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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-18-2006
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Windlass Advice

Hello all, we are in the process of selecting a new windlass for our 50' ketch. I am hoping some folks on this board have some experience with either the Lofrans Falkon or the Maxwell VWC 3500. If not then just advice regarding vertical vs horizontal windlasses. Things to watch for or avoid. We are carrying 300' of 3/8 chain and a 55lb Delta as our primary ground tackle, with a 44 lb Bruce as our secondary. Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated.

Thx
Ike
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Old 10-18-2006
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I like vertical because you get twice the contact area with the chain, which will reduce wear and slippage. I also like the ability of a vertical capstan to be used to kedge off, or pull from an angle different than in line with the bow.
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Old 10-18-2006
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IKE...We've used a VWC2200 with the exact same anchor and chain setup for the last 3 years with NO problems. We are a 52' ketch weighting about 25 tons. I bought it 'cause it FIT where the prior windlass was and it appeared to be adequate for our needs. Am most pleased with the performance. We got the free fall model as opposed to the 2-way and I find I actually prefer the free fall as it lets you get the hook down quickly and just tightening or loosening the spindle by hand lets you play out your rode easily a you drift back and snug up on it easily. I also like the ability to handle the rope rode of our secondary anchor (CQR60) independently and we use it also to take people up the mast with a halyard run forward.
I think the choice between hrizontal and vertical is largelya matter of your fairlead angle and in our case the vertical gave us more of a chan wrap around the gypsy and a nice drop into the rode well below. Don't know anything about the Lofrans except that hey are well thought of as well. I don't know what you weigh or what dimensions you require but would suggest that (used properly...pulling anchor/not boat!) the 2200 is adequate for your needs if $$'s are a concern. Your total rode and anchor weigh about 500 pounds so you need 3x that in a windlass according to Maxwell and the 2200 comfortably exceeds this.
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Old 10-18-2006
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Hi Ike. I think it depends on what condition is present in the area where you intend to place the windlass. That is likely to dictate which style is superior.
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Old 10-18-2006
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Thanks guys, as further info we are 50' and displace around 30,000 lbs. Our current bow set up has the two rollers formed out of the same piece of channel about 7.5" wide. Going to a big horizontal will mean needing to revamp the bow roller set up to get a fair lead. On the other hand going to a vertical will involve moving moving the windlass forward (to make room for the motor below decks). This will mean cutting a bowlocker door athwartships and glassing and reinforcing the aft part to accept the vertical. Either way I'm doing some major work either stainless or glass. Any ideas on appropriate deck reinforcement plans? I really appreciate the input here.

Thx
Ike
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Old 10-18-2006
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Even with my boats high bulwarks, I went with a Lewmar vertical capstan windlass for three reasons. The vertical rode has greater contact area with the chain gypsy, the motor unit is below the deck, so better protected and the previous burnt-out unit was vertical, so the hole and deep chain locker were already there.

I did have to enlarge the deck hole, although this was not a huge concern since the teak decking is screwed to a solid fiberglass substrate and I was able to avoid modifying the locker door. I did have to fabricate a thick teak mounting block, shaped to the windlass base. This was necessary to align the gyspy with the bow roller to conform to the mfgr's maximum recommended angle.

Lewmar supplied a cast aluminum backer plate for below deck reinforcement of the mounting bolts, a very important component with heavy ground tackle loads. After completing two years of active use, the installation has never failed us.
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One other reason for choosing a vertical windlass over horizontal, which I failed to mention, is the ability to switch between two bow-mounted anchors for different conditions. A vertical is capable of changing the chain's angle of entry from the gypsy to bow roller, in a horizontal path. The horizontal units I researched did not have this capability.
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Old 10-18-2006
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True, Surf, Cam, Gene, I really appreciate the input here. It sure sounds like vertical is the way to go. Rarely do we see this much agreement between sailors on a piece of gear! Since I'd need to glass in part of a bow locker to do this how would you go about reinforcing the deck? Solid glass from side to side and a huge backing plate? I only want to do this one time!

Thx
Ike
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Old 10-18-2006
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Ike...what is the deck structure now? We simply used a stainless steel backing plate and through bolted making a sandwich out of our deck structure which is glass/balsa/glass. The thing you need to remember is that if the boat already had a windlass...the deck is strong enough...you just need to back it up well. The windlass should not take any of the REALLY heavy loads of anchoring since you always must take the load off once the hook is down with a snubber or samson post etc.
I don't understand why you need to be cutting your bowlocker as the motor can be rotated to fit in any of four directions on install. But I can't see your boat so my comments only apply to the securing of the sindlass to the deck. Reinforcing the deck once you start cutting bulkheads is beyond my expertise. Hopefully someone else can help with that.
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Old 10-20-2006
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Arrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
I like vertical because you get twice the contact area with the chain, which will reduce wear and slippage. I also like the ability of a vertical capstan to be used to kedge off, or pull from an angle different than in line with the bow.
True with regard to the contact area but not necessarily a deal breaker for the horizontal option. They do work after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by svindigo
Thanks guys, as further info we are 50' and displace around 30,000 lbs. Our current bow set up has the two rollers formed out of the same piece of channel about 7.5" wide. Going to a big horizontal will mean needing to revamp the bow roller set up to get a fair lead. On the other hand going to a vertical will involve moving moving the windlass forward (to make room for the motor below decks). This will mean cutting a bowlocker door athwartships and glassing and reinforcing the aft part to accept the vertical. Either way I'm doing some major work either stainless or glass. Any ideas on appropriate deck reinforcement plans? I really appreciate the input here.
It seems modifying the bow would be slightly less painful than the deck? Having a horizontal windlass gives you two capstans and this can be nice, as it gives the option of using both independently.

The other advantage with horizontal is the machinery and electronics are kept up inside one unit, sealed and protected, rather than exposed in a humid and salty forepeak. Maintenance is also easier.
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