Join Date: Jun 2006
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Disclaimer: I've bought all the equipment and have yet to install it, but here's what I hope is the right decision.
Our boats are about identical in size. I have a steel pilothouse cutter we are readying for long-term voyaging.
I purchased a Lofrans Tigre 1200 manual/electric windlass. Go new for the warranty. However, it is conceivable that one could build an electric windlass, or convert a manual. You'd have to be both handy and scrupulous about the construction to keep the water out, however.
Keep the old windlass if you buy an electric, but obviously I've opted for both options in one unit.
My plans are to have an entirely isolated deep cycle in the bow (where the workshop is) to keep the cables short and as cheap as possible, and naturally to reduce line loss. Also, it keeps everything in this area VISIBLE and ACCESSIBLE, which I consider important for this piece of equipment. I plan on having a separate charger for this battery for shoreside, plus a way to route charge to it to it via ship's AC, which would come from the main inverter. In addition, I can charge it via a Honda 2000. 50 feet of thumb-sized cable, plus the labour involved in running it and securing it properly, would be more expensive.
Windlasses can and do fail. Again, do research and reviews and make sure your installation is bulletproof...or waterproof.
I have the horizontal type with two capstans...one for rope and the other for 3/8" chain. This is because I have an "anchor well" on deck...there is no chain locker below and therefore it's inherently dry below deck as long as I have the cables, foot buttons and mounting bolts fully sealed. I chose horizontal for this reason and because I intend to use it to raise and lower the mast on its tabernacle, plus to rig purchases to take on cargo, tenders, etc. Vertical windlasses make more sense in some installations, just not mine.
I would definitely keep an old, manual and working windlass if I had the room (I do), because it would be unbelievably handy at the stern for retrieving stern anchors, warps, drogues and half a dozen other uses. It's just a glorified winch, after all, and nobody throws those out until they've pretty well exploded!