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Maxwell Windlass Lewmar Windlass

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Powerwinch Windlass Quick Windlass

Often referred to as a drum, rope drum, or warping drum. The capstan is primarily used for hauling rope.

Chain Stopper
Similarly, chain compressor. Located between the winch and bow roller. Secures chain and anchor and takes the load off the winch/windlass. Highly recommended for systems utilising all chain and for semi-automatic rope and chain systems.

Free Fall
Release of the winch clutch mechanism allowing the anchor and rode (chain or rope and chain) to run out freely with no engagement of winch gearbox or motor.

Often referred to as chainwheel or wildcat. A special wheel with pockets, to accommodate a specified chain size, for hauling up the chain and anchor. With automatic rope/chain systems the gypsy is designed to haul both rope and chain.

Often referred to as weighing or lifting. The operation of lifting the anchor and rode.

Pertaining to the winch or windlass. Drive shaft, capstan and gypsy are positioned horizontally to the deck.

Manual Override System
Often referred to as emergency crank system. A means of manually cranking the winch to haul in the rode and anchor should a failure occur in the motor, gearbox or power supply.

Maximum Pull
Sometimes referred to as rated lift, stall load, or simply lift/pull. The maximum pull or lift load of the winch.

The line that secures the boat to the anchor. This may consist of all chain, all rope, or a combination of rope and chain.

Pertaining to the winch or windlass. The drive shaft, capstan and gypsy are positioned vertically to the deck.

A windlass driven by a hand or power-operated crank or gearbox. Often implies to pull or lift a weight by using a winch.

A machine for raising a weight by winding a rope and/or chain around a drum or chainwheel, driven by a crank, motor, etc.

Working load
Often referred to as the normal working load or the typical lift of the winch. This is usually somewhere between 25% to 35% of the maximum pull or rated lift. This workload should approximately correspond to the total weight of the anchor and rode aboard the boat.

Vertical vs Horizontal Winches

Vertical systems have several advantages: They take up less space on deck and are easier to maintain. They are less expensive than equivalent horizontal models. Chain alignment for smooth chain retrieval, while important, is not as critical as horizontal windlass alignment. With vertical systems more chain is in contact with the chainwheel thus avoiding the possibility of chain jump. Line-pull on the warping drum can be in any direction, as opposed to fore and aft only on horizontal models.

Horizontal models have the advantage of being better suited to applications where there is limited below deck space / accessibility, extreme deck thickness (over 200mm - 8"), or where two anchors must be handled from one winch.