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How to choose the right windlass for your boat

1. What size windlass would best suit my boat?

Use our windlass selection chart found on page 2 to determine the general size of windlass to be fitted to your boat by using length and displacement. For example, if you have a 10m (33 ft) boat, typically a 270kg (600 lb) pull windlass would be selected. The rule to crosscheck your windlass selection is to add the total weight of the chain and the weight of the anchor together. Rope is very light and does not affect the actual lifting performance of the windlass, but can be factored in. For safe cruising in all types of conditions and sea areas, Lewmar recommends that you multiply the total weight of your anchor and chain x4 (x2 for V6 to V12). This number should be less than the maximum pull of the windlass you have selected. Should your findings be at or more than the maximum pull, select the next largest windlass. The windlass does not stow the anchor rode in the locker. Gravity stows the rode in the locker. There must be a free and clear area under the hawse pipe for the incoming rode to lie; if not, the rode will jam. Your windlass is a retrieval device; the windlass retrieves the anchor and rode. A windlass is not a high-load-bearing device. When at anchor your rode should be secured to a chain stopper, a cleat or other mooring point on the bow.

2. How long is the anchor rode I wish to use, and will the windlass put the entire rode into my locker?

Begin by examining the depth of the anchor locker to determine the fall that is available. The fall is the vertical distance between the top of the anchor locker and the top of the anchor rode when the entire rode is completely stored inside. This measurement is important in determining whether your boat will be best suited for a vertical or horizontal windlass. Do not stow the rode inside the anchor locker; gravity stows the rode. Y You must know how much rode will fit into your locker by gravity. There has to be a free and clear area under the hawse pipe for the incoming rode. Otherwise you will have to comb the rode back, keeping a clear and free space under the hawse pipe while retrieving the anchor.

  • The key features of Horizontal Windlasses are:
  • • Most of the windlass unit is on the deck
  • • Easy installation
  • • Good for boats with small anchor lockers
  • • Anchor rode enters the gypsy, makes a 90° turn and feeds into the anchor locker
  • • Minimum fall of 304mm (12") is recommended in order to have
  • enough gravity to pull the rode down into the locker
  • The key features of Vertical Windlasses are:
  • • More of the unit is hidden below deck
  • • Suitable for large anchor lockers
  • • Anchor rode makes a 180° wrap around the gypsy providing more security
  • • Minimum fall of 406mm (18") is recommended in order to have enough gravity to pull the rode down into the locker

3. How much pulling power should my windlass have?

Having selected a vertical or horizontal windlass and determined the size required using the chart on page 2, you can cross-check by using the following formula:

Total weight of ground tackle(anchor & rode) = Pulling power required by the Windlass