Electric Windlass Installation


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Jan 2010, Savannah Georgia

Macho elegance and pride.   An amp sucking, motion transforming beast of a machine, raising and lowering the anchor with a one finger push of a button.   Polished steel and brushed aluminum that can reflect blinding shafts of sunlight, straight into the eyes of the unwary.   Safety lies in a quick glance through polarized sun glass lens, avoiding the brunt of the scintillating and dancing rays, doing a soft shoe on the aluminum case and stainless steel shaft.   Fifty some pounds of all business, no nonsense, anchor and chain lifting muscle equivalent – Ketch 22's new Lofrans Tigres.   A necessary upgrade and replacement for a previous light weight wimp of a windlass that ended up in the trash heap after being ground to a state of non-operation, completely worn out by the singular requirement to lay and weigh Ketch 22's fifty pound Bruce anchor and 200 feet of all chain rode that weighs one foot a pound.

A cruiser doesn't absolutely require an electric windlass.   There are alternatives, such as a manual windlass which performs the same function as an electric model, it just uses a lot more calories and takes a lot more time.   Time which can occasionally be a precious commodity when the wind is blowing and the seas in the anchorage are running high.   If willing to compromise safety, one can also shave a few pounds off the lift weight requirement by replacing the chain with nylon rode and a lighter anchor.   Using the Bahamian style anchoring technique so often championed by Glenn Tiemann, a long time, long distance cruiser who Naty and I met in Puerto Jiminez Costa Rica, can also reduce the lift weight requirement, by using two lighter anchors and nylon rode, but I wouldn't recommend it for a medium or heavy displacement cruising yacht.

At 22,000 fully loaded pounds, Ketch 22 falls into the medium displacement range, which makes for a nicer ride in rough seas, but as with all trade-offs as all yacht designs are, additional weight generally requires more robust gear to maintain the balance between function and performance.   Thus the requirement for a genuinely robust electric windlass.

And the new windlass aboard Ketch 22 in addition to being the thing of beauty alluded to earlier, is also very powerful piece of gear that minimizes the wear and tear on the crew, allowing for a smaller crew without compromising safety, which is always a major consideration when venturing offshore.   Hosting very impressive specs, the new Lofrans Tigres should be more than adequate to the task of deploying and retrieving the ground tackle required to keep the anchor drag alarm silent from the initial drop to the final retrieval.   If it doesn't work out, I'll try and be the first to make it public right here on this web site.

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