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Old 11-07-2012, 14:00   #1
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Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

My 30 feet-3.5t-cat-candidate does not have a windlass. What do you guys think - to mount an electrical windlass or not ?
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:06   #2
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

Unless you are over 90 years old I would say a windlass is unnecessary.
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:13   #3
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

My Tennant Tourissimo 32' was a breeze with a Lewmar mechanical anchor winch, 3/8 short link gets heavy especially in a bit of chop, i'd stick to simple mechanical on a boat that size......
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:16   #4
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The cost of the wiring will be almost the same as an electric windlass itself.

A manual takes longer, but it works. A lot depends on how much you're paying out regularly and your fitness.
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:33   #5
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

at what size anchor and boat would you guys recommend an electric windlass be used?

Said another way:
What is the largest anchor and lenght of chain you would pull up:-)
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:40   #6
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

I've had a 6 tonne 35 ft steel sloop with a 35lb plough and 100ft 3/8 chain and it worked well as a manual setup.

It's more the convenience, your strength than anything else. KISS = manual, they work very well and are as reliable as you can expect.....
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:41   #7
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

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at what size anchor and boat would you guys recommend an electric windlass be used?

Said another way:
What is the largest anchor and lenght of chain you would pull up:-)
I still pull up a 33# Bruce and 3/8 chain by hand, no windlass on my CS36M. My deepest anchorage up here is 20 feet so at worst I am hauling the combined weight of the anchor and about 25 feet of chain and a few pounds of mud. Getting a bit more difficult these days but I'm still doing it. Not too often, but a dozen times a season.

OTOH I just love my electric windlass on my B393.
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:44   #8
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

I used an electric windless for 300' of 5/16 chain and a 44 lb bruce and was quite happy with it.

I installed the electric windless when I upgraded from 200' of rope rode with 50ft of chain and a 33lb bruce.
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:47   #9
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

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I still pull up a 33# Bruce and 3/8 chain by hand, no windlass on my CS36M. My deepest anchorage up here is 20 feet so at worst I am hauling the combined weight of the anchor and about 25 feet of chain and a few pounds of mud. Getting a bit more difficult these days but I'm still doing it. Not too often, but a dozen times a season.

OTOH I just love my electric windlass on my B393.
Could you pull up a 33# Rocna? J/K I could not resist.

****Thanks guys for the information in regards to your experiences pulling the anchor****


I just got my new anchor today and it is a 35# . I was wondering what others did in regards to pulling it up. Good to hear that I'm not the only one who wants to pull it up. I did not know if it would be to much and figured to ask others in regards to chain plus anchor weight.
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:55   #10
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

For single handing, an electric windlass is a safety factor as well as being a lot more convenient than either hauling the anchor rode in by hand or with a manual windlass. With my vertical windlass, can haul in the chain from the cockpit while I drive the boat up on the anchor. Minimum strain on the windlass and I'm in the cockpit where I can control the boat. Came in very handy when I was anchored in 30k winds with my stern 20' or so off a bulkhead. No room to maneuver, too strong a wind to pull the anchor up by hand and no time to run back to the cockpit to power off the bulkhead once the anchor broke free. I just stayed in the cockpit, powered over the anchor as the windlass stowed the chain and continued on out of the anchorage with little fuss.

Had a manual windlass on my old 20,000# boat with 3/8" chain and a CQR 45. It worked fine but was slow retrieving the anchor. Fortunately had my wife to drive the boat up on the anchor while I cranked on the windlass. Did pull all 230' of chain and the anchor from vertical in one super deep anchorage that we never found the bottom in.
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:06   #11
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

Most of the weight is in the chain, not the anchor so the depth of water and the chain size are major factors in how practical it is without an electric windlass.

Do not underestimate the safety aspect of an electric winch
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:12   #12
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

If you cant retrieve fast once you start retrieving in a hard blow or when being blown out of an anchorage in heavy wind chop, it could be catastrophic. I would say put a fast windlass on.
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:20   #13
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

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If you cant retrieve fast once you start retrieving in a hard blow or when being blown out of an anchorage in heavy wind chop, it could be catastrophic. I would say put a fast windlass on.
I have found that in a hard blow you haul in a few feet at a time as the boat goes from one tack to the other. It helps if you have someone on the helm but it is a slow process.
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:21   #14
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

The problem hauling chain by hand becomes really apparent and quite dangerous when swell/chop or waves have sprung up in your anchorage, crushed fingers, strained back they are all possible....
Lifting by hand is not for everyone.
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:26   #15
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Re: Single handed anchoring - el. windlass required

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The problem hauling chain by hand becomes really apparent and quite dangerous when swell/chop or waves have sprung up in your anchorage, crushed fingers, strained back they are all possible....
Lifting by hand is not for everyone.
They say nine's enough for anyone. But you are correct, You've got to cleat it off fast when the going gets tough. As for a strained back I've found the best approach to weighing anchor by hand is to sit flat on the foredeck with feet straight out, braced on whatever and only use the upper body to haul.
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