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Author Topic: Windlass upgrade  (Read 352 times)

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LogoFreak

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Windlass upgrade
« on: January 03, 2022, 02:32:24 PM »

I read some of the older threads on windlass upgrades and haven't seen a comparison between brands. Pretty much every brand out there makes both vertical and horizontal windlasses. What's the consensus on which one is best from a quality perspective?

The original windlass setup by Catalina Yachts is beyond retarded, an upgrade is a must. Leaning towards a vertical setup with a capstan protruding thru the anchor locker lid. It will give me more head room between top of chain pile and bottom of windlass which in turn should make operating it possible from the cockpit. Any of you find any windlasses with a chain counter as an integrated solution and not an afterthought as most are?
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Antoni - Vancouver BC
1992 Catalina 34 Tall rig fin keel mk 1.5 “Polonaise”
Hull number 1179

LogoFreak

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2022, 03:15:23 PM »

Current setup for reference, that Gypsy is waaaay to close to the bulkhead and the chain piles up on that small ledge right below.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2022, 03:37:47 PM by LogoFreak »
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Antoni - Vancouver BC
1992 Catalina 34 Tall rig fin keel mk 1.5 “Polonaise”
Hull number 1179

Noah

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2022, 07:08:16 PM »

I am guessing that your windlass was not a factory OEM piece of equipment. My understanding was Catalina used Maxwell. However I may be wrong. Meanwhile, there are lots of ways to go with this “upgrade”—many which are written-up on this site. I went for a Maxwell VW10, mounted horizontally inside the locker. I am about 80% satisfied with it.
Pluses:
1. lots of power—perhaps too much!?
2. Combo chain a rope + separate rope capstan. I reroute the tail of my spinnaker halyard forward, around the rope capstan, to easily lift my dinghy onto the foredeck. I also may try using it with my wife, to lift me up the mast. Will need to think more about that trick.

Minuses:
This is not really a fault of the windlass, but as you pointed out, it is the result of the positioning of the windlass and the lack of depth of our anchor locker. I use a combo 40ft of 5/8 chain and 300 ft. of 5/8 8-plait line. The locker cannot “handle” that much bulk without me having to shovel the chain forward as it castles onto the pile of line under it. I have a temporary fix, that was taught to ne by another Forum member who uses the same windlass. It is to store less line under the chain. I keep about 100 ft of line under the chain and store the rest hanked/flaked up on a 1/2 PVC pipe which spans the indents fore/aft in the locker which were meant to hold a Danforth style anchor. This keeps about 200 ft. of rope rode available to use in deeper water. It sort of works for now. My other option is to ditch the 8-plait and go for 100% chain rode—which I figure I can fit 200ft. (+/-) without it having a castling/piling-up problem in the locker due height issue. Unfortunately, an expensive switchover to all chain.

As I said, there are lots of solutions and examples of above-deck and below-deck solutions shown on our website.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2022, 07:23:28 PM by Noah »
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LogoFreak

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2022, 08:34:50 PM »

Thanks for the reply Noah! For reference, the first pic in my second post shows you what 320’ of 5/16” BBB chain looks like. I went with all chain for my setup. The reason I don’t want to simply re-mount my current windlass is that it’s old and leaves a lot to be desired from. First of it only does up and not down, it doesn’t have a chain counter built in (I see even most new ones don’t have this feature out of the box). I can maybe upgrade all of that but the cost start to creep up to almost 50% of just buying a new unit with all the bells and whistles.

The objective is to be able to operate the anchor from the cockpit, which I currently can’t.

Any comments on which brand to go with? Lewmar/Lofrance/Maxwell/etc…
« Last Edit: January 03, 2022, 08:49:17 PM by LogoFreak »
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Antoni - Vancouver BC
1992 Catalina 34 Tall rig fin keel mk 1.5 “Polonaise”
Hull number 1179

waughoo

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2022, 09:09:12 PM »

you "should" be able to fix the "not down" problem with a new relay and additional foot switch.  Not sure that gets you enough of an upgrade to keep your current set up.  I honestly would not be too confident that the cockpit switch would be all that helpful for retrieval due to the problems of chain castling.  However, you could likely do that for launch without too much problem.  If I had my druthers, I would go for a maxwell vertical through the deck combo gypsy "chain and rope" with a capstain sticking up above the deck (al-la the Mk2 setup).  It seems to me that once one had a power driven capstain that all kinds of nifty things would be discovered to do with it.
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Alex - Seattle, WA
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Robert Giroux

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2022, 05:39:32 AM »

I too have an all-chain setup but only 150ft because I'm in Biscayne Bay (Miami) and this boat will likely only ever get me to the Bahamas at some point. My MKII has the vertical Maxwell and only goes up as well.  I thought this would bother me but the locker/castling issue and the fact that anchors have to be secured/unsecured and snubbed, not just taken up or down, has me convinced that neither the switch or a remote would be of value, at least to me. The only guy I know that has a chain counter didn't fix it when it broke.  :D
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Jim Hardesty

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2022, 06:57:54 AM »

Quote
If I had my druthers, I would go for a maxwell vertical through the deck combo gypsy "chain and rope" with a capstain sticking up above the deck (al-la the Mk2 setup).
That's the set-up on Shamrock.  I like it a lot.  Saw in the paperwork from the PO that Maxwell had a special price for a kit to add the down switch for Catalinas.  That was a long time ago.  A simple mod. 
I disconnect the rode and use the capstan to go up the mast, added a pad eye in the anchor locker to attach a block to get the proper feed to the capstan to prevent overrides.  It's an easy thing but the person on deck needs to know the proper way to handle a line and capstan.
Jim
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Jim Hardesty
2001 MKII hull #1570 M35BC  "Shamrock"
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mark_53

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2022, 09:34:59 AM »

I reroute the tail of my spinnaker halyard forward, around the rope capstan, to easily lift my dinghy onto the foredeck.
I was thinking of a VW10 mounted horizontally in the locker in the near future.  For me, lifting the dingy and up the mast would be as useful as lifting the anchor.  Seems like a vertically mounted above deck windless would require a extra fairlead on deck.
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1989 C34 Mk1 M25XP Danforth 25lb, adjustable backstay, fin keel, EV100 autopilot, E7D Chartplotter, Navpod, Mack Pack, CDH diesel heater, Grp 75 start and 2 Grp 27 House batteries, Blue Sea ACR.

Jim Hardesty

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2022, 10:05:47 AM »

Quote
Seems like a vertically mounted above deck windless would require a extra fairlead on deck.

I have a vertically mounted drum.  Don't find it to be a problem.  I use 3 blocks to route the extra jib halyard for lifting.  One at the base of the mast.  One tied to the pulpit to keep the halyard off the deck, doesn't have much force as it only changes the angle of the halyard a little.  One on a well backed pad eye in the anchor well to get a fair lead to windless drum.  When ascending the mast I remove the chain.  If lifting just run enough rode to have slack for the lift.
Jim
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Jim Hardesty
2001 MKII hull #1570 M35BC  "Shamrock"
sailing Lake Erie
from Commodore Perry Yacht Club
Erie, PA

mark_53

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2022, 10:43:03 AM »

Quote
Seems like a vertically mounted above deck windless would require a extra fairlead on deck.

I have a vertically mounted drum.  Don't find it to be a problem.  I use 3 blocks to route the extra jib halyard for lifting.  One at the base of the mast.
Wouldn't all that be unnecessary if horizontally mounted in the anchor locker?
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1989 C34 Mk1 M25XP Danforth 25lb, adjustable backstay, fin keel, EV100 autopilot, E7D Chartplotter, Navpod, Mack Pack, CDH diesel heater, Grp 75 start and 2 Grp 27 House batteries, Blue Sea ACR.

LogoFreak

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2022, 11:50:20 AM »

Most of the setups I see have the chain dropping into locker right at the aft bulkhead, it gives the chain a way to pile up easier as it has the bulkhead to rest up against. Wouldn't it be better if the chain dropped in the middle of the locker? Moving the windlass forward would accomplish that. Thoughts?
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Antoni - Vancouver BC
1992 Catalina 34 Tall rig fin keel mk 1.5 “Polonaise”
Hull number 1179

Noah

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2022, 12:30:07 PM »

Yes. I was/am toying with design a ramp under windlass to guide chain forward. But I gave the issue “a rest” over the past couple of months. I may get back to that problem in my lifetime.  Meanwhile, here is a photo of my current set-up, with extra tail-end of my 300 ft. (+/-) rope rode flaked out on the PVC pipe, to keep it out of the bottom of the locker.
I also added a SS striker/anti-chafe plate behind the windlass. Semi-effective to keep chain from chattering/binding on locker’s aft bulkhead. I have the capability to use either my wireless remote or a corded remote plugged into the locker as a backup. I have deactivated the foot switch as it was used only for my original down-only Maxwell 300/500. There was no room to add a second foot switch so i abandoned the foot switch concept. I also have a chain/rode counter integrated into my wireless remote.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2022, 01:00:04 PM by Noah »
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mark_53

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2022, 02:47:02 PM »

Current setup for reference, that Gypsy is waaaay to close to the bulkhead and the chain piles up on that small ledge right below.
Make a wedge and epoxy on the ledge to guide the chain?
Cut an old bicycle fender to guide the chain forward over the ledge.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2022, 12:07:04 PM by mark_53 »
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1989 C34 Mk1 M25XP Danforth 25lb, adjustable backstay, fin keel, EV100 autopilot, E7D Chartplotter, Navpod, Mack Pack, CDH diesel heater, Grp 75 start and 2 Grp 27 House batteries, Blue Sea ACR.

LogoFreak

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Re: Windlass upgrade
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2022, 03:57:55 PM »

I looked online at the Catalina 355, they have changed the anchor locker, essentially done what I was thinking off. Also looks like they don’t have an inner liner anymore either so there’s probably a glassed in bulkhead dividing the v-berth and anchor locker. I’m guessing there’s a conduit that drains anchor locker into bilge or there’s a false floor just above the water line.

I’ll modify the lid and mount the winch in the same way, might cut out the liner to enlarge anchor locker as well but probably not until next fall.
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Antoni - Vancouver BC
1992 Catalina 34 Tall rig fin keel mk 1.5 “Polonaise”
Hull number 1179
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