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Old 07-10-2015, 10:51   #1
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Manual Anchor Windlass- single vs 2 speed

I have no windlass on my boat at present. I have an old ABI single speed manual windlass sitting on the garage shelf I have planned on installing. It is the roundish style. It is fairly low profile and could be mounted inside the anchor well and still allow the lid to close. Recently, I have been considering changing plans to a two speed SL 555 style (or better yet an ABI bronze) windlass. It would have to be mounted on deck. Might be easier to use rather than fooling with the lid, but would be in the way to some extent and snag sheets, etc.

My prior boat had a two speed manual windlass and all chain 5/16" rode and I usually just pulled the chain by hand, using the gypsy primarily for its ratcheting feature. Much faster than cranking the handle and I did not mind the physical exertion. I erxpect most people use the high speed and only rarely the lower speed. I do not know the gear ratios on either windlass which is probably a critical issue.

I know there are many proponents of electric windlasses, but I have a smaller boat (15K displ) and prefer simplicity.

Seeking input on two aspects-

on deck vs in anchor well?

single vs two speed - how useful is low gear and does anyone know the relative ratios of the ABI single to hi gear on a two speed?
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:14   #2
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Re: Manual Anchor Windlass- single vs 2 speed

Some considerations regarding in the locker:

Will it allow complete range of the handle swing?

I'm not sure most anchor lockers are strong enough built.

What to do with lead of the chain coming out? It will rub on the deck on the way to the bow roller, so you need a guide roller of some sort?


The angle of the chain up to the roller will give even less chain securely in the gypsy, this is a problem with some horizontal windlasses anyway.

Dealing with a chain jam or etc will require you to get down and try to sort it out in the low locker.

Based on the above I would likely prefer on deck location, although it has drawbacks like interference with dingy stored on deck, catching lines when tacking etc.
Two speed or single would likely be fine with me, I usually want it fast as possible.

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Old 07-10-2015, 12:04   #3
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Re: Manual Anchor Windlass- single vs 2 speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Some considerations regarding in the locker:

Will it allow complete range of the handle swing? yes

I'm not sure most anchor lockers are strong enough built. will need to be reinforced, a miserable overhead fiberglass job

What to do with lead of the chain coming out? It will rub on the deck on the way to the bow roller, so you need a guide roller of some sort?
either a stainless or plastic sacrificial rub strip


The angle of the chain up to the roller will give even less chain securely in the gypsy, this is a problem with some horizontal windlasses anyway. Good point I had not considered

Dealing with a chain jam or etc will require you to get down and try to sort it out in the low locker. anchor well is low, like 7 or 8 inches


Based on the above I would likely prefer on deck location, although it has drawbacks like interference with dingy stored on deck, catching lines when tacking etc.
Two speed or single would likely be fine with me, I usually want it fast as possible.
thanks for the thoughts
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:11   #4
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Re: Manual Anchor Windlass- single vs 2 speed

I mounted an electric vertical in side the locker once, but with a twist:


I built a heavy aluminum bracket that bolted to the bulkhead behind the anchor locker. Had more or less an L shape with gussets the windlass bolted onto it.
The center of the bracket was a 4" alum tube. This had a flange on the bottom and bolted to the bottom of the anchor locker allowing chain thru to the storage below.
The windlass sat mostly above deck with the lid fitting closely around it.
I cut the locker lid to clear the windlass shape.
The locker still opened, but the windlass had a fair lead to the roller.
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Old 07-10-2015, 13:14   #5
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Re: Manual Anchor Windlass- single vs 2 speed

I have a seatiger 555 manual 2-speed windlass. It does catch sheets occasionally but so rarely that I haven't found it to be a problem. The only time i have ever used the low-speed is when i've been doing jobs other than hauling in anchor chain and it has been really handy for those jobs, but not so much for anchor work (except for one time when i pulled up an entire coral head (already dead, thankfully!) with the anchor when i first got the windlass. I didn't know how difficult it should be so i thought it was normal, started puffing and wheezing away and discovered why it was so tough!)
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Old 07-10-2015, 13:33   #6
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Re: Manual Anchor Windlass- single vs 2 speed

I also use a 555 windlass and rarely use the low speed option. The few times that I have were when the anchor was well burried and with the rode vertical. However, a bit of patience and a some small waves would have broken the anchor free just as well.

As far as mechanical advantage goes: The high-speed gear (on a 555) moves the chain about 6 inches per stroke (depending on how far one moves the handle) and the low speed only about 2 inches. Above data is from distant memory and may be a little inaccurate.

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Old 07-10-2015, 14:15   #7
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Re: Manual Anchor Windlass- single vs 2 speed

I had a 2 speed manual - ABI - but never used the high speed and only used the low speed for the final lift. Boat was a 20,000lb cutter, 37ft. Anchor a 45lb Manson Supreme with all 3/8" BBB chain. Like you I brought it in by hand. Sometimes I lifted it straight up on deck by hand, sometimes I used the low speed on the ABI. Not too hard when you regularly anchor in 10 to 15 feet of water.
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