A new addition to the deck gear…

Have you noticed that it’s almost impossible to find a new manual anchor windlass? Or, if you do it’s more expensive than a powered one? When you do find a good manual windlass the cost is often right at the cost of a brand spanking new electric windlass.

Is that nuts or what?

The Islander came with an old Vetus horizontal manual windlass which is OK. Well, except for the fact that it’s mounting location is such that it’s not very useful and it, as well as the two anchor rollers, need to be relocated to function properly which is a lot more work than I care to do.

As it happens, I’m not a fan of horizontal windlasses and prefer the vertical sort like the Plastimo/Simpson Lawrence/Lewmar Anchorman. In my opinion, it’s the best manual windlass anyone has ever made.

Simpson-Lawrence Anchorman Windlass

For starters, it’s powerful and allows me to deal with a 45-pound anchor and mostly chain rode without issue. Since I’m 70-frelling-years-old, this is is no bad thing. Even better, the design is so simple that there’s nothing to break and it’s so easy to service there’s no need to put off maintenance when it’s needed. I will admit to breaking the chain gypsy trying to pull us off the beach after Cat 5 Hurricane Omar, but the mechanics of the windlass are still in perfect shape. Think about that for a moment. How often do you put the sort of force with a winch handle where you can break a gypsy?

Which is why, when I saw an Anchorman going for cheap ($275), I jumped on it as it sorted out most all of my foredeck problems in one fell swoop.

As for the Vetus windlass, I’ll take it down to bare metal, fair it up, and give it a couple of coats of paint to make it pretty, then put it up for sale at the next cruisers flea market I come across or install it on “So It Goes” and snag that Anchorman to use as a stern anchor windlass on the Islander.

Like I said, I’m 70 and no longer feel the need to raise a sweat…

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2 thoughts on “A new addition to the deck gear…”

  1. Oddly, this is the very problem I’m wrestling with right now. I guess manual winches are no longer in demand, everybody getting so old and all, unable to wind up the gear by hand. Conversely, perhaps,electric ones have got relatively less expensive as the production volume has gone up. Who knows? It may be worth busting the piggy to get a powered one, especially if sailing single or light handed. Close lying hazards and wallies anchoring right on your bows make slow anchor recovery dangerous and an electric winch may well save the boat. From your own experience ,
    de – anchoring a cat in any sort of wind/sea can be a bit of a nightmare, the ship paying off and galloping away like a mad thing. Being able to stay by the main sheet, engine controls etc. and using a remote might make the difference between survival and not. So perhaps worth the price if it can possibly be done. Maybe the Carrib and north west Europe are different kinds of places where different rules apply. Never been there so perhaps talking through hat.

  2. I wont trust an electric, unless it also has a manual option. Lofrans manuals come up occasionally, I like i can put an extension pipe on the handle so i can winch standing up, not so with the vertical with a winch handle, but i see someone mounted one sideways on a mast tabernacle at chest height, a compromise.

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