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Old 08-10-2010, 14:22   #1
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Help Selecting Windlass?

I'm about to embark on my next major project - installing a new windlass - and I'm hoping to tap everyone's collective wisdom/experience/mistakes.

The boat is a CT34 (approx. 18k lbs loaded) and I have a 44 lb Rocna. At the moment, the anchor is attached to 40 ft of 3/8" HT chain and another 250ft of 3/4" nylon rode. I would consider going all-chain, but I'd also like to understand whether some combination chain/rope gypsy is worth considering. So, with the current configuration, the windlass would at minimum need to lift about 90lbs.

I'd like to have an electric windlass to make anchoring solo easier, but I'd also like to have a manual crank option in the event of an electrical failure or other unforeseen problems.

The locker is reasonably deep (guessing, but maybe 40' or so), but because of the deck layout, the windlass can't be mounted directly on the centre-line to have a direct line to the bow roller. There are two bow rollers, but I can't think of a way to have the windlass service both.

My apologies in advance - my boat doesn't have a functioning windlass and my previous boats were too small to need one, so I don't know what I don't know...

Anyone have any general configuration recommendations (vertical? horizontal? dual gypsy or no?) or specific product endorsements? I would like something very robust - I'm trying to only install upgrades that will outlive me.

Thanks, as always...


Rob M
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Old 08-10-2010, 14:36   #2
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Originally Posted by RSMacG View Post
... I don't know what I don't know ...
You know the very most important thing - that you need some imformation.

See ➥ Selecting a Windlass

And ➥ Windlass vs Size of Boat

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 08-10-2010, 14:37   #3
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my formosa 41 has a lofrans electric and i am trying to get a simpson lawrence sea witch manual as a backup. i have 5/6 chain, 200 ft. i uwe cqr. i also use bruce and/or danforth. i have secondary with 3/8 chain 100 ft. i want longer chain , less rope rode. i prefer chain 100 percent. i my choice. i dont drag. i am still looking for the sea witch windlass...
an alternative to windlass is use of the mast winches to pull anchor.
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Old 08-10-2010, 14:40   #4
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For something like you have all can is best. My past boat carried 165 ft of 10mm (3/8) chain and was a 33 ft boat . The added weight means the chains lays on the bottom most of the time. For a second rode, partial chain just has to be a good idea. A 34 ft. won't carry 400 ft of chain all that well @ 10 mm (3/8) in the foredeck. You could go high test on the all chain and cut back to 5/16. You can do the math on chain in weight per foot. For a primary I want all chain all the the time.

For a windlass the rule of thumb is 3 times safe working load times the weight of chain all in the water hanging down free. You need to be able to lift the entire rode straight up. When all everything breaks loose hauling it quicker might seem important.

If you plan to travel about you need to be able the deploy and haul back the rode quickly a very small number of times. When it's one of those times you won't care if you saved any money. You have a short heavy boat and a good windlass just can't be ignored.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 08-10-2010, 14:43   #5
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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Fantastic - thank you. I'm embarrassed that I didn't find these off the bat - cheers.
Rob M
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Old 08-10-2010, 14:47   #6
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I will not suggest nor tell you what windlass to purchase but I will share my thoughts back at the time I purchased mine.

I wanted a windlass with a pair of big ones, big enough to jerk a large anchor attached to chain from the bottom without hesitation. I am using an 88# Delta---(great anchor!) with 5/16 HT chain. My choice was the Maxwell HWC2200. I went with a horizontal style rather than vertical because my chain locker has limited space.

I would strongly consider 1/4" HT chain, others will strongly recommend heavier chain. But weight is a concern and I believe 1/4" is adequate. But the Maxwell provided gypsies for 5/16 & 3/8" only.

Another strong consideration was to operate the windlass at as high a voltage as possible. Heck, I would have operated it on 120VAC if something was available. I DO NOT RECOMMEND 12V, others may, I DO NOT!!! The voltage drops in the wiring, the battery connectiions, the batteries themselves results in too high a power loss.

Mine operates from 24vdc. I charge the batteries with an inverter charger, the inverter provides 120VAC for the TV, microwave and that sort of usage. The very last thing I wanted to happen hauling up a heavy anchor was to see the windlass speed decreasing and then coming to a stop because of a dead battery.

With all that stated, those are my ideas that I used when I selected my windlass. Others will have different views.

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Old 08-10-2010, 15:16   #7
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I started by installing a SL manual and soon realized that it was only a minor savings in work and hard on one's back and slow. When I took the decision to cruise an electric windlass was one of the first upgrades. I have a large anchor locker and enough deck space forward to mount a vertical windlass and chose a Maxwell VWC1200 which also can run a second rope on a drum. I bought 200' 5/16" BBB chain and that was back in 1991. I've replaced the chain once and the VWC1200 died - it's aluminum mounting bracket corroded away - everything else was still running 19 yrs on.

The windlass is essential for cruising where you are on the hook every evening (when not underway) and most days. You need to be able to get the anchor up quickly. I have only good things to say about the VWC 1000 vertical which replaced the discontinued 1200 with the same drill pattern. The 1000 moves the chain quickly and the rope drum can be used for going aloft and that is handy for the wife.

It has a crank for manual use when the motor doesn't run, but that is a very very slow process.

It comes in 12v and 24v versions IIRC and you'll need very heavy cables because the draw is substantial and likely have to run your engine when you use the windlass.

I use up and down foot switches with a remote in the cockpit.

You need to study the dimensions and plan carefully because you must have a clear space for the chain to drop and pile up and a fair lead from the bow roller.

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