Selecting the appropriate windlass and ground tackle for your vessel and application ensures efficient deployment and retrieval of your anchor irrespective of anchoring or weather conditions. An undersized windlass may well compromise the safety of your vessel and crew. Choosing the right one should prevent costly repairs and damage. When selecting a windlass there are a number of factors that need to be considered: vessel type, length and displacement, anchor and chain size, windage and anchoring environment.
A powered windlass with some form of manual operation or override is always a wise choice and ensures peace of mind that the anchor can be retrieved if power failed or in an emergency. The type and style of windlass you select will depend on the depth of the chain locker, the fore deck layout, power options and personal preference.
Electric and hydraulic power windlasses: windlass motors do all the lifting controlled by remote or deck switches and require little user interaction.
Windlasses are one of two types - vertical or horizontal. This is based on the orientation of the drive shaft - vertical or horizontal in direction.
Vertical Windlass: The running gear, gypsy and capstan are positioned above the deck with the motor and gear drive below. Vertical windlasses operate at optimum with greater anchor rode fall than the horizontal windlass and a minimum fall of 30cm from top of stacked anchor rode is recommended.
Horizontal Windlass: Fully enclosed, above deck windlasses, this style is usually preferred where locker space is limited or additional fall is required. The motor and gear drive is fully enclosed in the housing with nothing protruding below deck. The horizontal windlass operates with optimum anchor rode fall of at least 30cm from the top of the stacked anchor rode, and due to the horizontal orientation of the gypsy higher above the deck, there is additional fall provided.
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