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Old 09-22-2018, 12:52 PM   #1
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Vertical Windlass "above foredeck"

Toying with an idea...

I'm thinking of getting a vertical windlass (with capstan) to replace our 1990's era simple horizontal capstan winch to handle a larger anchor and a combination rode with 60' to 100' of chain.

The current capstan winch is attached to a very thick teak bow pulpit that has a substantial samson post at its aft end. See photo below.

The idea I'm toying with is to mount the new vertical windlass at the same 'working height' as the current windlass, and enclose the electric motor is some sort of box with a removable access panel for servicing. See photo below poached from the Internet showing a Maxwell RC windlass on a 'box'. (Ignore hot tub!!!)

Two reasons for this is that we want a rode length of at least 600' (will use 8 strand Brait but it's going to be tight in the anchor locker) and a vertical capstan winch can be used in any direction compared to a horizontal capstan.

Anybody seen such a thing?
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:03 PM   #2
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Sounds to me that your problem is not the windlass but storage. Also, 600'?! I have 100' of chain and 300' of 3/4" braided line and I have never let out all the rode. Also, pulling up 600' will produce a lot of heat, you will need to ventilate your "box." Can your battery bank and/or generator handle power for that long?
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:10 PM   #3
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Sounds to me that your problem is not the windlass but storage. Also, 600'?! I have 100' of chain and 300' of 3/4" braided line and I have never let out all the rode. Also, pulling up 600' will produce a lot of heat, you will need to ventilate your "box." Can your battery bank and/or generator handle power for that long?
We live in an area of long, deep channels/inlets with minimal anchoring options on the steep slopes of estuary outwash fans...want the option to anchor further out where the bottom starts to level off, which usually begins at 100' or so.

Good points on ventilation and battery capacity. Foresee using it while engine running...
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:44 PM   #4
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Yes, that's my system. I have a box made of 3/16" 316 SS that encloses the motor and mounts the switches, the motor always stays bone dry and I have never had any overheat issues. I also have a 600' rode and 45' of 5/16" chain, though "coning" of the stack is an issue if a lot of line is put out and retrieved.

The box also adds fall to the rode as my anchor locker is fairly small for that much line
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:48 PM   #5
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One end of the box is welded shut, the other has a uhmw plastic plate for access and also has a plug for my LED flood/spot light bar mounted into it. The top of the plate has the same plastic mounted on it so the proper thickness for capstan mounting is achieved. It's really clean, solid, and I don't really see any room for improvement for it after 5 years of using it.

It's braked from one piece of steel, solid on the bottom and the flanges for the top are the edges of the sheet the top plate bolts to.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:12 PM   #6
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Yes, that's my system. I have a box made of 3/16" 316 SS that encloses the motor and mounts the switches, the motor always stays bone dry and I have never had any overheat issues. I also have a 600' rode and 45' of 5/16" chain, though "coning" of the stack is an issue if a lot of line is put out and retrieved.

The box also adds fall to the rode as my anchor locker is fairly small for that much line
Well, slap my ass and call me Judy!

Since we have comparably sized boats...this is all new to me so I hope you don't mind a couple questions.

Do you have 3 strand or 8?

Did you run cables from the main batteries or put a battery near the windlass?

Does your alternator put out more than the windlass uses? I'm looking at a Maxwell RC8-8 which uses a max of 120 amps and our alternator is a Hamilton Ferris 100 amp. Issue there?

Thinking of the RC8-8 instead of the 8-6 because we have dreams of winter cruising.

Like your teak...cleaned the flaking crap off ours and am growing to love the grey glow
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:23 PM   #7
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Gray teak is excellent non skid :-)

I have 3 strand 5/8" nylon but believe that 8 strand would lie better in the box with less coning, next rode will be 8 or 10 strand. The batteries are the house bank, about a 20' run forward and up. The draw is very light dropping anchor, and when I pull the engine is running and I am getting started for the day so no worries about topping back off.

I also have a Balmar 100 amp high output alternator with external regulator, charging two 4D AGM batteries, which are almost always topped off and in Float mode within an hour of pulling the hook and starting my run for the day. I figure I have about 400 amp hours of house bank, good for a couple of days on the hook with the refrigerator and stereo running.

I have a battery monitor I have never wired, but will have it in by next season. Only a week left in this one... The Webasto forced air heater has completely changed spring and fall cruising into a comfortable "home like" experience. I didn't know what I was missing or I would have done it long ago.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:44 PM   #8
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Here is the basic box, the tube is the chain pipe welded in so nothing can tangle. I wanted to keep it dry so there are no holes in the box, if air can get in then so can water. The connections and motor were bone dry every time I have opened the box for maintenance.

You could ventilate the open end of the box it you were worried about heat buildup, knowing where you operate I wouldn't worry about it...
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:49 PM   #9
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Thanks for that.

Like I said, this is all pretty new to me, so when we got the new alternator and batteries (420ah of golf cart lead acid) I also got a Smartgauge which took a lot the mystery out of things!

We have a 1980's era Washington Stove Works cast iron beast of a stove. My wife has intensions of ripping it out and filling the space with a fridge...will look at the Webasto.

Your winter outflow winds must be brutal.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:55 PM   #10
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There is no point in going boating here in the winter, the fish are all gone and it's dark too much of the time. The Willard is cored above the hull so it's astonishingly easy to keep it warm, most of my heat loss is through the sliding pilot house door. I plug the Dorade vent inlet and close the bathroom door so there is still some ventilation out from there. The Webasto draws it's air from outside to heat, so I have a positive internal pressure when the heater is running.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:43 PM   #11
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One more question; my hunch is the vertical capstan will come in handy for more things I can foresee right now...what's your experience?
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:28 PM   #12
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Murray,

I had a very similar pulpit setup with just a single capstan Powerwinch. It could only handle line...not chain...so I hand hauled the chain and piled all the rode on the bow until I could feed it into my locker pipe. What a huge hassle and mess!

I converted to a horizontal windlass with power up and power down. (Not all horizontal windlasses are free-fall down.) I also installed a self-launching anchor roller. After I release the safety or snubber, it's a one-finger operation drop and one-finger retrieve unless I need to knock down the chain pile.

Fortunately my pulpit already had a hollow box at the base as a deck mount so it was relatively simple to add a chain tube and mounting hardware. You might be able to re-use what you have by adding a box and reversing relay to your present gear to get what you desire.

BTW, I have 120 ft 5/16 chain and 240 ft 8 ply Brait. I'm very pleased with my decision to go to the Brait. Very soft on the hand and takes only ~40% of the space of equivalent 3-ply. Even with this, I experience chain coning. I bet if you add 600 ft to a 30 ft boat's anchor locker, you'll exceed its capacity and end up having to hand-feed the rode into the locker. Lemme tell you....it ain't fun!

BTW, I run the windlass from my start battery with a stock 60A alternator. I chose the start bank since the engine is always running when the windlass is being operated and I didn't want to use up house power if I didn't need to. I've never had a problem.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:31 PM   #13
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It was $100 extra, I honestly have never used it but the potential to be able to kedge off if I went aground or to pull someone else or something else made it worthwhile to me. There is no extra maintenance and no downside to having it there and not using it so far as I can see.

If my shrimp pot puller went belly up, I might use it for that (once) to get my pots up but certainly wouldn't make a habit of using it to pull pots...

I added a quick access port in the door to my anchor locker so I can just pop the cover and knock the cone over. Once in a while the chain works down into to rode in heavy weather and I have to get into the locker to sort it out.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:58 PM   #14
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Judy Judy Judy, and AKDoug, I used my old windlass on my GB to pull prawn pots - why not? Hardly a load on the motor and you don't stop and start like you do with rode, much easier on the motor than rode.

I like the box but I could be tricked into making it much bigger, cut a hole in the deck and use the area under the box to increase the size of the locker. Just an idea...

Vertical, horizontal, potatoe potato
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