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Choose a Windlass

Whether your boat is 26 feet or 10 times that, finding the right anchor windlass to handle your anchor-hauling duties requires similar steps. There are many types and brands of windlasses on the market, and many of them can do a good job for you. Here are some factors to consider when picking the best windlass for your boat.

Windlass Selection Guide

Windlass Selection Criteria

Electric Anchoring Windlasses are standard equipment for most new sailing yachts and motorboats nowadays.Upgrades on older yachts are increasingly popular with the advent of improved DC electric charging systems and the tendency towards longer lengths of anchor chain.

We can advise you on all the options regarding your anchoring system, whether you are looking for a suitable matching component to replace a part of the existing setup or starting afresh.

We can help you match a new or replacement windlass to your existing chain and anchor, advising you on all aspects of the selection process, including the calibration of the gypsy and all the accessories required to finish the installation.

What is an anchor Windlass?

An anchor windlass is a device that is mounted on the foredeck of a boat that uses electric, hydraulic, or manual power to raise and lower the anchor and achor rode.

Decide between Horizontal and Vertical = the orientation of the axis of the gypsy wheel.

Vertical features

Horizontal features

What is the difference between a windlass and a winch?

A winch is a machine that is used to pull something heavy. A windlass is a machine used to wind up a rope or cable. A winch is a usually smaller and more portable than a windlass.

They are also used for different applications, such as boats and aircraft. Overall, the two machines have different uses, but they both serve the same purpose: moving something heavy.

If you need a windlass for your boat or aircraft, choose an anchor windlass. Either choice will get the job done well. Just be sure to read the specifications of each machine to make sure it is the right one for your needs.

Anchor winch

This is a small, compact Winch Used for anchoring and towing. It has a quick-release system that makes it easy to attach and detach the cable from the anchor.

Anchor windlass

This is a larger, more powerful windlass used for anchoring and towing. It has a rotary anchor winch to pull in more than one direction. It is also easier to use because it has an automatic release system.

What is the difference between a capstan and a windlass?

The main difference between a capstan and a windlass is that a capstan manages only rope, while a windlass manages chain and in some cases both chain and rope. Many windlasses also come with a capstan on top or on the side to manage a secondary anchor with an all-rope rode.

A ship’s capstan is a drum shaped device that is used for hoisting weights or for winding ship’s anchor cable. A capstan is similar to a windlass, but unlike windlass, it rotates in a horizontal plane and around a vertical axis.
As time passed, capstans were completely made from iron and steel. Gears were used at the head of the capstan to provide a mechanical advantage when the bars were pushed anti-clockwise. Even though things improved, capstans still used to be driven by human power, making their usage stressing and difficult.

Should you choose a horizontal or vertical windlass?

If you’re not sure which type you have, remember that the terms horizontal and vertical refer to the orientation of the shaft of the windlass. Another way of telling is to look at the chain wheel on the windlass. If it spins like a merry-go-round, it’s vertical; if it turns like a Ferris wheel, it’s horizontal.

The odds are you’re going to use the same type for your replacement, but if you had a vertical windlass, you can probably fit a new windlass that’s either vertical or horizontal. If you had a horizontal windlass, however, you’ll likely need to buy another horizontal one due to space constraints below the deck.

The position of the windlass motor can be on deck or hidden under the deck. If the engine is on deck, it is called a horizontal windlass. Indeed, in this case, the sprocket (the star wheel on which the chain is wound) is fixed on the axis of the motor which is horizontal.

The decision to go with a horizontal or a vertical windlass depends on several factors. Which one you choose depends on your anchor locker size, installation and maintenance priorities, placement and ground tackle requirements, and appearance concerns.