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Old 17-01-2014, 17:28   #16
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HOWEVER! When I single hand - the VWC1200 is not nearly enough windlass. There have been several instances where I was afraid I was going to have serious problems when strong onshore winds and waves suddenly appeared and I was alone.

The VWC 1200 can not pull the boat into 4 foot waves and 30 knot winds without the assistance of the Yanmar diesel. At those times I really wished I had spent the extra money for the VWC2500! I could either operate the windlass from the bow or motor forward, steering from the wheel in the cockpit but I could not do both.

*****

TS, if I were in your position, I'd surely devise a remote control for the windlass. Could be wireless (folks describe using a cheap garage door opener as a basis) or hardwired.

Then you could drive from the cockpit and get the anchor clear of the bottom, possibly even catted home without needing to go to the foredeck. Final stowage completed at your leisure.

Cheers,

Jim
Getting the hook up in adverse conditions is one of the most difficult things to do single handed (esp w no windlass!). I'm installing a new windlass (Maxwell) and have a wired rocker to install at the helm plus a wireless remote (with chain counter display!). Full retail on many wireless remotes is crazy expensive (I got mine wholesale so not quite so crazy) considering they are electrically no more complex than a garage door opener. Sure am looking forward to it.

OP: 3/8 HT seems like way overkill for a tri. You should be well within the WLL of 5/16 HT and save a lot of weight and $s.
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Old 18-01-2014, 06:22   #17
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

The people recommending a 2500 windless are probably the same people carrying a 66 lbs anchor on a 15,000 lbs boat. They will always go oversize and over weight on anchoring gear, which in 99% of your anchoring does no good.

1500 is a good size for your boat and I agree Belizesailor, 5/16 HT is better for your boat.
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Old 18-01-2014, 06:38   #18
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Full retail on many wireless remotes is crazy expensive (I got mine wholesale so not quite so crazy) considering they are electrically no more complex than a garage door opener. Sure am looking forward to it.
These sort of wireless remote controls are worth considering.
Heavy Duty Wireless Winch Remote Control Unit KIT 12V FOR Jeep ATV SUV | eBay

They are cheap Chinese junk. What do expect for $10 with two handsets , but surprisingly seem reasonably reliable. Just make sure they are only a back up.
It is easy to wire up multiple switches for anchor winch. A switch at the helm is a good idea, but wireless controls are very convenient.

If nothing else fitting a wireless remote will make you understand how your winch solenoids are wired. Solenoid failure is quite common so this is worth knowing. Once you understand the wiring configuration it is easy by bypass a defective solenoid and you will be able to temporally fix the most common cause of anchor winch failure.
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Old 18-01-2014, 07:19   #19
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

My experience:

Shiva is 16,000# deep fin sloop who dances a jig on anchor.
She has 200' 5/16" chain rode and the main anchor is a 35#CQR
I lived aboard and cruised the Caribbean with a Maxwell Nilson VWC1200 and had no problems whatsoever.

The aluminum bracket corroded and I replaced it with a VWC 1000. It's fine but not a powerful.

You don't want to use the windlass to pull the boat especially into winds and seas. Too much strain on it. You want to use the weight of the chain to pull a catenary causing the boat to make way toward the anchor. As it does you can run the windlass to remove the catenary which reforms and continues to propel the boat toward the anchor. In light or no winds this works a charm. The more wind the less this will work and you'll have to motor up to the anchor and use the windlass to retrieve the chain. This is difficult for single handers. In that case I use a cockpit a mounted remote control for the windlass... drive the boat to the anchor and retrieve with the remote control.

Admittedly I do MOST of my anchor work in winds less than 15-18 knots... and only use the motor to drive to the anchor at 18 or above. The motor is on when I use the windlass because the battery drain demands the recharging.

I seriously don't think that the windlass could retrieve all the chain and anchor if deployed in 250' of water. But I never tried.

Once conditions were so rough I floated the anchor and left it and returned in calm conditions to retrieve the tackle.
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Old 18-01-2014, 10:45   #20
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
The people recommending a 2500 windless are probably the same people carrying a 66 lbs anchor on a 15,000 lbs boat. They will always go oversize and over weight on anchoring gear, which in 99% of your anchoring does no good.

1500 is a good size for your boat and I agree Belizesailor, 5/16 HT is better for your boat.
We just had one of those 2am 1% of the time deals and boy, bigger would have been better!
50 knot winds, seaweed in the chain etc.. Our usually fine windless really struggled. In the case of our windless another 500w of power was another $1000 so we cheaped out. However like you said, most of the time you don't need it but we almost went aground and $1000 is nothing compared to that.
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Old 18-01-2014, 11:03   #21
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

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Originally Posted by Guy View Post
We just had one of those 2am 1% of the time deals and boy, bigger would have been better!
50 knot winds, seaweed in the chain etc.. Our usually fine windless really struggled. In the case of our windless another 500w of power was another $1000 so we cheaped out. However like you said, most of the time you don't need it but we almost went aground and $1000 is nothing compared to that.
You should be powering up to the anchor, not pulling with the windlass...right? are you pulling with the windlass?
If the OP is singlehanding and has to pull with the windlass at times then bigger might be better....
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Old 18-01-2014, 11:42   #22
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

Sandero said:
"I seriously don't think that the windlass could retrieve all the chain and anchor if deployed in 250' of water. But I never tried."

I think it could based on personal experience.

Midnight - 40 gusting to 55 knots dead off shore. Anchored with 200' of 3/8" BBB and a Bruce 44. The closest light source was way over the horizon and it was very, very dark. We had not seen another boat for over a week so it was very, very remote.

We had just spent three hours watching a movie of questionable artistic value but none the less entertaining. I had been keeping an eye on the wind gauge repeater at the nav station.

Eventually went topside and looked around but saw no sign of shore. Turned on the radar and could not find shore with the range at 1/2 mile as I usually keep it for anchor duty. Eventually realized we had drifted two miles out to sea dragging the anchor and chain behind us.

Depth sounder could not find the bottom so we know it was over 50 fathoms.

The VWC1200 had no problem pulling all that chain (200 some feet ~300 pounds) and the 44 pound windlass.

Re-anchored with a Fortress FX-55.
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Old 18-01-2014, 13:16   #23
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

I think the 1200 is fine. + one more for having a control station at the helm. Having said that with unlimited funds I would go bigger. And yes I am one of the guys who has a hard time thinking an anchor can be too big, a boat can be too strong or a woman can be too beautiful.
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Old 18-01-2014, 13:25   #24
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

Several years ago I single handed for almost a year and anchored at least 100 times.

1. I only used the windless to pull in anchor chain without the engine in light winds. In anything over 10 kts I would motor forward, take in 20' of chain, motor forward, ....

2. You definitely need a helm rocker windless switch so you can easily do the above.

3. Do you really want to risk your fingers getting ground up when a cheap Chinese or even American made wireless remote control fails?

4. A capstan is useful. I used it to kedge off a number of times. I would dinghy out my spare anchor which only had 30' of chain and the rest rode. I used a snatch block on the bow pulpit to run the lead true to the capstan and then winched myself off.

I'll tell you a short story. About the 4th day of single handing I was anchored in a protected cove, but with wind and rain. The boat had a wired remote and I just left in on the deck rather than putting it below in the locker. At about 3:00 (all bad stuff happens at 3:00 AM, right?) I was awakened by a horrible clatter. I was sleeping right under the windless. It lasted for 5 seconds and stopped.

I rushed out on deck and discovered that the remote control had shorted and turned the windless on. It brought in enough chain to foul up the snubber on the windless capstan and then tripped the breaker. I unplugged the remote, cleared the fouled chain, reset the snubber and went back to bed.

Two lessons learned. Never leave the wired remote laying out on deck. And always trip the windless breaker after you are finished using it.

David
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Old 18-01-2014, 17:39   #25
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
You should be powering up to the anchor, not pulling with the windlass...right? are you pulling with the windlass?
If the OP is singlehanding and has to pull with the windlass at times then bigger might be better....
In conditions like we had the bow will take off in a heart beat. You use power the windlass, screaming anything you got. A load of seaweed in the chain will jamb up a windless also. So in the real world of dealing with a crisis, bigger is better, I have no doubt.
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Old 18-01-2014, 19:48   #26
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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
These sort of wireless remote controls are worth considering.
Heavy Duty Wireless Winch Remote Control Unit KIT 12V FOR Jeep ATV SUV | eBay

They are cheap Chinese junk. What do expect for $10 with two handsets , but surprisingly seem reasonably reliable. Just make sure they are only a back up.
It is easy to wire up multiple switches for anchor winch. A switch at the helm is a good idea, but wireless controls are very convenient.

If nothing else fitting a wireless remote will make you understand how your winch solenoids are wired. Solenoid failure is quite common so this is worth knowing. Once you understand the wiring configuration it is easy by bypass a defective solenoid and you will be able to temporally fix the most common cause of anchor winch failure.
Yes, just looked up several similar ones on Amazon. Since they are not marketted for boats the prices are much more in keeping with their actual complexity (not very).
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Old 19-01-2014, 13:47   #27
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Re: What Size Windlass for Cruising?

The cheap remotes often do not comply with radio spectrum regulations and as such are very simple and just spam the airways, easy for sellers on online auctions to get away.
oh and hope your neighbour in the anchorage does not have the same model.

The wireless remote with chaincounter is a bit more complicated than a garage door remote, two way communication etc.
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Old 20-01-2014, 13:39   #28
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The cheap remotes often do not comply with radio spectrum regulations and as such are very simple and just spam the airways, easy for sellers on online auctions to get away.
oh and hope your neighbour in the anchorage does not have the same model.

The wireless remote with chaincounter is a bit more complicated than a garage door remote, two way communication etc.
Hmmm....there's an idea for Happy Hour entertainment! At that price, maybe I'll order one just for fun. ;-)

Yes, the remote I have on the way is definately a different class of gear. IP67 waterproof rating, chain counter, etc, but the retail price is insane...I would not have paid that for it.
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