Thursday, May 06, 2010

More on the windlass

More on the windlassI've had a lot of comment on yesterdays windlass post, so I thought I'd follow up on it and explain a little more.

First of all there is all kinds of danger here, as anonymous pointed out, with the real risk of someone getting hurt as a result of a moment's inattention. As I've already discovered, that winch is capable of bending a manly sized shackle like it's made of cheese.

My understanding of how this works to recover the anchor is as follows:
  • Ensure the clutch is disengaged.
  • Crank up the Lister engine.
  • Engage the gypsy dogs using some clutch.
  • Engage more clutch while releasing the brake.
  • Haul in the anchor chain slightly using the clutch.
  • Engage the brake, with the clutch slipping so the engine does not stall.
  • Release the claw thingie when the weight is taken off it. Ensure its out of the way.
  • Release the break and fully engage clutch. Use the accelerator if necessary.
  • While hauling up on the chain, ensure the chain is flaked out in the chain box below to prevent deployment issues later.
  • When the anchor is near its resting place, slow down proceedings using the accelerator and easing off the clutch.
  • Ensure anchor is going into the hawse pipe the right way up, using the clutch to slow progress.
  • With the anchor neatly in the hawse pipe, apply the brake well with the clutch slipping.
  • After applying the brake, put the claw thingie onto the chain, to stop it running back out.
  • Release the clutch completely, so the weight of the anchor is on the brake.
  • Slowly ease off the brake, so the chain feeds out slightly and the weight of the anchor is now on the claw.
  • Tighten up the brake.
  • Release the gypsy dogs, so the warping drums or other anchor can be used.
  • Shut down the Lister engine.
Deploying the anchor should be pretty much the reverse of this:

Thinking this through, I see now that my issue is with a clutch that is not working. If this was working, I suspect the windlass would rotate under load when the clutch is disengaged.

That's the theory anyway, I suspect this will take some careful practice.


  1. Anonymous6:32 PM

    Maybe a dumb question, but is it possible you are simply running it backwards? I think it is designed to be pulling up the anchor whilst turning top-towards-the-stern but the setup you have has it pulling whilst turning top-towards-the-bow.

    Now if I were a clutch, I might have a safety interlock that prevented me from going into neutral whilst under load the wrong way around.

    Is it possible that if the windlass was loaded in the expected design direction, it would actually be okay?

  2. Hi Anonymous

    The warping drums etc. do run over the top, towards the stern.

    It may just be the perspective in the picture that gives you the wrong impression. The chain from the hawse pipe comes up in front of the winch.

    The whole thing came in one assembly, so I doubt the thing runs the wrong way anyway.



  3. Hi Tim

    Glad you are having fun with the winch !!

  4. Anonymous1:24 PM

    now listen, this has gone far enough!visit the navy museum at portsmouth,pick up a manual windlass circa 1800,install on deck,insert long poles and you and seb trudge round and round until thing is well and truly home,and as a sop to the namby pamby welfare state you may place your i-pod in the center of the windlass to pipe you on your way.not forgetting the three hurrahs for the skipper of course after each cicuit!!

  5. Anonymous8:45 AM

    now seb lad you know old capt c was banned from that stuff on account it made im all fired up and ornery!!but you and tim might need a wee drop to help you shift that big lump of ugly metal down the deck!!!set to it ya vermits and keep the noise down.