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Old 06-25-2015, 06:11 PM   #1
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Anyone Use a PowerWinch Free-Fall Windlass?

Here's how my PowerWinch manual says to anchor:

Quote:
...drop anchor by pressing the winch switch in the down position for approximately 5 seconds. After the anchor has begun to free-fall it is safe to release the switch.

CAUTION NEVER REVERSE THE WINCH WHILE THE UNIT IS IN FREE-FALL MODE.

3. After the desired amount of rope has been release, retrieve 3'-5' of line by pressing the switch in the up position.
I'm using all-chain rode. Once it starts to free-fall, it just continues to accelerate. If I never reversed the winch while it was in free-fall, I'd empty the rode locker, and there would be a pile of chain on the bottom.

That's not how I learned to anchor.

Any suggestions?
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:45 PM   #2
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I've got a Lewmar SS Super Fish that also has the automatic pay out, and unless I reverse it at some point it will also drop the whole length. Haven't found another way of stopping the free wheeling.
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:08 PM   #3
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Is there no brake?
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:00 PM   #4
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I believe these are designed for short chain and rope rode. The 450 is exactly that....max 450 pounds. The brake is factory set to stop the free fall when the anchor and chain (30 - 50 lbs) hits the bottom and the weight of the rope is insufficient to continue the free fall. I am not an owner but have fished on a few boats with them so this is just my observation. Perhaps a call to Powerwinch product support?
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyboats View Post
Is there no brake?
Nope. Remote Up and Down switches only. Here's what it looks like:


Good point about calling the MFG'r. Of course, my fear is that they tell me I can't use all chain rode. I'd rather not buy a new windlass at this point, but I also don't want to go to mostly rope rode.
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Old 06-26-2015, 12:59 PM   #6
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I noticed they say that their warranty is void unless using combination chain/rope rode.
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Old 06-26-2015, 01:04 PM   #7
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I only use 15' of chain and don't drag anchors.

I think those free-fall winches were/are for fishing. Charter boats about 24'. Fish here fish there .. all over the place and time is money to them. The windlass manufacturers should probably recommend them only for such use.

I hand deploy my anchors so my drop is braked by my hands donned w tough rubber coated gloves. I use a capstan to retrieve the rode up to the beginning of the chain and then hand pull. 3' of 3/8ths chain and 12' of 5/16" chain is easy to pull. Even for this old guy w anchors about 20lbs .. most of my anchors are a little less. I have another anchor now that's 33lbs and aren't sure what I'll do about that. Sell your free-fall winch on Craig's List.

I suspect that windlass is really too small for your boat. Think this out (I'd suggest) and get a more suitable windlass. Search the archives. Or get a combination rode and I think you'll be better off getting rid of the free-fall feature.

How heavy is your anchor?
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:41 AM   #8
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Free Fall Winch

I have a Lewmar Pro Fish winch that has free fall capability. I learned about the free fall feature by dropping all of my rode in the lake soon after we purchased the boat. Fortunately it was in the slip and was retreavable. In my opinion, this is a very dangerous feature. If anything or any body parts get caught in the chain, there will be serious consequences. Fisherman must be in a hurry.

On the Pro Fish, this feature can be bypassed by pressing the spring loaded button on the perimeter of the drum and then pressing in a pin on the side of the drum to lock the button in. I have also secured the end of the chain to the boat with a length of line. No problems since.

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