWC and have only good things to say. I have limited experience with a Lewmar and it sucked frankly.

I keep waiting fore my windlass to croak and the only thing that happened is a blown fuse in 18 yrs.
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Old 12-07-2009, 14:29   #6
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One of the failures was certainly my fault. I didn't look at or change the gearbox lube since I bought the boat used (ain't broke don't fix it philosophy). The upper GB seal went bad and water got in and rusted the worm and the ball bearings it's mounted on. The seals go bad with age, not necessarily wear, but especially if the fiber reinforced bush at the deck level wears thus allowing fore-aft slop to work it.

Second failure was that the motor field and armature windings shorted. That was caused either by water intrusion, a bad circuit breaker or both. Insufficient size wire can also accelerate burnout with the series-wound motors, I intend to check voltage drop in operation when I get the new windlass.

That being said, The darn thing still retrieved my all-chain rode and 55lb CQR on a cold start after 3-1/2 years of no use with two serious shorts, a rusted worm with one of the bearings frozen to it - it's outer race simply spun in it's non-press-fit bore, which is an important redundancy. This all a testament to Maxwell's durability I'd say. The Maxwell or any other solid windlass should last a long-long time if you:

1) Service and lube your windlass regularly, replace seals & O-rings
2) Check that breaker and install a backup fuse
3) Have an alternator/starter shop overhaul the motor, about $100-$150 if done before the thing goes south

I haven't decided which windlass yet, but Lewmar is off the list based on cost and a number of testimonies I've found including this thread. It looks like I can get a lot more pull for fewer $ with a Quick or Anchorlift. I have learned a great deal about the ins and outs of the various brands this week if any body is interested. Windlass Truth reasearch is very time consuming.
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Old 12-07-2009, 16:34   #7
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If you decide you don't want lewmar you may as well cross off quick too. They are very similiar and motors both from same plant. When I tried to contact Quick customer service there was no callback multiple times. I gave up.
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Old 12-07-2009, 23:56   #8
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The thing I like most about the Quick is the manual recovery with a spring-loaded pawl. It does look a lot like the Lemar, as you say. How did your Quick fail? What was the wattage of your Quick and how did it compare to your new Lewmar?

Does the Lewmar motor have the watertight housing like the Quick? I figured the Brits would use a Lucas. Some of the older Anchorlifts I saw on the web had enclosed motors that looked identical to the Quick motors. Any Idea who makes them and/or the Lewmar motors?

I nixed the Lewmar V3GD primarily because I can't find it for less than $1900, plus more $ for manual recovery and the motor is only 1000W. It looks like a beautiful chunk of metal and Practical Sailor liked it.

The internet drop shippers have some outrageous prices on the 1500W Quick, but no one has any, and there is no ETA from Quick USA. One guy in Quebec City has one for $990 US but it doesn't have a drum. 1500W Anchorlifts are available in my budget but no manual recovery, ever. I digress... your thoughts are appreciated.
Mark
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