A few words about the windlass.
As a rule, the winch consists of a mechanical, electric or hydraulic drive, a gipsy for winding the chain or rope, and a control device. Due to the different types of fastening, windlasses can be mounted on any type of boat, yacht or catamaran.
There are different types of windlasses.
By type of drive:
- Manual. Gives an advantage in force, due to the use of a reduction gear..
- Electric. Comfortable and reliable. Used for boats and yachts of small and medium size, therefore, the most common.
- Hydraulic. They are applied on big size yachts and mega-yachts. It has its own hydraulic system.
By shaft location:
- Horizontal (anchor windlass). Easier to install and maintain. But take up more deck space and require a sturdy protective housing.
- Vertical (capstan). Compact, low profile. All mechanism except chain gear and top cylinder (if any) is hidden below deck.
By type of chain dump:
- Free drop. Anchor is lowered by its own weight. Anchor drop is very fast.
- By the drive mechanism. Anchor drop happens at the rate of rotation of the electric or hydraulic drive.
How to choose the right windlass for your boat?
To choose the right windlass, there are several factors to consider:
- The size of the boat.
- Length of the chain/rope.
- Weight of anchor with rope or chain.
As well as some other features - model, type and pulling force of the windlass.
The appropriate model is chosen according to the manufacturers' recommendations, depending on the length of your boat.
For small boats 5,5-8,0 m long, the type of windlass by shaft location (as well as the length of the anchor rope) depends largely on the size of the anchor chain box. Horizontal ones are suitable for small compartments, with a total depth of at least 30 cm. For vertical, you need larger compartments, so that from the top of the folded rope to the cover is at least 30 cm.
For larger boats and yachts, no specific recommendations on the type of device are relevant, since most boats over 8.0 m in size can be fitted with both horizontal and vertical types of anchor winches without much trouble. Here the captain's preference for a particular model plays a major role in the choice.
3) Pulling force.
This is probably the most important parameter when choosing a windlass.
To calculate this parameter, you must sum up the weight of the anchor, rope and chain. And then multiply the resulting number by three to get the safety margin, taking into account the force of the stream, wind gusts and other factors.
When determining the pulling force, remember that the winch is not designed to pull an anchor stuck in the ground. It is only designed to lift it. You have to free it in other ways. Likewise, the device will break if it has to hold the boat on the chain in strong winds. Therefore, during the anchorage, you have to take the load off it - fix the chain with a stopper or fix the rope on the deck brace.
4) Additional equipment and useful features.
When buying a windlass, it is recommended to pay attention to a few more points::
- Whether there is a remote control. Controlling the mechanism from a distance saves time and energy of the boat or motorboat skipper. Besides, it is additional safety, because it is not recommended to step on the deck in case of a strong wind.
- A foot switch on the deck can be useful, regardless of whether or not there is a remote control. Panel models are popular on power boats.
- Is it possible to freely drop the anchor. If not, you won't be able to stop quickly in an emergency. And while fishing, while the anchor falls on the bottom, the boat can be carried away for many meters from the chosen place.
- How noisy the mechanism works. This is not the most important indicator, but still, nowadays comfort is not in last place.
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