Anchor Winches & Windlasses - Electric & Manual How-Tos
Electric Vs. Manual Anchor Winches
Whether you are sailing, cruising, or fishing, your boat needs to be secured while out on the water using an anchor. And you'll need an anchor winch or windlass to drop and retrieve that anchor. The devices allow the anchor to fall freely into the water thus stopping your boat from drifting into the open sea or bumping into other boats. The anchor is hoisted from the water when you are ready to move on. As a boat owner, you have the option of choosing either the manual or electrical type. The benefits of each type are as follows:
Advantages of Electric Anchor Winches
Large Capacity Many boat owners complain of pains and aches that come with frequent use of a manual anchor. The inconvenience will be felt more especially when using large anchors or dropping them from a high height. Fortunately, electric windlasses are designed to handle a lot of weight. A simple device is capable of pulling a very large anchor and line with minimal effort. This not only saves you from aches but time as well. It's recommended to use a winch that can pull three times the actual load (anchor and line).
Fast Speeds Another reason you may think of installing an electric winch is the faster speed. Pulling a windlass takes a considerable amount of time. This becomes even more challenging when it becomes stuck in between the rocks. However, due to its impressive power and design, a winch will raise the anchor in a shorter time. The speed will be determined by the motor capacity, weight of anchor and the line, and also the drop height.
Versatile Electric anchor winches come in varied designs and capacities. Finding the right one is as simple as knowing the power demand as well as load capacity. Normally, it runs on a 12volt, 24 volt or 36volt DC (Direct Current). A boat that has its own power supply may use a winch that runs on 110/220volt AC (alternating current).The flexible design of the winch also makes it simple to install it at different points on the deck or below the deck.
User-Friendly The electric winch makes raising or lowering the anchor easy and convenient. It only requires pressing or pushing some switches to hoist it and using the reverse switch to lower it. Usually, the anchor drops under its own weight when anchoring the boat. Advanced models feature remote controls which can be operated from any part of the boat. This minimizes the need or inconvenience of having to be next or near to the anchor line during operation.
Advantages of Manual Anchor Winches
No Power Requirement A manual winch for the anchor requires a boater to physically drop it or hoist from water. No power or electricity is needed to operate it. This minimises the demand placed on the battery or the power supply unit thus saving energy. A boater will therefore utilize the saved energy in other applications. So as to minimise the physical effort needed and to make the anchor effective, it's necessary to use the appropriate type.
Easy To Install and Operate Installing a manual anchor winch is pretty simple and straightforward. All what is required is identifying the right spot, the appropriate type and fixing it. This is in contrast to an electric or hydraulic windlass which requires a good understanding about power capacity and wiring. Operating the winch is also simple considering there are no buttons or switches. With a bit of skill and patience you will be able to drop it vertically and raise it with minimal energy.
Inexpensive If you are trying to reduce boating costs then you will be well suited with a manual anchor winch. Besides being more affordable to buy, the winch also doesn't require special skills such as knowledge in wiring. In fact, you may install it in a very short time. This goes a long way in saving you that extra penny.
There are various types of anchor windlasses readily available in the market. Nevertheless, as a boat owner you need to apply due diligence when sourcing for the right type. Factors to consider when buying the winch include the boat's battery or power supply, availability of space on deck or below deck (vertical or horizontal type), the boats design, power rating, cost, reputation of the brand, pull capacity (maximum weight and actual load), pull speed, cost of the anchor winches and other factors.