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post #11 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

Go with powered. You don't need a dedicated battery, but you will want to make sure the ciruit is wired sufficiently (long run with high-ish voltage) and you will want a breaker switch up to the task. Have to be careful when usign the thing that you don't try to use it haul the boat to the anchor - most are not rated for that. They are really just for pulling the last of the chain and the anchor up to the deck once the boat is over the anchor. Also, my opinion is the windless is the most dangerous device on deck. Must ensure no fingers get caught between the gypsy and the chain.

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post #12 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

I guess I'm the only one here voting for the manual windless for simplicity on smaller boats. However when I was doing well in the stock market and looking at new boats in the 58 ft range I would have put a lighthouse electric or even gone hydraulic on that large of boat. For my current 37 ft boat that I've had for over 25 years and having anchored out hundreds of times I think that the manual Simpson Lawrence is fine. I have a 45 lb manson supreme with 80 ft of 3/8 inch BBB chain and then a 5/8 3 strand line. No problems with raising and lowering however a 2 speed manual would be nicer for those situations where the wind is blowing and once you break free you need to get that anchor aboard quickly. I single hand a lot and even with that single speed I'm able to avoid going into other boats even in a crowed anchorage.
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post #13 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

I like a dedicated battery, but you could get away with running it off the house, if you're careful. If you run the house down over night and then try to pull a big draw in the morning, it could be a problem. Depends on a lot of factors though: type of battery, capacity, level of charge, etc.

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post #14 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

A dedicated set of batteries for the windlass is the best way to go .Most boats have the battery banks installed aft nearest the engine alternator. Cheapest location since wire to charge the batteries is expensive and some times hard to pull in . The windlass in almost all cases is as far forward as possible (I have seen one installation with the windlass mounted amidships). The amperage drawn by a windlass under load is substantial and voltage drop over the distance is a big problem unless you select the proper wire gage. Wire that size is VERRY expensive and very hard to pull in. This is one area you donít want to cut costs the wrong wire wonít allow the windlass to work at full power it will over heat the motor and the wire, Creating a potential fire hazard. Using the correct wire mount a set of batteries forward capable of handling the anchor once without the engine. The engine should be running but there is always the exception so plan it in. The wire to charge the batteries should be proper size to allow the battery to reach full charge and will probably be a smaller gauge and easier to pull in. Fuses or breakers are wise precautions when using the power this system will require.
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post #15 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

My boat came with a bulletproof 555 manual windlass. Before we re-launched her I had an oldschool superhero sized electric windlass sitting on the deck, ready to install. I sold it instead because I'm too damned fat anyway. I have no regrets. I can get the anchor up almost as fast as an electric and the one time it got stuck in the mud my friend's anchor was just as stuck as mine, right next to me. His electric ran out of power before I did and I got mine up first anyway. I was a sweaty pig and he wasn't.

I didn't have the $700.00 for the wire and switch to install it at that time and I didn't want to haul it around in the bilge until I had enough money.
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post #16 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

I'd go with a powered windlass. It's not going to cost you that much more for a good quality powered version (lewmar 700 or Anchorlift) and will save you a ton of time and headache. Dont Deck Mount It!!! Our switch is on the helm console with a plastic cover over it. Even that is on a backup power on/off switch on the panel in the cockpit. Safety first.

good luck!
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post #17 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

You said you were on a limited budget - just how limited is it? I installed a Lewmar with 800-pounds of pull, it easily hauls in my 45-pound CQR with 100-feet of 1/4-inch BBB chain. The boat is a Morgan Out Island 33 that tips the scales at 14,500 pounds. Installing the rig myself cost me $1,500 for everything.

In hindsight, I would go to the 1,000-pound pull Lewmar if I had to do it all again.


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post #18 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

Quick question!

Some of you use the electric windlass while single handed. If it's not rated to pull the boat towards the anchor, how do you use to retrieve? Do you just assume that 1 knot of bot speed is about what the windlass retrieves at and motor forward at that speed?
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post #19 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

We are planning on replacing our bronze manual ABI windlass with an electric windlass sometime within the year. We have 7/16 chain with a 60 lb Bruce which is tough to pull up by hand and takes forever with the manual windlass plus I think the windlass is set up for 3/8. When we switch to an electric I will also replace the chain with 3/8 or maybe even go down to 5/16.

I've read up on the dedicated battery option and am not convinced that it gains you much in savings for the wiring. For one thing, you now have another battery to maintain and you added more weight to the bow. For charging that battery you still need to run wire for it. We plan to run our windlass from our house bank since we will be running our engine at that time anyway.

If you are installing a windlass and can afford it, then I suggest electric.
If you want to go with a manual, then I may have a nice bronze one for you.

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post #20 of 32 Old 09-06-2012
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Re: Manual or Electric Windless??

We had a SL 555 "Sea Tiger" manual windlass on our boat until 2006. Unfortunately, I was in an accident in July 2004 that cost me much of the use of my left arm. While I somewhat recovered after extensive surgeries, I did not entirely and during our cruises in early 2006 it became "painfully" evident I needed a mechanical assist if we were to continue cruising. With that, I purchased a Maxwell VWC1500 Windlass with a reversing solenoid with wired as well as wireless controllers. Our Windlass is, of course, located on our fore-deck with a measured wire run of 45+/- feet to our battery bank (taking into account pathway curves etc.). At the time I revised our battery bank arrangement from two separate 225Ah "House" banks to a single 450 Ah bank with a separate high capacity starting battery for our engine/generator. After consultations with a number of Electrics Guru's (which I am assuredly not), I used 2/0 cables that I purchased from Pacer Marine (Wire) of Sarasota, Florida for, roughly, $350 USD, including the necessary shrink warp, lugs etc. (The same cable, connectors et al from WM was priced at over $1,000 USD and Pacer Marine is the supplier of "Ancor" wire/cable, sold by WM!)

The connection to a single high capacity "house bank" has proven more than adequate. While we are usually running our engine when we recover our anchor, on some occasions we do not and simply sail off the anchor. There is more than enough power in our battery reserve to hoist our 3/8" BBB Chain and 45# CQR, even in deep anchorages without the complication of a dedicated "windlass battery". The separate starting battery, which we charge with an "Echo Charger" ensures we can start our engine, which then provides a reliable (and measured) 105 Amps of charging/power capacity, ensuring we have more then sufficient power for our Windlass under most any circumstances.


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