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Old 23-12-2010, 10:35   #1
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Windlass Opinions, Please

Hello all! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! We're hauling out soon and need to add a windlass. The boat is a GulfStar 44 displacing @30,000 lbs. I'm planning on a double stem fitting with 2 anchors--a 66lb and 45 lb with 3/8" chain--about 200 feet on each anchor (I know, that's a LOT of weight up front). We are located in Florida. Here's the question:

I would love to hear everyone's opinion on their vertical windlasses. I'm looking at Lighthouse & Maxwell, but would appreciate all recommendations (Ideal-if they're still available, Lewmar, etc, etc).

Thanks!
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Old 23-12-2010, 11:05   #2
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I have a 20 year old Ideal and can tell you it will take whatever you give it. It's way more expensive, but its a tank.
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Old 23-12-2010, 11:26   #3
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Last year we installed a horizontal Lofrans Tigress windlass and we really like it. The only negative is the IMTRA switches are not terribly waterproof and neither is the control relay so they need to be in a protected place. Otherwise we can probably pull our 41' cat to the bottom...

It was highly recommended to us and we recommend it highly as well... Lofrans vertical models

Happy Holidays!
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Old 24-12-2010, 08:07   #4
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I took a flier and purchased this windlass direct from NZ. Chain Windlass Model V2200 It may be a little light for your boat but they have stronger models. The reason that I went with this is because it was half the cost of other windlasses and a better quality. The original nillson windlass on my boat had lasted 25 years. I could have fixed it with about $800 worth of parts but I felt it was better to get a new windlass for $2200 and I had the money. At the time the US$ was 2 to 1 against the NZ$ and that was what made it so affordable. Also you can talk directly to the manufacture and they will send you parts anywhere in the world.
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Old 24-12-2010, 08:59   #5
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We aren't wild about our Lewmar H3, seems undersized for our Bruce 20kg and all chain rode. In ideal situations it works fine, anything less than ideal, snagged cable, fouled, it struggles and the Captain pulls the anchor up by hand.
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Old 24-12-2010, 09:22   #6
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We have a Maxwell Vertical 3500 windlass that has operated flawlessly for 13 years with very little maintenance other than washing with fresh water periodically. We just had it disassembled and the oil changed.
There are a few wear parts like springs and nylon plungers that lift the clutch cone. These parts were due for replacement, but were still functional. It lifts a 125 lb anchor and 350 feet of 3/8ths chain.

This is the second boat we've had with a Maxwell windlass. I would never switch due to the good experience with two of them. The first one was electric, and the current one is hydraulic.

Wish You Happy Anchoring!
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Old 24-12-2010, 11:13   #7
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I would have to add my recommendations for Lofrans. We added a Tigress on Sea Trek which displaces 14 tons, and it was more than sufficient for the boat. We found it to be an extremely well built unit and we anchored with it hundreds of times. I have installed Maxwells, Lewmars and many others and Lofrans is hands down my favorite. Chuck
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Old 24-12-2010, 12:26   #8
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I can't say I know anyone with a Lofrans that would say different. We used to have a Horizontal Vetus on the last boat that had 10mm (3/8) all chain and it pulled exceptionally well. It's about the quality of the motor. Installation also plays a long term role in how happy you will be. Having enough of a free fall from the gypsy to the top of the pile of chain (aka cone) is critical for the chain not jumping the gypsy. With too little free fall nothing works that great.

Our last boat had an up down switch at the helm with foot and corded remote switches for the bow. Power up and power down. Foot switches can be awkward though they force you in a position that makes it hard to get entangled in the gypsy. The chain gypsy is clearly one of the most dangerous spots on any boat. With 3/8 chain it can be devastating on fingers / toes. Slow than a table saw put more powerful. I never allow anyone else to operate the windlass.

We have a freefall windlass now - they all suck. The all chain rode pays out totally out of control. I would also encourage to have power down with all chain rodes. With 3/8 chain it's almost like dropping a refrigerator off the roof in deep water. 3/8 G40 runs about 1.5 lbs / ft and 5/16 over 1 lb.
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Old 24-12-2010, 13:14   #9
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Paul,

Does your free fall function have a clutch?

My vertical Maxwell allows for turning the top of the windlass by hand to tighten the pressure on the clutch cones and control the speed of the fall. This prevents the chain from whipping around in the chain locker, and with tension on the gypsy the chain stays right on it. It is also nice for backing down to lay the chain out faster than powering it out.
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Old 24-12-2010, 13:32   #10
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Quote:
Does your free fall function have a clutch?
It's more like a brake. It just shoves a sharp steel point in the link below the gypsy. We are talking sudden stop. The Vetus in power down mode payed out at a good clip. It was about the right speed for letting the chain hit bottom then backing slow to pay out a little and start the set. It was enough that I could then add the chain hook from the snubber then let off the switch for the hard set and back down.

The free fall windalass brake now that it is older is slightly bent so I use the flat bar for the clutch to regulate the brake. The clutch just won't fine adjust enough to regulate free fall speed. It pulls it all up just fine but I'm used to a faster windlass.

The anchor setup is quite nice on this boat so once the chain is all out there the bridle setup is nice. The long bowsprit makes it easy to wash the chain too. It's just the old windlass. I think I'll wire it up to power down and just remove the brake. It just needs a reversing switch then lock the clutch. Gozzard has a nice huge forward lazerette just aft of the chain locker so the wiring is easy to get at.
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Old 25-12-2010, 07:47   #11
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Ideal is still out there:

IDEAL WINDLASS COMPANY

I have an Ideal H2 for a Panda 40, 65 pound CQR, and 3/8 chain. It maxes out at about 200 feet of chain out - theoretically your windlass should be able to pull all the rode back in, and there are 400 feet aboard Cambria - so I would recommend their 3 series instead. (Yes, I did once dump all the chain out in the ocean to get rid of line twist, and spent a couple of hours grinding 200 feet back in with the manual part of the windlass. ;-(
Not sure why you want a vertical windlass...

Michael
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Old 25-12-2010, 08:51   #12
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No problem with Ideal

Quote:
Originally Posted by svcambria View Post
Ideal is still out there:

IDEAL WINDLASS COMPANY

I have an Ideal H2 for a Panda 40, 65 pound CQR, and 3/8 chain. It maxes out at about 200 feet of chain out - theoretically your windlass should be able to pull all the rode back in, and there are 400 feet aboard Cambria - so I would recommend their 3 series instead. (Yes, I did once dump all the chain out in the ocean to get rid of line twist, and spent a couple of hours grinding 200 feet back in with the manual part of the windlass. ;-(
Not sure why you want a vertical windlass...

Michael
I have a vertical mount Ideal. I installed it ten years ago and the only time I've had an issue with it was when the hex nut securing the negative lead to the windlass base loosen. Everything appeared fine but the slightly loose nut limited the amount of amps to the motor. Once I re-tighten the nut, windlass regained full strength. I went to a lot of effort trying to troubleshoot the windlass when it wasn't the problem.
I know that some on this forum disapprove of using an anchor swivel and up until recently I agreed for the reasons discussed here. However, last summer I could only deploy about 80 feet of chain. The reason is the same as Michael's. The rest of chain was balled up in a mass of twists and refused to come out of the chain pipe. What good is having all that weight up forward if I can't use all the chain when I need it? I have added what I hope will be a strong and dependable swivel. Yesterday I went to the boat to remove the swivel. I had it mounted the way the manufacturer recommend-chain to swivel-swivel to anchor shank. I've learned on this forum that mounting this way could lead to problems. The suggested method of chain to swivel then a short length of chain between swivel and shank makes sense.
For those that are leery of using a swivel because you can't secure the threaded pin with safety wire let me tell you; it took a blow torch to heat the pin before the red loctite released.
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Old 25-12-2010, 10:20   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svcambria View Post
... Not sure why you want a vertical windlass...
He has two anchors, both off centreline (?),so (I presume he) wants flexibility in his horizontal direction of pull.

Vertical vs Horizontal:
A vertical windlass has the chain gypsy and the rope capstan oriented at 90 degrees the deck, while a horizontal windlass has the gypsy and capstan parallel to the deck. Often the defining factor in choosing between vertical and horizontal is the number of anchors to be handled, the number of bow rollers, and how they line up. Often a boat with one bow roller on the center line will select a vertical windlass. A boat with two bow rollers might use a vertical windlass.

Vertical
The advantage of a vertical windlass is its low profile, its motor and or gear box is usually under the deck (& out of the weather), and therefore the vertical units use less deck space (but use more locker space). They allow the anchor rode to come aboard at almost any horizontal angle, but the rode must enter at nearly 90 degrees to the axis of the drum. The anchor rode makes a 180 degree turn the gypsy , then a 90 down, falling into the anchor locker. They are generally harder and more costly to install and service.

Horizontal
The horizontal windlass generally offers the best performance with small or unusual locker designs. As the anchor rode enters the gypsy it makes a 90 degree turn and feeds directly down into the anchor locker. The advantages of a horizontal windlass are that they offered in a wider range of gypsy variations, are easier to install and service, and do not interfere with space in the anchor locker.
The disadvantages are that the anchor rode must travel in a direct line from the bow roller to the windlass (often necessitating the windlass to be mounted off center) which sometimes looks odd. They also take up considerably more deck space, and are totally exposed to the elements.
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Old 25-12-2010, 10:28   #14
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I just "retired" my Maxwell VWC1200 after more than 20 yrs of service and lots of abuse. So with the drilling/ holes in the foredeck I replaced it with another Maxwell, but the 1000. the 1500 fits the same drill pattern. I have only good things to say about this vertical windlass. It has a rope gypsy to use for a second anchor or sending someone aloft. It's a fast moving windlass and so you are not waiting for eternity to retrieve the chain. Very well built and engineered. No complaints - highly recommended.
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Old 25-12-2010, 12:33   #15
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I installed a Maxwell HWC2200 on my Silverton 40 for lifting my 88# Delta plus 5/16 chain. I would have gone with the vertical windlass but the chain locker on my boat is small; the vertical takes up volume that I could not afford to give up.

The horizontal windlass has disadvantages in that it is difficult to mount such that the chain (gypsy) is in line with the boat's center. Of course if one has anchors mounted in rollers off center, that problem goes away.

Other than that comment, I HIGHLY recommend getting the largest windlass that will fit powered with 24vdc. The batteries used for the windlass can share usage with a a 24v inverter for such things as a TV, microwave and such as long as they are charged when the windlass is needed. I have an old Freedom 24vdc that I use for 24v battery charging and inverter for our TV and such.

YOu will be very disappointed with an undersized windlass

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