Where to Mount the Windlass - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-25-2012 Thread Starter
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Where to Mount the Windlass

Hi All -

I sail a 30 yr old CAL 39 MkII (Jensen Marine) that I just bought this past July. One of the things needed is for me to replace the old, cranky manual windlass with an electric (12V) type. The existing windlass is mounted in a line locker directly below the foredeck triangular hatch cover. I'd like to mount the new unit on top of that hatch cover at deck level by reinforcing the hatch above and below with starboard or another material, but at least one person has said that the hinges on the hatch won't take the load and advised against it, saying I should mount it below deck in that line locker above the chain locker that the boat's original design apparently called for. My engineering analysis is that the direction of the chain/rode load on the windlass will be in the plane of the reinforced hatch cover and therefore not tending to pull out the hinge mounting screws. Any thoughts on positioning and whether a vertical or horizontal windlass would work better?

Thanks to all you more experienced salts out there for taking time to give me your opinions.

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post #2 of 4 Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Where to Mount the Windlass

There's no way the hatch will take the loads without modification. The most common method I've seen used is to cut the hatch in half and permanently mount/attach/reinforce one half as a base for the windlass, leaving the remaining half hinged for access to the chain locker below it.

However if the lead to the current below-deck windlass is fair (ie chain doesn't drag across the gelcoat anywhere) I'd be tempted to try to keep the windlass inside the locker and mount a new one in a similar fashion, esp if you can take advantage of the already-strong-enough mounting platform.

Another option might be to mount the windlass on deck but outside the perimeter of the hatch, if there's space and if the lead remains fair.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Where to Mount the Windlass

I suggest you consider a vertical axis windlass mounted just aft of the chain locker. The advantage of this arrangement is that the windlass/capstan can service both bow rollers and no major structural changes are necessary. An example of such an arrangement on a Cal 39 can be viewed in the Photos at Yachtworld, Cal 39 We rely upon a Maxwell VC 1200 which has proven very reliable and works extremely well for either rode.

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Last edited by svHyLyte; 10-25-2012 at 11:36 AM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Where to Mount the Windlass

I agree with both posts above and additionall would add you dont want the indlass wire to the battery supplying it torqued all the time opening and closing the hatch. In addition the hatches hinges will take all the force from the pull and will be the weakest point.

I have a manual windlass and have contemplate going to an electric one, but have always had great luck with the simplicity of our simpson lawrence. Easily serviced and easy to operate with the double crank action. Wondering if yours is similar. If it is and you decide to replace it, I will buy you old one for parts.


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