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Old 18-01-2010, 10:38   #1
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Windlass vs Size of Boat

How important is the size of your boat when choosing a windlass?

I haven't found much information about choosing the proper size windlass based on size of boat. Most windlass specs include max and working load which I compared to the wieght of my anchor rode to make sure it was proper. But what about the LOA and displacemnent of your boat? Why are these important stats when choosing a windlass? And where can I find out if the windlass is suitable for my size boat

Some models I am looking at for my 37ft 13,900lb Seidelmann

Lewmar Concept 1 Vertical Electric Windlass
Lewmar V700G Vertical Electric Windlass
Lewmar Pro 1000 Horizontal Electric Windlass
Lofrans Royal Horizontal Manual Windlass

(all priced between $500 - $800)
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Old 18-01-2010, 11:13   #2
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Exit Only weighed 20,000 lbs fully loaded with cruising gear. We had a Lewmar 1200 electric windlass pulling 200 feet of 3/8 inch high test chain and a seventy pound Buegel anchor. It's still going strong after sixteen years.

We rarely stayed in marinas. From Turkey to Trinidad, we never stayed in a marina, so you can see that we had a hard working windlass.
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Old 18-01-2010, 12:09   #3
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Yacht size/displacement is irrelevant. It is the weight of the rode and ground tackle that matter to the windlass. Figure the weight of your chain/rode for the greatest depth you are likely to anchor in, add the physical weight of the anchor, triple or quintuple that ("Safety Factor" of 300% or 400%) and select a sindlass accordingly. For example:

100 feet of 3/8" BBB chain at 1.67#/foot = 167# plus a 45# CQR =212#.

Minimum Windlass capacity = 636# = 212# x 3.

Before buying anything, ensure that your bow-roller is sufficient for the weight it may have to endure.
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Old 18-01-2010, 12:40   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Yacht size/displacement is irrelevant.

That's kinda what I was hoping. I contacted Lewmar directly and they said the V700G was for boats 20 - 35ft and the Concept 1 was for boats 35 - 45ft. I don't really understand why tho.
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Old 18-01-2010, 13:46   #5
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I guess that size/displacement does determine the size of the anchor windlass, indirectly, because the size & displacement of the boat will be a primary factor in determining the size of your anchor / chain / rode.
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Old 18-01-2010, 13:50   #6
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So as long as the windlass I choose passes the anchor weight test then I'm good to go?

Thanks!
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Old 18-01-2010, 14:00   #7
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The reason that they suggest models by boat size is that this is not an exact science. Figuring out the weight of your rode and anchor is exact but that does not include the force required to break out and any horizontal forces on the rode.

Manufacturers of small windlasses like you to use your engine to motor up on the anchor so that the windlass does not have to do the work. It can be annoying to always start the engine in order to get under way but it works fine as long as you have two people. For the solo sailors, their windlass will need to pull the boat up to the anchor so it needs to be larger. This is a case where boat size does matter a lot.

The other thing to consider is the breakout force. Again, if you are motoring, you can use the engine to do this but if you are alone, you are more likely to use the windlass to do it. Different anchors have different breakout forces and it depends on the bottom.

I tend to like having everything related to ground tackle to be oversized but it costs more to do that and adds more weight to your boat. So it depends on what your priorities are and how you envision using your windlass. If you have ever tried hauling anchor in 50 knots of wind, you will understand how hard your windlass has to work to do that.
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Old 19-01-2010, 00:15   #8
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For the solo sailors, their windlass will need to pull the boat up to the anchor so it needs to be larger.
I can't see the need for that. I'm a solo sailor and in any kind of wind I motor up to the anchor and use the cockpit switch for the windlass.
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Old 19-01-2010, 01:32   #9
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Hi bright eyes,
lovely name by the way!
All the above is good advice, but to add a few bits: your ground tackle ( anchor, rode & chain) is one of the most important bits of safety gear on your boat. The right size anchor and above all enough chain will keep your boat off the rocks or what ever, but it is heavy! Go a size up in windlass (anchor winch), the extra money is worth the peace of mind and do run the engine while you run the windlass - they draw a heap of power! Displacement, length etc are a guide not a rule!
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Old 19-01-2010, 02:59   #10
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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Yacht size/displacement is irrelevant...
I respectfully disagree. Since I singlehand on my boat I don't have anyone at the helm to put the boat into forward gear and remove all tension from the anchoring system. I use the windlass carefully to pull the boat towards the anchor and, when the angle approaches vertical, to lift the anchor up and into the boat. With a stiff breeze this takes a while since I use the sailing-at-anchor and vertical wave motion to "play" the chain so that I don't overstress the windlass. Thus I feel that windlass size is also affected by boat weight and displacement.
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Old 19-01-2010, 03:25   #11
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Hi Zanshin
very wise, but it sounds like you do have the engine running while you are doing all this! I did recommend a large windlass! point: I was 2 hours out of Cairns harbour when hit by a mini gale of 40 - 50 knots, had to anchor up behind a small island with a vertical reverse slope and 250' of chain ( all I had) and didn't sleep much that night. A lot for the windlass to pull up when it was still blowing 25 knots next morning. Yes I do believe in a good size windlass and if possible all chain ground tackle - which is heavy!
Above 25-30 knots you should have 10 - 15 times of chain relative to the depth of water you are anchoring in. I also had the experience when delivering a boat from Miami to St.Thomas that the gearbox stopped working, but the engine still worked! when you've done a lot of it you come across a lot of things.
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Old 19-01-2010, 15:31   #12
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As a practical matter, yacht size is sometimes referenced as a basis for windlass size recommendation as a substitute for anchor gear calculations simply because yachts of a certain size range tend to have ground tackle matched to that size. One is as unlikely to find 3/8 chain and a 45 Lb or 55 Lb anchor on a 29 foot yacht as one is to find chain and a 20 Lb anchor on a 40 foot yacht.

As for hauling a yacht up to ones anchor with a windlass, even in significant winds, that is really not so much an issue so long as one leads the rode through a chain stopper (as one should) and hauls as the chain slackens with each passing wave. As the bow rises to the subsequent wave and the chain tightens, the chain paw in the stopper, and not the gypsy and windlass drive, takes the load; and, of course, as the rode shortens, the tension in the chain is decreased, lessening the load on the chain stopper or windlass, until, up-and-down, one is only lifting the rode and anchor with the windlass.

FWIW
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Old 19-01-2010, 16:22   #13
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We use a Maxwell V3000, 400 foot of 3/8 G4 and either a 110 CQR or a 176 Claw. It seems to pull everything up fine but we tend to motor to the anchor.
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Old 19-01-2010, 18:02   #14
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windlass retreival rate

Aside from the windlass power rating the most overlooked specification is retreival rate under load; the faster the better. For "12V" operation the retreival rate is directly related to voltage and, therefore, it is beneficial to have a high-output alternator (100A or so) that can guarantee a high retreival rate.

For cruisers that have to get underway in a hurry because of increasing wind and wave height retreival rate is paramount to keep from bashing and falling off when raising anchor.
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Old 19-01-2010, 18:45   #15
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Windage.
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