1666 Mar 13, 2002

As my electrical upgrades continues, I plan to set up my system to allow for an electic windlass in case I want one later. Can anyone tell me what the amperage draw would be with a windlass suitable for our boats?

James, (Niko 91)

1667 Mar 13, 2002

James, Practical Sailor (the newsletter) just did a review of electric windlassís and I must admit I set it aside to look at later (with consideration to adding one to my boat. Perhaps someone in this group looked at a little more thoroughly than I did.

Tom Lix

Relief (formerly known as Pequod)

1668 Mar 13, 2002

According to the West Catalogue, an electric windlass can draw up to 120 amps. for a boat the size of the SWII, depending on windlass model. The amount of current drawn from the main batteries/alternator can be diminished by installing a special battery for the windlass next to it. Then mostly charging current is drawn from the main batteries/alternator. This option decreases markedly the size and cost of wire from the batteries to the windlass, which can be a considerable expense because of the large wire size required to deliver adequate voltage at the amount of current drawn. There are many choices to make. A manual windlass is the simple solution.

1669 Mar 13, 2002

Dear James: In my offshore upgrade in 1998-99, I installed not one but two electric windlasses, both from Powerwinch for the price of one of the other brands. The PW 30 was the smooth gypsy head windlass lambasted by P.S. for lousy materials, but I got some confidence from lobstermen who used it extensively. I had however to redo the aluminum cover paint which was flaking after 3 years including one in tropical sun, and heavy use (the only one I actually used, it takes the rope and also the chain). It was a simple job with Rustoleum brown primer (for unclean surfaces) and glossy white, looks good after one year in LI Sound

The more modern PW35 has the right materials (after P.S. critique). Its toothed wheel is capable of both chain and line connected to a chain with a long splice. It has my main mooring (rode stowed into the well) but was used only twice, although checked twice a year for up motion and freewheeling (for down motion), but I never had to use it, once I reinforced my 22lb Claw day anchor with 30 feet of 3/8" chain (instead of the old 8í), which are stowed with the ensuing 200í of 1" nylon (shackle-connected) on deck behind the gypsy head.

Both windlasses are protected by a 35 Amp switch. I never had to pull hard with the PW35, and you should not use any electric windlass but for lifting the chain. However, I have had to use the PW30 with little help from the engine in a night dragging (anchor fouled by fisherman buoy, plus strong onshore gusts after the wind turned), so it is relatively powerful, even with only a smooth gypsy head, and I have never disjuncted or heard the vibrating switch operate, except on the PW 35 when the chain was stuck in the well during a test.

Although I used to start the engine before operating any of the windlass (separate main switch at the bus, on top of the trio: housebank-startup-parallel), I am now satisfied that I can use it for the usual short spurts without the engine, relaying on my 2x220A AGM HouseBK batteries that have a low resistance and can put out high amps when needed, and are geenrally kept between 75% and 100% capacity by 2x75A Siemens solar panels. I do however start the engine when I am moored in deep water, which I generally avoid.

One of the reasons for my choice, besides price, was that the ratio of torque to amps was relatively high. I would check the amps of the protection switches as a guide for maximum amps vs. torque, generally given for at least two speeds, but the technical guys can give you more, just get it in writing or from web specs.

I tried recently to reach Powerwinch on the web but could not find them. They may have gone under or been bought. Iíll try to retrieve a contact name/address. Kind REgards, Bert dF Pianissimo 80K