Keep us in the loop. I love coming up with creative ways to overcome "can't."
Based on web postings from C34 and C320 user groups, it appears that Catalinas of similar vintage to mine came from the factory with Maxwell 500 VC windlass with capstan drum only. Although designed to be mounted in vertical orientation, Catalina installed them in horizontal orientation inside the anchor locker. They were also installed without the needed switching to operate in both directions, so they crank only in one direction, with free-fall drop.
Maxwell sold a kit to convert this to a 500 VW model, which had both capstan and gypsy. The conversion kit also included a new gearbox which was required to do the conversion, and made it so costly that some owners instead would just replace the whole windlass with a new 500 VW (or upgraded at time of purchase). However, in horizontal orientation the performance and ergonomics of the gypsy is compromised, so this alternative was not fully satisfactory to many users.
The 500 series has been discontinued, and conversion kit is no longer available.
Also, my boat does not have a washdown pump built in. So if I wanted to go all-chain, I'd have to:
- Buy a new windlass
- Carve out the anchor locker and deck lid to provide access and space for a windlass installed in vertical orientation
- Find a place for a second foot switch for "down" operation
- Install a washdown pump, including new through-hull, pumping, electricals, etc.
- According to some users' comments, I'd need to find a way to expand the locker to accommodate sufficient chain
- Solve the weight balance issues that would come with a suddenly heavier locker filled with chain
All this for a boat that I haven't even anchored out in yet. I have anchored out in similar charter boats that had rope rode, and somehow survived.
Sorry, I don't mean to sound cynical, but at this point I'm going to go sailing and anchor with my existing tackle (except with new Mantus anchor when it comes). I'll enjoy what I already have until I decide that I want to do major surgery on my boat.