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post #1 of 11 Old 01-05-2016 Thread Starter
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windlass sizing

I'm shopping for a new windlass, and much like anchors, there are various charts and guides that make recommendations based on boat length, weight of ground tackle etc.

What I'm surprised at is the difference in what's behind these recommendations. Lofrans, which I favor from use on other boats, has me right on the cusp of the Tigress vs Falkon model. That's 2.5K to 5K jump in cost.

The "smaller" Tigress has a 1500watt motor, whereas the offerings from most all other manufacturers recommend a model for me with a 1000watt motor or less. Am I missing something?

In addition, the oft repeated advice abounds that one should take a sample of chain to the store to ensure it fits the windlass. Is that REALLY necessary? Are windlass's or chains so out of spec that this is a true problem? What about the new offerings that fit all sizes of chain?

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post #2 of 11 Old 01-05-2016
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Re: windlass sizing

See if you can get some torque data at the output shaft or at the perimeter of the gypsy for the different windlasses so you can compare apples to apples across the different motor powers, gear box ratios, and gypsy diameters. If not, you'll need the gypsy diameters and gear ratios to come up with a valid comparison. It's important to get this at nominal voltage as well as at 3% and 10% below nominal so you can see how gracefully performance decays. Don't worry so much about motor power (wattage). Torque is the "grunt" that gets your anchor broken free. Power is torque times RPM and is less important since the speed with which you can bring the chain up is immaterial if you can't break the anchor out without stalling the windlass.

In my experience, nobody ever complained about a windlass that was too big. That said, a smaller windlass with a proper electrical installation sized for a 3% voltage drop at stall current can be preferable to a larger windlass with an electrical installation that results in a 10+% drop. Make sure you take into account the hefty wires, solenoids, and breakers in the total system cost.
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Re: windlass sizing

Istream,

Thanks for your thoughts. I may have to dig quite a bit more to get what I need.... As for the rest of the install cost, it shouldn't be too bad as I've already got a 24V system in the bow, which goes to the decrepit Neco windlass. The fact that it is 24V, and that the runs are short, should help keep voltage drop to a minimum and the fact that the big wires, solenoids, and batteries/chargers are already in place should take some of the sting out of this project.

While I agree about upsizing being a good idea, twice the cost is my next option with Lofrans. Don't want to spend THAT much more unless I have to. I figured perhaps other brands have a size that "fits better" but then encountered the stated issues comparing the apples to mangos.

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post #4 of 11 Old 01-05-2016
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Hi Med. Mine is a Tigress. So you certainly don't need bigger. I thought tour boat was about 34ft? (No profile stuff on the moronic mobile interface)

My Tigress is pretty damn good and I would recommend it to all.

On the chain size... you new windlass will either come with no gypsy or you can select the right gypsy for your chain.

If you know EXACTLY what your chain is, (e.g.. 10mm x 28mm pitch) then you can just buy the gypsy untested. But if you are not exactly sure which your chain is then take a bit of chain to the shop, or bring gypsy back to your boat.

All in all, I can heartily recommend Lofrans Tigress. Might be damned expensive but "worth it in the long run"!

Mark
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Re: windlass sizing

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Hi Med. Mine is a Tigress. So you certainly don't need bigger. I thought tour boat was about 34ft? (No profile stuff on the moronic mobile interface)
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34.... it's supposedly 34,000lbs before my 220 gals of fuel and 220 gals of water. :-)

Supposedly 40ft on deck and about 45-47 with all appendages hanging from both ends. I have, and plan to continue to use 3/8 chain. Around here I anchor in 40-75ft and I have an 85lb Mantus attached to the end. I have heard in the south pacific and alaska that anchorages can reach 100ft deep, but I doubt I'll be running into deeper ones than that.

My parents had a tigress on their 40ft power boat and while they had 5/16 chain, it worked great for them and seemed to have lots of excess power.

One question about the tigress. Does that cleat on top ever snag your jib sheets or other foredeck lines? Looks like a liability instead of a feature....

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Re: windlass sizing

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34.... it's supposedly 34,000lbs before my 220 gals of fuel and 220 gals of water. :-)

Supposedly 40ft on deck and about 45-47 with all appendages hanging from both ends. I have, and plan to continue to use 3/8 chain. Around here I anchor in 40-75ft and I have an 85lb Mantus attached to the end. I have heard in the south pacific and alaska that anchorages can reach 100ft deep, but I doubt I'll be running into deeper ones than that.

My parents had a tigress on their 40ft power boat and while they had 5/16 chain, it worked great for them and seemed to have lots of excess power.

One question about the tigress. Does that cleat on top ever snag your jib sheets or other foredeck lines? Looks like a liability instead of a feature....

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post #7 of 11 Old 01-05-2016
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Re: windlass sizing

Like anchors, you can't go wrong by going up a size.
We had the Tigress and it did just fine, but when we went to replace it we went with the Falkon. It's a much sturdier unit and has a real brake, which I like. No more dropping a pawl into a groove of you want to use the drum. Both can be operated manually, which is a plus IMO for Lofrans.
We use our windlass to pull the dink aboard on the foredeck and to go aloft on a halyard and that really makes both tasks very easy.
You MUST get the correct gypsy and I've found even the stores aren't too clued in to how Lofrans marks them. Ours came with a 3/8/ HT which Budget assured me would work on 3/8" BBB and it didn't. It took months to get the right one, but cost us nothing.
We switched to 1/2" chain and had to get a new gypsy so if you can handle the freight from Grenada maybe you would want our 3/8" BBB gypsy, if we can save you money.
The gypsy you want will have the chain size and type clearly marked on it, so there's no mystery or need to bring chain, if you buy a Lofrans. If it doesn't say exactly what you want (3/8 BBB-3/8 HT-10mm whatever) do not buy it. All Lofrans gypsys are the same basic serial number so if you need the 3/8" bbb, I can find you the sub-serial number for that gypsy.
We love our Falkon and it looks really cool n the foredeck, too.

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post #8 of 11 Old 01-05-2016
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Re: windlass sizing

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
I'm shopping for a new windlass, and much like anchors, there are various charts and guides that make recommendations based on boat length, weight of ground tackle etc.

What I'm surprised at is the difference in what's behind these recommendations. Lofrans, which I favor from use on other boats, has me right on the cusp of the Tigress vs Falkon model. That's 2.5K to 5K jump in cost.

The "smaller" Tigress has a 1500watt motor, whereas the offerings from most all other manufacturers recommend a model for me with a 1000watt motor or less. Am I missing something?

In addition, the oft repeated advice abounds that one should take a sample of chain to the store to ensure it fits the windlass. Is that REALLY necessary? Are windlass's or chains so out of spec that this is a true problem? What about the new offerings that fit all sizes of chain?

MedSailor
Hi MedSailor,

I've had several windlass brands on several boats over the last 40 years. One thing I've learned is many manufacturers have good model runs, and bad model runs for whatever reasons. [Company sold, management, etc.] My point is feedback regarding a 20 year old windlass may not apply to that make and model today... so research carefully...

Following our philosophy that we can't afford cheap tools [especially with regard to ground tackle...] in mid 2014 we opted for a solid stainless steel housing Lighthouse 1501 to replace our Neco Marine windlass and the rusting 3/8" BBB chain [need parts?] The Lighthouse is extremely well engineered. If we ever needed to remove/replace that is a 1 hour job because the windlass sits in a cast polyurethane gasket; it isn't glued down with bedding compound... The waterproof, purpose-bult motor is separate below deck and is easily removed/replaced too... Lighthouse makes windlasses for large vessels, and their small boat windlasses are built the same way...

And I don't know of another windlass that- using only a winch handle- provides over 10,000 lbs of pull [think kedging...] as one of two manual retrieval options...

That may come in handy one day as we also managed to fit 550ft of 5/16in G43 [high test] chain in the anchor locker- split between two bow anchors. [Anchorages can be deep up here...]

Jordan at Lighthouse sets the standard for customer support. They will even made us custom deck and backing plates for a much better price than I could have them made in Washington state (where the boat was at the time I installed mine...)

One thing you might find interesting is to compare the weights of the windlasses you are considering... This is one time where heavier is likely stronger and more durable... Look at $/lb as a comparison criteria as well... Lighthouse compares competitively per pound...

Our windlass replacement is documented in this blog post which includes a link to a detailed storyboard of annotated photos in case you are interested.

Since we installed ours, I know of at least one other sister-ship [Raven's Dance] that has gone the same route and has the same rave reviews...

Regarding chain fitment, now is your chance to change size if desired, and yes, it is important to test the chain in the gypsy, or just buy proof tested ASME standard chain like ACCO.

Have fun and choose wisely [i.e., cry once...]

Cheers!

Bill
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Last edited by wrwakefield; 01-05-2016 at 11:39 PM. Reason: Corrections on specifications.
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Re: windlass sizing

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just buy proof tested ASME standard chain like ACCO.
We had TERRIBLE luck with ACCO 3/8" BBB hot dip galvanized chain. Our first 300 foot length began rusting in months and had deep pits in the links after a year. We did get our money back after 15 months of hassle, which cost us MONTHS of sitting on chain that was weakened.
In order to get going we bought the new 1/2" ACCO BBB hot dip galvanized chain before the refund and it is already losing it's galvanizing. The chain looks and feels like electroplated chain, not hot dip galvanized chain, but I have been assured by ACCO that this is their 'new' type of galvanizing and it isn't as rough as the 'old' style. It surely doesn't have near as much zinc on it, I'll give them that.
We are not alone. We know of at least a half dozen boats that have had trouble with ACCO hot dip galvanized chain in the last few years.
Shop carefully for chain these days.

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post #10 of 11 Old 01-18-2016
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Re: windlass sizing

hi, I just ordered a tigres from these guys. Seemed like a good deal

LOFRANS TIGRES WINDLASS 12 VDC 1500W Binnacle.com
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