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Old 08-23-2019, 09:27 AM   #1
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Choosing a Windlass

My whole anchoring system is due for a refresh and some upgrades, so it's time to go windlass shopping. My plan for what it'll need to pull is most likely a 55lb Rocna Vulcan, 75ft of 5/16" G4 chain, 300ft of 5/8" 8 plait. So no more than 170 lbs. Boat is 38 feet, about 24k lbs.

My first thought was a Maxwell HRC10-8, which seems like the over-built safe choice. But then I started wondering... What about a Maxwell HRC FF-8 or a Lewmar Pro 1000? They're about half the price, but also not as beefy. And officially, the Maxwell says it takes 9/16" line, not 5/8", but I've seen mentions of people using 5/8 with it.

The smaller windlasses are rated to pull line faster and they're much cheaper, but the question is, are they beefy enough? Or would I be better off just getting the bigger, beefier HRC10-8 and calling it a day?
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:15 AM   #2
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I went the gross overkill route with a Maxwell HWC 2200 @ 24VDC. Not sure that model is even being offered today by Maxwell. I went with this huge windlass to make sure that my heavy ground tackle can always be retrieved.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:25 AM   #3
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Ours is a Maxwell RC10-10... because that configuration works better on our pulpit.

I would have also chosen the model with the extra capstan, but didn't have enough height available under our locker hatch where the windlass lines.

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Old 08-23-2019, 10:33 AM   #4
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Ours is a Maxwell RC10-10... because that configuration works better on our pulpit.

I would have also chosen the model with the extra capstan, but didn't have enough height available under our locker hatch where the windlass lines.

-Chris
Chrisó I had little choice between a vertical/horizontal windlass. The chain (rope?) locker Silverton provided I thought would have taken up too much space for a vertical or I would have chosen that option. EVen with my horizontal, I have to be careful to prevent the anchor chain from tee-peeing
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:56 AM   #5
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I've got enough anchor locker space for a vertical setup, but I've also got plenty of bow pulpit space for a horizontal. And the horizontal will likely require much less cutting, drilling, etc. to install in place of the current windlass, which makes it an appealing option.

Power for any option in my case needs to be 12V DC, no 24V on board or anything. Fortunately, the house batteries are just forward of the forward engine room bulkhead (with the main switch and bus bar mounted to the bulkhead), so cable runs won't be overly long.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:00 AM   #6
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I'd give the folks at Good Windlasses in New Jersey a call. They make a great product here in the US and are known for their customer service. Their CFDM model sounds right for you, but you need to ask them about putting a longer chain lead on vs their standard length. https://www.goodwindlass.com/Product...s.htm#CFD/CFDM

Next guys I'd call would be Ideal. https://www.schaefermarine.com/our-p...deal-windlass/ for excellent quality (we had one of their bigger ones our old Hatteras), made in USA and long-after-the-sale (as measured in decades) customer service.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:27 AM   #7
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I didn't have deep pockets when I was installing a windlass (....and I still don't) so I went with the Lewmar 1000 with 120' 5/16 chain and 240' 5/8 Brait and a 33# Lewmar Claw anchor (wish I had gotten the 44# but the 33# holds great anyway). I also have a self-deploy anchor roller, wired remote at the lower helm and a wireless remote for use throughout the boat. When I anchor, I just need to press one button to deploy.

It's been used heavily in about 10 years of cruising and sturgeon fishing anchoring throughout the SF Bay and CA Delta. I typically set and pull anchor 3-6 times per day when sturgeon fishing and almost always anchor out at night when fishing and often when cruising. Even found a Hatteras 60 on my bow like a pickle on a fork during the San Francisco Fleet Week festivities a few years ago. The ground tackle held us both in 3 ft waves in the slot near Alcatraz Island. After we untangled, it continued to operate properly except for the mangled anchor roller.

The Lewmar has been flawless in my experience and I'm pleased with the performance of the system. If it failed today, I'd repair or replace it tomorrow with the same.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
I've got enough anchor locker space for a vertical setup, but I've also got plenty of bow pulpit space for a horizontal. And the horizontal will likely require much less cutting, drilling, etc. to install in place of the current windlass, which makes it an appealing option.

Power for any option in my case needs to be 12V DC, no 24V on board or anything. Fortunately, the house batteries are just forward of the forward engine room bulkhead (with the main switch and bus bar mounted to the bulkhead), so cable runs won't be overly long.

My rationale for going with 24V is because of wiring sizes plus I wanted to be absolutely sure that I would not have a battery charge issue while retrieving my anchor. Yeah.... I know, gross overkill just as my windlass size fits into that category.

I did get a break on a brand new Freedom inverter charger at Ebay for less than a couple hundred bucks. That is dedicated to charging the 24V stuff, the inverter also provides AC power for some AC lighting when on anchor or mooring. 24V inverters and such are not in demand on Ebay so there are many bargains found there at times.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:59 PM   #9
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I'm not too concerned about power availability. The house bank is 400ah at 12v, plus generally both engines will be running during anchor deployment / retrieval, so I've got 110 amps of alternators online. And the ACRs for the 2 engine batteries combined, adding another 92 ah per side to the mix. If I can't keep the windlass powered adequately with that while lifting less than 200 lbs of ground tackle, something has to be seriously wrong.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:00 PM   #10
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If I could have found an AC powered windlass, I would have gone that route
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:33 PM   #11
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If I could have found an AC powered windlass, I would have gone that route
RC Plath and Ideal both have made them and probably still do.
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:43 AM   #12
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Wandering the docks , the oldest boats wood or GRP seem to have IDEAL windlasses .

Not the cheapest , but if almost "forever" with little maint. is a goal,,,its a candidate.

They have been taken over by a large company , so look carefully at their current offering .
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Old Yesterday, 08:21 AM   #13
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Now that it's getting closer to the end of boating season and the start of modification season, I'm thinking I'll follow FlyWright's experience and get the Lewmar 1000. It's rated plenty strong enough for what I need. Total weight of my ground tackle will be well below its rated working load (working load of 250 lbs, my total ground tackle weight will end up somewhere around 140 - 170 lbs). And it's not terribly expensive (which leaves money in the budget for adding a washdown setup). And it's fast (Lewmar claims 105 feet / minute).
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Old Yesterday, 09:23 AM   #14
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"working load of 250 lbs, my total ground tackle weight will end up somewhere around 140 - 170 lbs). "

Not much room for a big blob of mud to come up with the anchor.
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Old Yesterday, 09:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
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"working load of 250 lbs, my total ground tackle weight will end up somewhere around 140 - 170 lbs). "

Not much room for a big blob of mud to come up with the anchor.
Even if I'm bringing up 100+ lbs of mud, I'd expect I'd still be OK considering the buffer to working load plus them claiming a max pull of 4x that (1000 lbs). At this point I'm leaning more towards keeping the chain to 50 ft, so that would put my total weight around the 140 lb mark.

That's less than the 189 lbs I'm calculating for FlyWright's setup (55 lbs of anchor + 55 lbs of chain + 30 lbs of nylon for me compared to his 33 lbs of anchor + 132 lbs of chain + 24 lbs of nylon). Numbers are based on 1.1 lb / ft for 5/16 G4 chain and 0.1 lb/ft for 5/8 8 plait nylon.

How likely is it that I'll bring up the full weight of my anchor + chain worth of mud? I've brought my current Fortress (a G-23) up with it looking like a large blob of mud with some metal sticking out and going by feel while hand-hauling the chain leader (current windlass is line only) I'd say the mud was no more than 30 lbs worth.
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Old Yesterday, 10:43 AM   #16
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When I bought my boat, it came with a Maxwell 1200 Vertical windlass. The first two years I didn't anchor even once. In the past two years I now really enjoy anchoring so I decided to research my present windlass, a 13 year old Maxwell 1200 VRC (no longer made) and discovered that it is very robust and is easy to use. I have added a Maxwell Chain Counter (another thread) and had a tech tear down, lubricate and re-assemble the windlass. The boat already had saltwater & fresh water plumbing at the bow so I bought quick disconnects for both so as to facilitate saltwater wash downs & fresh water rinse using a common hose. I've worked the system many times in my slip and am completely satisfied. I should also mention that the Maxwell people in Hanover Maryland answered all my questions promptly & I would heartily recommend Maxwell to everyone.

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Old Yesterday, 11:01 AM   #17
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"Wandering the docks , the oldest boats wood or GRP seem to have IDEAL windlasses" .

I have an Ideal that was OEM on the boat and still works great. I sent it back to the factory to be refurbished 6 years ago when I was doing a lot of work on the boat and they said the internals looked like new. Very heavily built. Ideal was bought out a few years ago but the new owners are attentive and capable based on what I hear. Ideals are old-school but a great windlass.
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Old Yesterday, 05:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
Now that it's getting closer to the end of boating season and the start of modification season, I'm thinking I'll follow FlyWright's experience and get the Lewmar 1000. It's rated plenty strong enough for what I need. Total weight of my ground tackle will be well below its rated working load (working load of 250 lbs, my total ground tackle weight will end up somewhere around 140 - 170 lbs). And it's not terribly expensive (which leaves money in the budget for adding a washdown setup). And it's fast (Lewmar claims 105 feet / minute).
It is not the weight of your tackle that will stress your windlass. It is the weight of whatever you get fouled on.

eg: Several years ago I was anchored in a well used anchorage, 2 boats tied alongside. As it was time to go, both my companions left and I pulled up my anchor. It was a hard pull. My Lofrans Tigres 1000w windlass huffed and puffed and eventually brought to the surface a steel car trailer, likely 1500 lb of steel. I tied it off and retrieved my anchor, then moved slowly out of the anchorage and jettisoned the trailer.

20 yrs or so later, my windlass failed, so I took the motor to an auto parts store and had them send it
out for reman. It came back with a note "this motor has been abused". Little did I know that my windlass would ever be asked for such service, or that it would leave lasting evidence of abuse.

My total ground tackle weight is 44lb for the CQR and 210lb for the chain. I don't know how large a margin one should leave for extra lifting power, but likely you need some.
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Old Yesterday, 05:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
Now that it's getting closer to the end of boating season and the start of modification season, I'm thinking I'll follow FlyWright's experience and get the Lewmar 1000. It's rated plenty strong enough for what I need. Total weight of my ground tackle will be well below its rated working load (working load of 250 lbs, my total ground tackle weight will end up somewhere around 140 - 170 lbs). And it's not terribly expensive (which leaves money in the budget for adding a washdown setup). And it's fast (Lewmar claims 105 feet / minute).
Those GT weights don't sound right. How long a chain, what size and how big an anchor? More importantly, the points made by earlier posters about the factors that can come into play beyond GT weight are well taken. Yes, the first step when the anchor doesn't come up smoothly is to put a snubber on it and break it out by maneuvering a boat, or then resorting to the various techniques discussed here in several threads. But as the car trailer anecdote points out, unless you can dive on the anchor, or the water is clear enough and shallow enough to see it from the boat, you just never know...

If you plan on anchoring a lot, and in a lot of places, a robust windlass will pay for itself in lifetime cost of ownership may times over.
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Old Yesterday, 08:33 PM   #20
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Those GT weights don't sound right. How long a chain, what size and how big an anchor? More importantly, the points made by earlier posters about the factors that can come into play beyond GT weight are well taken. Yes, the first step when the anchor doesn't come up smoothly is to put a snubber on it and break it out by maneuvering a boat, or then resorting to the various techniques discussed here in several threads. But as the car trailer anecdote points out, unless you can dive on the anchor, or the water is clear enough and shallow enough to see it from the boat, you just never know...

If you plan on anchoring a lot, and in a lot of places, a robust windlass will pay for itself in lifetime cost of ownership may times over.
For ground tackle, I'm basing my weights on a 25 kg / 55 lb anchor, 50 ft of 5/16 G4 chain and then 300 feet of 5/8 nylon behind that (boat is a planing hull so I'm entirely unwilling to carry hundreds of pounds of chain up forward for anchoring in areas that don't typically demand it). As far as breaking out an anchor, snubbing it and using the boat to break it out is my normal method.

There's definitely something to be said for a windlass that will bring up a car trailer. But at the same time, I'm not traveling constantly and spending 100+ nights a year at anchor. A good portion of my anchoring is during the day with a few overnights here and there. So it's really a question of whether spending 2x more more the $$$ on a windlass will provide any real benefit or if it'll just be extra margin that I'm unlikely to need.

As far as windlass options, I did notice that the cheaper end of the spectrum includes the Lewmar HX1. But I've found very little info on it and no real user experiences. And I don't know how much I trust the composite gypsy. It's rated for either 1984 or 2348 lbs max pull and either 496 or 586 working load (depending on which piece of Lewmar literature you believe). Motor power is only 100w higher than the Pro 1000, but the line speed is much slower, so it's likely geared much lower. Interestingly, the specs show it as having significantly more pulling power than the more expensive Maxwell HRC10.

The Lofrans Tigres is unfortunately off the table regardless of price, as it won't pull a mixed rode through the gypsy.
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