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Old 09-27-2019, 10:35 AM   #1
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Manual Windlass for rope/chain?

Hi there,

In my Internet searches for manual windlasses, they seem to be designed for all chain rodes. Is there a manual windlass with a chainwheel like the Maxwell HRC windlass that can pull both rope and chain?

We currently have a 10Kg Bruce with 30' of chain and 350' of three strand nylon.

We're considering a 15Kg Lewmar Claw with 60' of chain and 600' of eight strand nylon. The extra 30' of chain will be of obvious benefit and the 600' of line will allow us to avoid dropping the anchor on the slopes of estuary drying flats and drop it on flatter bottoms which usually level out at around 100' or so around here.

Our plan is to do some winter cruising when I retire (when weather windows permit) so the longer rode will also get us further away from rivers or creeks which freeze quite a ways out from the estuaries until the salt water mix prevents freezing. Don't want to get frozen in for a couple weeks during cold snaps!

Right now we have a simple capstan windlass for the line portion and I haul the chain and anchor by hand. If we go with more chain and a heavier anchor it will be pretty tough. I'm not getting any younger and I had a bout with frozen shoulder last year.

Yes, I have pondered electric windlasses but am looking for manual windlass information here.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:21 AM   #2
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I have done a bunch of searching also for a manual winch/windlass. I did find a few but for the most part the ones that are marine specific were the same price or close to an electric windlass in price.

What I would like to find is something like this https://www.dutton-lainson.com/prodd...php?prod=10950 with a large enough drum to hold rode and chain (ie a manual drum style winch).

I have also thought about using the SKYWinch (designed a a trailer winch) with some mods for pulling anchor. https://www.greenfieldproducts.com/skywinch/
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:21 AM   #3
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The classic manual windlass is the Simpson Laurence , SL 555

Perhaps you can locate a used unit.

I would also look at Ideal to see if their good manual units are still being made.
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Old 09-28-2019, 08:53 AM   #4
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Lofrans makes a two capstan manual windlass (Lofrans Royal). They cost about $800. I had one for a number of years. They work fine, but you do have to switch capstans when going from rope to chain. You also have to tail the rope when you are hauling it in. Their main limitation is that they are slow and it is a pain to haul in rope rode on them. When I had one I tended to just pull the rope part of the rode in by hand then put the chain on the chain wheel. After doing that for a season I switched to all chain and had no more issues except that the windlass was slow. Basically, in my experience if you are going with a manual windlass, ditch the rope rode and go all chain.


If you want to stay with a primarily rope rode, you can install a self-tailing sailboat winch and haul the rope with that. You would have to haul the chain by hand. The #48 winches on my sailboat can easily handle a couple of thousand pound load.
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Old 09-28-2019, 10:22 AM   #5
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RC Plath used to make one and may still, worth giving them a call. See the Model 7A/B on their page 9 of the catalog. Many of their electrics can be manually used in case of power failure. Beautifully made stuff.

https://www.rcplathco.com/catalog/pl...ne_catalog.pdf
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Old 09-28-2019, 01:59 PM   #6
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If you install 150' of chain and 450' of nylon rode, you can pull in the nylon without lifting much of the chain or the anchor. That should make it fairly easy to pull in by hand as long as someone is powering the boat forward.

Then when you get to the chain, put it on the gypsy and use the manual windlass to pull the rest in.

That will require a lot less chain than an all chain rode and be a lot lighter overall. Also 150' of chain will give you better holding than just 30' of chain and keep the rode off of the rocks where it could get cut.

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Old 09-28-2019, 04:45 PM   #7
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Murray,
You could get a much shorter chain the same weight and have much less pulling to do. I have only 4’ of chain but it’s at least 3/8ths .. maybe bigger. Getting the weight right next to the shank keeps the shank end down on the seafloor. You may even need a little less weight in chain the chain weight being that close.
Another option is a permanent kellet about 12lbs. I made one and haven’t used it. I’ll send it to you if you want to try it. Ihave it rigged to attach to chain w lightweight shackles.

I use a capstan too and my biggest problem is the line when wrapped around the drum creeps to port. I pull to stbd. But I’m barely able to keep it on the drum. I switched rotation but not much better. Sometimes the line makes like an overhand knot and ties the rode to the drum. Grr. I changed winches about a year or so ago and am sorryI passed on a gypsy drum winch.

The winch I really should have gotten is what Steve G had for “Anchor Setting Videos”. Manual but he pulled his heavy anchors up smartly .. I thought.
Also I have a mod in the bag for a Claw.
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:04 PM   #8
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Murray,
I have anchored numerous time in 60 - 75 ft water for somewhat different reasons but the results may be of interest to you.
Chain was 100 ft 5/16" with 250 ft x 1/2" nylon line.
Vetus Cayman electric windlass.

I hand pulled excess line untill the slack was gone.

I used the the rope gypsy once I started lifting the chain off the bottom. That worked just fine.

THe headache came when I had to transfer between the rope to the chain and get the chain onto the wildcat. It was HEAVY and if the wind was up it could be tough. Had to feed the shackle into the hawse hole. Had to hold the chain while doing so.

I did have a helper 15' x 3/8" line with a chain grab hook to help and it did help. With that, once the chain was showing, nearly to the wildcat, I could hook the chain and use the helper to drag a couple feet of chain slack so I could feed it down the hawse hole so it engaged the chain pockets without the big fight. Then the electric windlass could finish the job.

It did work but even with that helper it sometimes was tough. What finally got me to go all chain was back trouble.

On the roller bracket I also had a small wheel which split the angle between the main roller and the line gypsy. It worked well to feed the line between the main roller and the line gypsy and not have it trying to climb off the main roller of the line gypsy.

The photo[s] show how the setup is now but ignore the Rocna and the much larger windlass and you will see the intermediate roller for the angle split.

I still have about 250 ft of 1/2 line on the chain but I hope to heaven I never need to use it.


TO change the subject it may be possible to alter any manual windlass you find to accept a combination rope/chain wildcat to fit the windlass shaft. THose things are available from many windlass mfgrs.

Approach a local fabricator/machine shop. SOme of those guys are wizards about making things fit and work well. You should not need to alter the basic windlass but rather bush a suitable wildcat to fit a smaller shaft.

Now I will attempt to find and load a shot of my anchor setup. It's workboat style but it's ugly and it works.
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Old 09-29-2019, 06:52 AM   #9
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"You would have to haul the chain by hand."

Actually a wrap of chain on a sail windlass works fine for hauling ,, although it beats the heck out of the surface of the winch drum.

"THe headache came when I had to transfer between the rope to the chain and get the chain onto the wildcat."

A deck mounted chain stopper .solves this easily.

I have seen many folks with smaller boats simply recover the line by hand , and after the chain was engaged in the stopper let the momentum of the boat break out the anchor .
The chain was also recovered by hand as the weight between pulls was held by the chain stopper.
IF the anchor + chain weight was high a chain claw on nylon line was simply lead to an aft winch.



https://www.amazon.com/Lewmar-668400...a-569825181731
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:06 AM   #10
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I ONCE hand pulled the line in, on a sunny 90+ day. Never again.
You are obviously a better man that I.
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:20 AM   #11
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Thanks for chiming in and pondering this one.

C lectric's idea to use a different manufacturers rope/chain wildcat on a manual windlass is worth checking out. FF's chain stopper idea to hold the anchor & chains weight is also one I was toying with.

Eric mentioned Steve on Panope and the anchor setting videos he did, all with a manual windlass. A ringing endorsement if there ever was one.
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Old 09-29-2019, 12:50 PM   #12
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I took FF’s advice a few years back and bought a used SL555 for $150 . I had to do some work on it. I bought a couple gears from a bearing house and had them bored out at a machine shop. I also had a new clutch cone made . I’ve got about $300 in it now. It’s 2 speed/double action . It came with two different gypsies .
I’m still not matched up perfect to chain and line but it works fine for what we do. Our kind of anchoring and cruising is simple compared to what you’re doing .
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Old 09-29-2019, 03:05 PM   #13
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Marty,
That’s it. That’s it.
Do you think yours works as well and fast as Steve’s on Anchor vids?

I wonder what the horn is for on the top/back?
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Old 09-29-2019, 04:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pack Mule View Post
I took FFís advice a few years back and bought a used SL555 for $150 . I had to do some work on it. I bought a couple gears from a bearing house and had them bored out at a machine shop. I also had a new clutch cone made . Iíve got about $300 in it now. Itís 2 speed/double action . It came with two different gypsies .
Iím still not matched up perfect to chain and line but it works fine for what we do. Our kind of anchoring and cruising is simple compared to what youíre doing .
That's one helluva cleat hitch you got there.
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Old 09-29-2019, 05:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
That's one helluva cleat hitch you got there.
Yes about 4 ft to much line
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