Power for Windless - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 07-09-2014 Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Maine
Posts: 40
Thanks: 4
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Power for Windless

On our 1981 Pearson 35 we live strictly in a 12volt world. We have two 12 volt batteries .... Not sure of the "size" ....
We draw very few amp hours from the batteries....
We use them to start engines, VHF radio and a few 12 volt cabin lights..
We have no inverters

What will I have to consider (regarding more batteries, alternator etc??) if I want to power an electric capstan that draws, say 30 amps...

What will I need to add to my current system.... Two twelve volt batteries, battery switch (no separate house/starter battery)...that's it....very simple

More batteries,,, bigger alternator...????

Maine_bill is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 07-10-2014
Senior Member
mitiempo's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Victoria B.C. Canada
Posts: 7,802
Thanks: 0
Thanked 111 Times in 102 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Re: Power for Windless

A windlass that draws 30 amps is not large enough for a 35' boat. Figure closer to 70 amps.

I have always felt that running wires suitable for the load from aft to the windlass makes the most sense. A larger battery bank is a plus. The engine will ideally always be running when the windlass is.

Bigger alternator? - depends what size you have now.

Decide on a windlass and the specifics will be easier to figure out.

Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
mitiempo is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 4 Old 07-10-2014
Senior Member
chucklesR's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Pasadena Md - Magothy side
Posts: 5,979
Thanks: 10
Thanked 31 Times in 31 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Re: Power for Windless

You will need to run wire to the windlass (note proper spelling) that is of suitable size to carry the load (probably #2 gauge). Keep in mind that when figuring the length of the line you have to include both to the windlass in back.
Put a suitably sized fuse on the positive side of the wiring within 6-8 inches of the battery.
Seriously, if you don't know what you are doing be safe and get some qualified help. The #1 cause of boat fires is electrical shorts and I suspect they are caused by bad wiring.

If you have room add an extra battery, either way look at the ones you have and figure out what you have, maybe add a monitor so you can determine the condition and state of charge.
Speaking of charging, you likely have the standard original alternator, putting out 35 amps at peak (i.e. somewhat less at idle). Not to worry too much because your windlass usage is in likely in the couple of minute range unless you have to reset several times.

BTW, Mtiempo/Brian up above is likely correct, a windlass drawing 30 amps (360 watt) is not going to be enough for a suitable anchor and rode weight on your 35 foot Pearson, even with a lunch hook of 35 pound anchor, 10 feet of chain and the rest rope you are looking at at LEAST a 1000w windlass (Maxwell rc8 for example).

Even at 1000w pulling your anchor up for 2-3 solid minutes won't kill your batteries - assuming you are motoring for a bit to get sailing room.
Here's a good 'how to choose' link - Choosing a Windlass - Lewmar

You can maybe get by with an underpowered windlass, but only if you are willing to run below decks and reset the breaker several times when it trips. Not fun.

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
chucklesR is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 4 Old 07-10-2014
Senior Member
MikeOReilly's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 2,432
Thanks: 205
Thanked 113 Times in 103 Posts
Rep Power: 8
Re: Power for Windless

Originally Posted by Maine_bill View Post
More batteries,,, bigger alternator...????
This is probably not a useful answer, but have you considered a manual windlass? I've had one for years on a bigger boat that yours. Works great. In the years we've had our Plath bronze windlass the only problem I've had was breaking the handle (metal fatigue). Easy to fashion a new one.

Yes, there are downsides to a manual, but balanced against the challenges of an electric (which I'm not philosophically opposed to), I'd suggest you at least seriously consider it as an option. Seatigers are fairly easy to find in the used market.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
MikeOReilly is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lofrans Windless sailing320 Gear & Maintenance 2 02-02-2010 04:42 PM
windless homerd Morgan 0 03-22-2007 10:40 AM
Windless Battery sailshe Morgan 3 09-03-2006 01:05 AM
Plath Windless ?? wilkinmich Gear & Maintenance 2 07-31-2006 02:30 PM
Plath Windless ?? wilkinmich General Discussion (sailing related) 1 07-31-2006 02:23 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome