Upgrading to an Electric Windlass

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Many Westerly Owners, especially with the smaller models, stick with the traditional way of bringing in the anchor and chain, either by manually hauling in or maybe via a manual windlass. This page explains how to install a modern electric windlass on a Centaur, but the same guidelines apply to most models.

The first step is to remove the original chainpipe and seal the hole. David's Isopon P40 is a good bridging compound as it contains a mix of resin and glassfibres for strength.

Windlass Chainpipe.jpg

The next job is to locate the windlass (in this case a Quick Genius 600 electric windlass) and cut a square where the chain will fall through to the chain locker. Be careful when identifying where you want the windlass to be as there is a bulkhead between chain locker and forecabin and you want the chain to fall into the rearmost part of the locker but obviously not into the V berth ! A pilot hole will help verify you have chosen correctly.

The windlass is secured in place with stainless studs and you need to bed it using Sikaflex or similar seating compound.

Windlass Placement.jpg

The windlass will now be obstructing the routing of mooring warps from fairlead to cleat and on a Centaur it is difficult to avoid this. A solution is to fit new additional fairleads further from the bows which will allow warps to bypass the windlass (as in picture):

Windlass Fairlead Relocation.jpg

There are a variety of ways in which you can operate the windlass. Footswitches can be mounted in the deck as shown, or you could consider a remote hand-held controlling device. For this particular installation, the footswitches have proved to be a good practical choice.

Windlass Footswitches.jpg

This is the finished installation and as well as looking pretty neat, it saves a lot of strain on those ageing backs !

Windlass Finished item.jpg

This particular installation uses the house battery rather than any dedicated windlass battery. Best to ensure the engine is running to avoid unnecessary drain on that battery when operating the windlass. Heavy duty cables are needed to run from the house battery all the way to the 2 way reversing contactor which should be located close to the windlass. 25mm2 flexible welding cable was ideal for the installation - it is essential that you do not use undersized cable for two reasons; the voltage drop that will be experienced and the heat that can be generated within the cable. This pic shows the 2 way reversing contactor and gives an idea of the size of cable used. Note also the normally open access chain locker has had a hatch cover fitted to stop the chain piling up and falling into the V berth.

Windlass Contactor.jpg

You also need to install a circuit breaker (discussion). This pic shows the circuit breaker located in the engine compartment - the operating flick switch protrudes into the cockpit area. With hindsight, it would have been better to locate the circuit breaker somewhere where the flick switch would not get kicked (and snapped) in a busy cockpit area !

Windlass Circuit Breaker.jpg