Anchor Windlasses

from the old forums

1. Jim Comeaux
I have a Sea Wolf windlass on my DE-38 and after a minor repair to it (had to re-cut, re-tap and put in a larger bolt that holds the wildcat onto the drive spindle), it works wonderfully. I is mounted aft of the bowsprit with the entry/feed/rode (whatever the heck you call that hole in the deck) port just aft of the wildcar. There is an additional entry with a removable cap on it just forward of the wildcat. I assume that this is either for rope rode or a second anchor. The chain (I have an all chain rode) comes over the top of the wildcat and as it leaves the wildcat it falls directly down into the chain locker. This works out marvelously. The windlass is more or less on, and the wildcat is exactly on, the centerline. The entry (we won’t go into that again) is also on the centerline. I have no problems at all with the chain fouling in the locker or not stacking correctly. It just seems to do it’s own thing and is happy. What kind of rode are you planning on using? If it is combination then you will need a wildcat that is capable of both chain and line, or a windlass with both wildcat and capstan. What size rode are you planning on using? I use 3/8 high test. Others use larger or smaller as they see fit for their applications, but that is a subject for another thread. Whatever you use, just make sure that the windlass will accommodate it. You may have to do some backing up of the mounting pad for the windlass. The stresses on it and the deck under it can be extremely high in surge or storm conditions. This is especially true if you use all chain rode (no shock absorbing stretch in the chain as there is in rope). We are digressing into other threads again. Anyway, good luck with your project and don’t try to save a few too many dollars and risk the entire boat by buying or installing it too lightly.


We have a Vetus Tiger mounted on the bowsprit. The unit is mounted on a 3/8″ aluminum plate which in turn is lag bolted to the bowsprit. It is mounted fsr enough forward to allow removal of motor housing. Mistake, should have mounted it farther back towards samon posts to allow chain to feed into a deeper section of ther chain locker. We have to knock the pile down every twenty five feet to prevent it falling over underway and locking itself up. We use 3/8″ Proof coil chain with twenty five foot spring line led down thourgh twisted shackle replacing the lower bobstay pin. 50 feet of extra spring line is carried on deck to let out chain and spring without hsuling in chain, Power feed is by 00 cable from batteries through 150 amp circuit breaker mounted on side of nav station. Single up deck switch mounted in bulwark with #1 csble to motor through hole drilled through bowsprit. Never anchor without a spring line!

3. Jim Comeaux
Roy, I agree about the need for the snubber line and should have included that bit in my response earlier. I have found that the rubber snubbers that are sold just don’t work well in heavy weather conditions and are not particularly durable considering their cost Vs a short piece of spare line. I am presently using a piece of 5/8″ three strand twisted that I had spare in the rope locker. It seems to work pretty well. I like your idea of the second snubber line, I just haven’t had a need to put another one on yet. I’ll sure keep it in mind though.

MORNING WINGS is a DE 32 and we carry a 35 pound CQR on the star board side of the bow sprit with 120 feet of 3/8 Proof coil in the chain locker and 130 feet of chain pulled back under the cabin sole in the V berth. We also carry a 25 pound CQR on the port side with 30 feet of 3/8 Proof coil chain on deck and 250 feet of 5/8 nylon in a deck box. We have been in all kinds of seas and hobby horsing has not been problem. With all the gear and 9′ Caribe carried on deck and cabin top the 175 pounds of chain plus anchors doesn’t make any difference. We have raised the waterline to three inches above the old boot stripe. When you live aboard you collect things and she still sails great. ROY

halekai: if you will go to…wings.html Gerry was kind enough to take pictures of Morning Wings. One of the pictures shows our Lowfrans mounted on the bowsprit. The hawse pipe was installed by the previous owner and also we wanted to take the motor housing off without removing the whole thing so it is set forward of the Samson posts. Mistake, should have moved the hawse pipe back so chain fills in against bulkhead and falls forward. Should have moved windlass to match. Haven’t had to take it off in 5 years. Now we have to knock the chain down every 25 feet to keep it from falling over and locking if we hit rough water. The picture also shows where we mounted the “up” switch. Small black circle on bulwark. The windlass is mounted on a 3/8 aluminum plate lag screwed to bowsprit with the windlass fastened to the plate with flat head machine screws from the bottom up secured with eleastic stop nuts. Takes a big bent screw driver to get it off, so far strangers haven’t caused any trouble.

Diana: We carry 250′ of chain on our DE 32. !20′ in the chain locker and 130 pulled back under the raised sole in the Vee berth cabin. We have the holdng tank under the berth and a door under the berth giving access to the area behind the bulk head. Some DEs have a set of drawers there which makes it hard to flake the extra chain under the cabin sole. We can just reach in, push and flake the chain. Rarely do we every have to use more that the 120 feet in the locker. The bitter end of the chain has a 25′ length of 1/2″ three strand nylon threaded through about 3 feet of chain. A piece of 2 by 4 is tied to the bitter end of the nylon to act as a chain stop if it tries to run and also allows to cut the chain free if we have to make an emergency departure. In cruising for 15 years I guess we have collected enough junk to balast her out, I know we have raised the boot stripe about 6 inches. Roy

I have changed to an all chain 5/16HT anchor rode with a Lofans Tigres windlass. I would like to stow all the chain (300′) in the space below the V berth, below the regular rode locker in the forepeak. I am having trouble with the chain bunching up and not running down the hawse pipe I have installed. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the chain to run into this storage space?

Your setup is exactly what I intend to do, right down to the Lofrans Tigres. I’ve given problem some thought, but haven’t tried yet (see the “intend” in the previous sentence). What I might try is to put another, low-cost windlass or similar pulling device in the storage locker you intend to put most of the rode. This second windlass could be as small and as cheap as they make them, since it isn’t on deck and it isn’t pulling very much weight at all. Might be able to find something cheap at a swap meet or EBay. The trick is going to be the gypsy. For such a small windlass, it will be made for a much smaller chain. Perhaps taking it apart and putting some spacers between each gypsy wheel half would yield enough grip on your 5/16″. You might also need to put a rubber anchor roller against the chain on the gypsy, to keep it from jumping off. For wiring, you would just wire the small windlass up in parallel with the Tigres switch.

Well, that’s my bright idea. I’ll probably attempt this next year or so, if you end up being the guinea pig, be sure to post how it goes (or doesn’t).

BTW, how exactly do you have the tigress mounted on deck? Do you have any pictures of the installation that you can post or email? I’d love to see how well one of those fits. I really like the design.

S/V Argyle
DE38 #40

Yes that might work. but unless you use the same windlass, you could never keep them in sync pulling the chain at the same speed. As the lower locker is under the V berth, their is no visual access either, unless you roll up the mattress and take off the hatch. My current solution (an I have tried many) is to construct a chain hawse using 3″ drain pipe leading from the deck under the windlass (which is mounted on a steel plate on top of the bow sprit just behind where my old manual Simpson Lawrence was mounted) which leads the chain back towards the forward bulkhead at a slight downward angle of about 65 degrees an which ends as high up in the fore peak as possible directly over the deepest part of the locker. I put in a small partition up against the bulkhead to keep the chain from spilling out the door into the V berth. I used a saws-all to slightly open the existing hole under the forward bulkhead to allow a 3″ drain pipe to be jammed in through which I pass the bitter end of the chain into the lower locker. through trial and error I have determined that I have to manually pull about 150′ of chain into the lower locker and the remaining 150′ I can allow to drop into the fore peak. that’s all the chain the fore peak will hold without someone continually arranging it as it is winched in. As this is not something you would want to have to do, I’m stuck with only using 150′. While I can deploy all 300, getting it back on board and stowed would be a pain. Your idea of a second windlass is intriguing but getting them to pull together seems like another can of worms
Chris Todd
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