Thursday, July 3, 2014

We Need a Windlass

Sigh.  I knew it. I was in serious denial before.

I tried pulling up our 45lb Mantus anchor a couple weeks ago in dead calm wind...and after a night on the anchor, also with no wind. And I couldn't budge it. At all. I got the boat up to the anchor where the line was vertical but from there...nothing. If there had been more wind the anchor would have been even harder to get up. Not.Good.

I stood there pulling with all my might while Ron stood behind me all, "okay, start pulling". What?!? Even when he grabbed the line behind me to help me get the anchor up I was still pulling with everything I had just to get it 'unstuck' from the muddy bottom. Now, part of me is really  glad that our anchor sets so well, even in light winds, but the other part of me knows that we might both have real issues trying to pull up the anchor after or during any kind of wind. If that's what we get when we buy such an awesome anchor, I'll take it but that also means we need to add another project to the list.

At this point the windlass becomes a piece of necessary safety equipment, and that I don't mess with. No matter how much it costs or how much it interferes with the budget.
A "windlass" is a machine used on ships that is used to let-out and heave-up equipment such as for example a ship's anchor or a fishing trawl. ~Wise words from Wikipedia
With the push of a button the windlass can raise (and lower) the anchor while dumping the
chain and line into the anchor locker below it. I like.
Image here
 The picture above is on the same kind of boat as ours and is a set up that will be similar to what we'll go with most likely.

There are probably people reading this thinking, "I told you so" or "I knew it" or "about time"....well, you'd be right to do so. I stand corrected. I give. You were right - And I'm sure  this won't be the last time I say that. We really do need a windlass.

More proof that BOAT stands for:


Or, in this case, two.

But hey, if we need it we need it. Our backs will thank us someday.


  1. There is a way to get by on the cheap. Fifty feet of 3/8 line with a chain hook spliced on the end. Reach down as far as you can and hook your chain. Run the other end to your sheet wench on the mast. Crank until it breaks loose and hand over hand the rest in. Good way to keep in shape and as you become more active "out there" you will get stronger. I was never a fan of electrical things up on the bow while on salt water. As few times as I used our manual windlass I would seriously advise to try without at first. Also you always don't need to use the big anchor. You would be surprised how often a lighter Danforth with 50ft of chain and the rest three strand will do the job. Much less work. I also frequently used our "lunch hook". A 15lb danforth with 15ft of light chain and 1/2in rode off the stern. Really easy to use in good weather. It often held our Westsail 32 in 20kt winds without problems (* if the bottom was good). Ken

  2. Have you shopped for a manual winch/windlass? The install is much easier and will not require a large cable and fuse from the house batteries.

    We had one on our previous boat and loved it.

    Also, much cheaper!

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

    1. We're not 100% sold on electric, we haven't done that much research about it yet, but it's something that maybe we'll have to look into. I'm always up for keeping things simple! :)