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Old 17-04-2019, 07:18   #1
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Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

Been a CF voyeur for a long time... first post. I have a 1995 Benni Oceanis 400 (40'), with original electric windlass- Horizon Express 1000 watts. It's malfunctioning, badly corroded and needs at least an overhaul, and probably parts, which will be hard to get since this unit was discontinued in 2003 and the manufacturer, Simpson-Lawrence is out of business. So I have decide first if I revive this one, or replace.

If I decide to replace, the question arises as to whether I should go with another electric windlass, or keep it simple with a manual one. 99% of my anchoring is done in shallow water (less than 20ft) in Biscayne Bay (Miami) and occasionally the Keys or Bahamas so total chain extended is usually under 100ft.... 150ft max.

I personally prefer KISS (keep it simple, stupid), I have a tight budget, and am in pretty good physical condition (for a 63 year old), so I lean toward a manual solution, but would appreciate input from savvier sailors?

Thanks!
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Old 17-04-2019, 07:36   #2
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

What sized chain, what sized anchor?
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Old 17-04-2019, 09:13   #3
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

If you go electric you want to make sure it has the option to raise manually.
For a vertical axis model that means a winch handle which will max out at about 12” or so.
For a horz axis windlass doubling the length of the handle from 30” to 5’ is possible.
You want about a 25:1 gearing for manual operation so look to see what the gearing is with a stock handle and what you can achieve by upsizing.

If you decide on manual then you need to decide what you are going to get. You can get a new Loftans Royale or a used Simpson-Lawrence Seatiger 555 2-speed.
Personally if I was outfitting a larger boat around 35-38’ I would go for the Seatiger. There are websites that stock parts.
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Old 17-04-2019, 10:54   #4
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

Stu, Anchor is 20KG (44lb) Bruce. The chain is 3/8". Thanks!

Adelie, thanks for the input. The current windlass is horizontal, and enclosed below the anchor locker lid. Interestingly that a couple of sources talk about manual options up to 39'. Since mine is 40' wondering if I should discard manual options....???
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Old 17-04-2019, 11:20   #5
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

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Old 17-04-2019, 11:28   #6
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

My take is that the 40’ cutoff is approximate. It does argue for the 2-speed Seatiger though if you go manual.

What you use the boat for should inform you decision.
If you are coastal cruising in developed countries then service and parts for an electrical model will be easier to source.
If you go with an electrical model you will need to consider secondary costs such as really heavy battery cables to the bow or an extra battery in the bow plus a relay charger and wiring to support that.

Given the tight budget I would go for the Seatiger 555 if you can find one with the 3/8” gypsy or you can find one where the extra £252 for the 3/8” gypsy is still cost effective.
Parts for Seatiger 555 Windlass | Simpson Lawrence Yacht Parts & Spares

Remember that whatever you get manual or electric, you need a well backed chain stopper to carry anchor loads, the windlass is strictly for raising and lowering.
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Old 17-04-2019, 11:40   #7
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

555 are great but even used ones fetch a premium price, as much as a manual/electric lofrans, or you can get a manual lofrans for less than half the price. I’m in the same boat and on the fence.
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Old 17-04-2019, 11:44   #8
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

If you have had, and are accustomed to, an electric winch you are not going to be happy with regressing to a manual.

Winches can have two lives.

Years ago I was pulling the anchor with my vertical shaft winch when it quit pulling. On disassembly I found that the brass pinion part had worn out, the steel worm was still OK. Easy Peasy, buy another one. The price of the replacement left me aghast.

Since I had a small lathe and am handy with tools and have problems filling my days I decided to salvage the motor and capstan shaft from the old one, buy an industrial worm drive gearbox and build a horizontal shaft windlass.

A few bushings and adapter plates later and I was installing an industrial looking anchor winch on the bow of my boat. It's still there and working perfectly.

I'd disassemble the old one and if the worm drive gears are not worn rebuild the old one rather than go manual.
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Old 17-04-2019, 14:20   #9
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbartley View Post
Stu, Anchor is 20KG (44lb) Bruce. The chain is 3/8". Thanks!

Adelie, thanks for the input. The current windlass is horizontal, and enclosed below the anchor locker lid. Interestingly that a couple of sources talk about manual options up to 39'. Since mine is 40' wondering if I should discard manual options....???
I use a Lofrans manual windlass with a 60# anchor and all-chain rode (5/16"). I'm healthy, but 72 years old. It's no strain at all, except once the anchor hits the roller; then it requires some force to lever the anchor up and over.

The simplicity of a manual windlass is worth the slight effort, to me.

(Lofrans did think the anchor was too heavy for their windlass, but I've been using it for 8 years with no trouble.)

Fair winds,
Jack
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Old 18-04-2019, 01:58   #10
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

Greetings and belated welcome aboard the CF, JS.

Homepage | Simpson Lawrence Yacht Parts & Spares carry some Simpson Lawrence Anchor Windlass Spares.
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Old 18-04-2019, 04:48   #11
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

I used the Lofrans Royale for two years, on one of our previous boats, (5/16 chain and 33 lb Bruce) and it really does do the job.

If there's a vote, I'd vote for the Royale, over the Simpson 555.

Cheers.
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Old 18-04-2019, 05:04   #12
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

Lofrans manual for sure.

Been using them for many years and never a failure. It's easy to operate and you just methodically keep cranking at a comfortable pace. Before you know it the anchor is up. They also veer out the chain smoothly and under complete control.

Nothing ever goes wrong with these.

Don't worry about the suggested boat or anchor size. 3/8 BBB, more modern HT, 60lbs anchor, 50ft boat. Not an issue.
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Old 18-04-2019, 05:12   #13
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbartley View Post
...

If I decide to replace, the question arises as to whether I should go with another electric windlass, or keep it simple with a manual one. 99% of my anchoring is done in shallow water (less than 20ft) in Biscayne Bay (Miami) and occasionally the Keys or Bahamas so total chain extended is usually under 100ft.... 150ft max.

I personally prefer KISS (keep it simple, stupid), I have a tight budget, and am in pretty good physical condition (for a 63 year old), so I lean toward a manual solution, but would appreciate input from savvier sailors?

Thanks!
At the time we acquired our boat, it was equipped with with a SL 555 "Sea Tiger" manual windlass that was in good working order. As we too are sailing and anchoring in "thin" water on the southwest coast of Florida, I was quite happy with the windlass even though I have only partial use of my left arm due to an accident many years ago. However, hauling in 100+ feet of 3/8" BBB chain at 8" per throw was a pretty fair workout, even in calm winds or modest tidal streams. Our decision to convert to an electric windlass came after a night of terrific weather that required us to haul and reset the anchor several times in quick succession in torrential wind and rain with the bow rising and falling like a bucking horse. We managed but it was terrifically difficult and an effort I would not care to repeat.

With that I installed a Maxwell Vertical Axis windlass and sold the SL 555 (through an advertisement in this forum) to a young man on the Pacific north west that was equipping his boat for an extended cruise and didn't want to have to rely on electrics although I forewarned him of the effort the Windlass would require in rough conditions. (I learned later that he too had decided to switch to electric after a similar situation in Mexico.)

In summary, while "KISS" sounds good, there are times when labor saving devices such as a good strong electric windlass, properly installed and powered, are worth their weight... Believe me. Particularly in the Keys and/or Bahamas where good holding may be hard to find and require repeated efforts.

FWIW...
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Old 18-04-2019, 08:28   #14
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

I will keep my answer simple, as you prefer :-)

Electric.

You are welcome ;-)
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Old 18-04-2019, 08:34   #15
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Re: Windlass replacement?.... manual or electric?

Electric....guess how old you'll be next year??...and it keeps getting worse.
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