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Old 18-02-2020, 04:32   #1
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Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Hi,

while realising that this topic has been beaten to death many times before in this forum, i cannot help but to ask for advice and experiences in choosing a windlass.

I have a OE32-cutter, displacing around 7000kg / 15500 lbs. Currently i've got a manual SL 555 windlass, which is fine in itself, but i am stuck with a RCB70 gypsy that accepts 10mm and 3/8 chains (other gypsies exist, but are almost impossible to find), and would very much like to use 8mm DIN chain due to weight. The anchor gear would consist minimum of 60 m / 200 ft of 8mm chain and a 20kg anchor, so that would be at least 105 kg / 230 lbs to haul up, more if i choose to go for full 300 feet of chain.

I have been thinking about buying a vertical windlass with a capstan, perhaps Lofrans X2 or Lewmar VX2+, both with 1000w motors. A couple of other alternatives would be Lofrans Kobra or Tigres, mainly due to budget constraints. Maxwells, Muirs etc. seem to be more expensive.

I do realise that Lofrans' older horizontal windlasses - especially Tigres - enjoy a quite good reputation in terms of reliability, but would probably be a major overkill for my boat (not necessarily a bad thing with windlasses). Kobra seems okay too, at least on the paper. However, vertical windlasses would leave more room at the foredeck and i like the idea of having the motor inside the boat, out of spray and even the wet chain itself. The chain itself will fall all the way down to separate anchor locker under waterline via a large pipe.

Does anyone have any experience in how the Lewmar's new hybrid gypsy will hold up to real life abuse? I know composites can be very tough, but there's a reason why bronze has been used for gypsies for centuries.

Any thoughts on Lofrans X2 vs Lewmar VX2+ ? Any other good choices within the same price range? Haven't been able to find many positive comments on Quick windlasses, but i am willing to change my mind
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Old 18-02-2020, 05:01   #2
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Have you looked into possibly having a new Gypsy machined to fit your existing windlass?
I don’t have any idea of the cost but it may be worth looking into.
Windlass type choice has a lot to do with what will fit on the boat, and I agree with you in that bigger is better, then day your snagged on something you’ll be glad your windlass is oversized.
I have no experience with a composite Gypsy, but wouldn’t want one myself.
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Old 18-02-2020, 05:36   #3
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Some of those earlier CF discussions, which may inform:
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...oat-35420.html
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...lass-1475.html
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...al-142660.html
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Old 18-02-2020, 06:30   #4
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Have you looked into possibly having a new Gypsy machined to fit your existing windlass?
I donít have any idea of the cost but it may be worth looking into.
Windlass type choice has a lot to do with what will fit on the boat, and I agree with you in that bigger is better, then day your snagged on something youíll be glad your windlass is oversized.
I have no experience with a composite Gypsy, but wouldnít want one myself.
Machining a brand new gypsy could work, but i am afraid the total cost of designing/modeling and CNC machining the piece might be quite close to what i'd spend in buying a brand new electric windlass altogether. But i might as well contact a couple of local CNC shops, asking wont cost much.

Perhaps reusing some old gypsy for 8mm DIN could be an option too, if i could find one with reasonably similar outer diameter?

I've however managed to convince myself that life would be much nicer with electric one, so that is what i am looking into. The new hybrid gypsy does sound a bit fishy to me, and seems that Lewmar windlasses do not enjoy a very solid reputation either. But same seems to apply to Lofrans Project / X -series verticals too; corrosion problems seem to be quite common.

I've accepted the fact that i should probably dismantle the new windlass a little bit before even attempting to install it, and put it back together applying rust inhibitor to certain parts (gearcase basket, screw threads, etc...), as it seems that those ones are the most typical parts to rot away prematurely. Lewmar's service schedule actually recommends to annually clean the motor brushes and paint the gearcase and motor with "marine grade oil based enamel paint" if there is any corrosion. I wonder how many boat owners actually do that.

Anyone with any first hand experience on the Lewmars new VX2+ ? On paper it seems to compare quite well against Lofrans X2, and the prices are quite the same too.
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Old 18-02-2020, 09:56   #5
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

IMHO, I strongly prefer the horizontal gypsy and capstan design, and recently went to quite a bit of trouble to put a Tigres on our boat. If anyone wants to hear my reasons, let me know.
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Old 18-02-2020, 10:09   #6
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Then I have had very good service from our vertical, specifically a Maxwell VWC.
On painting yearly, on installation I liberally covered our motor with corrosion preventative, three or so years later still no rust.
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Old 18-02-2020, 10:18   #7
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

baccara,

I used to have a SL 1000 on my prior boat. I found a used 5/16 (8mm) gypsy at a chandlery in Weymouth, England. There are a couple of chandleries, and one of them has a nice supply of used parts. I wish I could remember its name, but you might be able to google and find it. Also, there is a guy in the UK who bought up all the SL parts when they went out of business and still has parts for it although he does charge a pretty penny for them. You might try googling some more, I think you could find one.

That said, I have had vertical windlasses on my boats, I now have a horizontal lofrans. IMHO the horizonals are more reliable. They are easier to work by hand if for any reason that becomes necessary, and it is much easier to get at the motor. I have had to repair vertical windlasses multiple times, won't have one again.
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Old 18-02-2020, 10:31   #8
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by baccara View Post
I've accepted the fact that i should probably dismantle the new windlass a little bit before even attempting to install it, and put it back together applying rust inhibitor to certain parts (gearcase basket, screw threads, etc...), as it seems that those ones are the most typical parts to rot away prematurely. Lewmar's service schedule actually recommends to annually clean the motor brushes and paint the gearcase and motor with "marine grade oil based enamel paint" if there is any corrosion. I wonder how many boat owners actually do that.
That is preposterous. Lewmar is using industrial gear assemblies. I had a Lewmar 1000 years ago and it was misleading advertising. The fine print in the instructions said 1000 pound static load and 750 pound pull. At 750 pound pull (which you didn't know until you read the install instructions) it was way under rated for my boat and ground tackle. I will never buy anything Lewmar again. In my opinion the Lewmar 1000 was a fraud.

I have had two Maxwell windlasses since then, a 1200 and a 1500. The 1200 had an aluminum gear housing and the 1500 has a plastic housing. While the Lewmar gear assembly is a sealed unit and not serviceable the Maxwell has the individual parts available for repair if needed. The only reason I upgraded from the 1200 to the 1500 was that I was in NZ and they had a promotion that was so good it was cheaper to replace than get the old one re-plated. I have never had to paint the Maxwell.

PS. The Maxwell 1500 is now 10 years old and has been flawless.
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Old 18-02-2020, 10:43   #9
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Last year I bought a 1000w Lofrans X1 for my Westerly Storm 33 (10.11m and 5,130kg displacement). I had it professionally fitted. I did not fit a separate battery for the windlass but opted for good quality copper wire to the main battery bank ( 2 x 110A batteries). In any event I only use the windlass when the engine running, so I believe the Alternator is really bearing the load. I also replaced the old CQR anchor with a 15kg Mantus.

I havenít used the Lofrans a lot. Itís now working really well. But I had the stupidest problem for a while which is worth mentioning. The gypsy was turning but it wasnít pulling the chain and anchor in. Having not had an electric windlass on a boat of my own, I couldnít figure out why it was turning but not pulling. So I contacted their support service which, for Europe, is based in Greece. They came back with a number of implausible suggestions including that the problems was that the chain is non-calibrated (so I tried it with calibrated chain - same problem) and then that the chain locker wasnít deep enough. In fact the problem that the gypsy wasnít fully tightened. It was only out by 2 -3mm and once I tightened up it worked like a dream and pulled the anchor without difficulty and with impressive speed.

So, my judgement is that the Lofrans kit is good but their support service could be a lot better. Oh and yes my 8mm chain, which I thought I might have to replace, is not quite the same spec as their Ďcalibrated chainí but it works fine in the windlass.
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Old 18-02-2020, 10:53   #10
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

This is the Scottish company referred to earlier;
Homepage | Simpson Lawrence Yacht Parts & Spares
John McMaster was very helpful in ID'ing my SL gypsy, and providing parts for the windlass. Not sure whether he can source a gypsy for you but worth an email. A lot cheaper than replacing the windlass.
Second possible source is P2 Marine in Maryland;
https://www.p2marine.com/index.php?r...egory&path=128
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Old 18-02-2020, 13:24   #11
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Definitely contact John at SL Spares (sl.spares@btconnect.com ) last month I was able to get a new gypsy for my SL Horizon 1500. I believe these are new after market manufacture but it works perfectly. This has been a heavily used and great windlass for 20+ years. Having to replace with new for lack of a part was frustrating prospect.
After several worse than useless calls to Lewmar ( its bad enough they don't know much about legacy products they are rude and eager to get you off the phone )
Don't know if he has parts for the 555.
John worked for Simpson Lawrence and is the most knowledgeable person I have found about what works and doesn't with the SL products
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Old 18-02-2020, 13:30   #12
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

I have always found Maxwell very easy to deal with . Have had customers even send a couple of feet of chain with the order so they can fit and test.
Guys selling chain are not always dead accurate and a missfit is real troble only when you need it most. Just a thought! Mike Pope
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Old 18-02-2020, 13:33   #13
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by briblack View Post
IMHO, I strongly prefer the horizontal gypsy and capstan design, and recently went to quite a bit of trouble to put a Tigres on our boat. If anyone wants to hear my reasons, let me know.
Well, i'd sure like to hear reasons and experiences on fitting and using Tigres. I've been drooling over Tigres for some quite some time already, it seems quite affordable considering its capacity, and it has been in production for quite some time without major design changes (except more powerful motor?). It is however a little bulky and weighs 28 kilos...
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Old 18-02-2020, 13:37   #14
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by desodave View Post
This is the Scottish company referred to earlier;
Homepage | Simpson Lawrence Yacht Parts & Spares
John McMaster was very helpful in ID'ing my SL gypsy, and providing parts for the windlass. Not sure whether he can source a gypsy for you but worth an email. A lot cheaper than replacing the windlass.
Second possible source is P2 Marine in Maryland;
https://www.p2marine.com/index.php?r...egory&path=128
I actually did contact him earlier. He is very helpful, but the gypsy for 8mm (B80 type) chain is not available anymore. 5/16 HT chain should work with RCB70, but i've understood that type of chain is getting quite rare in Europe.
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Old 18-02-2020, 14:00   #15
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Re: Difficulty in choosing a windlass; Lofrans X2, Lewmar VX2+ etc ...

I bought a Anchorlift 1500 (rated for up to 65" boat- (have 42' sailboat). All SS construction above deck vertical windlass with gypsy. They were very competitive (in USA) and 8 years aalter all is still well.
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