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Boatersland Marine > Anchor/Docking > Windlasses > Choosing A Windlass

Choosing A Windlass



In order to select the proper windlass for your boat, three questions should be answered:
 

1. How long is my boat?

Use the selection guide to determine the general size of windlass to be used for your boat length and displacement.
For example, if you have a 33ft/ 10m boat, a 600lb/ 270kg pull windlass (Sprint 600) would typically be selected. Adjust the windlass size if necessary, based on your answers to questions two and three below.



2. How long is the anchor rode you wish to use and will it fit into your locker?

Begin by examining the depth of the anchor locker to determine the amount of 'fall' available. The fall is the vertical distance between the top of the anchor locker and the top of the anchor rode when it is completely stored inside the locker. This measurement is important in determining whether your boat will be best suited for a vertical or horizontal windlass.

Horizontal Windlass

The Horizontal windlass is a no-nonsense design widely used by boaters requiring optimum performance from their anchoring system. Boaters who frequently anchor, especially in deep water, require a no hassle self-tailing system. The horizontal windlass offers the best performance with small or unusual locker designs. As the anchor rode enters the gypsy it makes a 90º turn and feeds directly into the anchor locker. a minimum fall of 12"/ 30cm is recommended.


Vertical Windlass

Vertical windlasses provide aesthetic value and offer the added security of the anchor rode making a 180º wrap around the gypsy. The inherent design of the vertical windlass requires at least 12"/ 30cm of fall.
This is to allow gravity to properly self-tail the anchor rode through a 90º vertical turn into the anchor locker. Additionally, nylon line is lightweight and a short fall in a vertical windlass system might prevent the rode from feeding properly into the locker

3. How much pulling power should my windlass have?

Having selected the vertical or horizontal windlass sized for your boat length and displacement, the correct windlass pulling power for your needs must be determined using the following formula:

First determine the total weight of the ground tackle which comprises the anchor and rode.

For example;

  The weight of your anchor = 22lb/ 10kg
  The weight of your anchor rode comprises  
  15ft/ 4.58m of chain (at 0.74lb/ft or 1.09kg/m)   = 11lb/ 5kg
  200ft/ 61m of rope (at 0.06lb/ft or 0.09kg/m) = 12lb/ 5.5kg
  Total weight of ground tackle @à@‚45lb/ 20.5kg


Second, take the total weight of the ground tackle and multiply by a factor of three to arrive at the required windlass pulling strength. The factor of three covers the effects of windage and the speed of tidal current and includes a safety margin for unknown circumstances.

In our example the required windlass pulling strength is 135lb/ 61.5kg (3 x 45lb/ 20.5kg).

Safety guidelines suggest that the required windlass pulling strength must not exceed 1/3 of the maximum pull capacity of the windlass. Therefore, our selection of a 600lbs/ 270kg pull windlass is correct as the 135lb/ 61.5kg required pulling strength is well below 1/3 the maximum windlass pull capacity.

 

Working Load

In a typical anchor recovery situation, the windlass will pass through a number of phases of operation as the boat approaches the anchor and finally breaks it out of the seabed. The load and speed will vary at each phase. For any anchor recovery, the windlass will operate longest in the 'working load' phase and it will experience a significant peak in load during anchor breakout.

 


 

Recovery
Begins
Recovery
Underway
Breakout Retrieval Stowed


Electrical Circuit Protection

Any installation of electric powered windlasses must be protected with a circuit breaker. This ensures complete protection of the electric motor and installation cables if the windlass is overloaded.

Circuit breakers are normally rated on a 'continuous' basis. This is the load in Amps, under which they will retain electrical contact for an indefinite period. For example, a 70Amp circuit breaker will not trip unless the continuous current exceeds this figure. However, the maximum tolerated current draw may be as much as 250 Amps, but only for a short period of time. All our windlasses carry a recommendation on circuit breaker rating based on continuous operation.

Remember that motoring up to the anchor whilst using the windlass to retrieve the anchor rode and using the boat to "break out the anchor" is the proper anchor recovery procedure. Using the windlass to haul the boat to the anchor is not recommended and will result in damage to the windlass and motor.

 



Safety At Anchor

Windlasses are not designed to hold high loads while a boat is at anchor. When the windlass is not is use and the boat is at anchor, the anchor rode should be secured using a chain stopper or attached to a load bearing point such as a cleat.



 Horizontal Application



 Vertical Application


 


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Choosing A Windlass - Windlasses