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How to choose the right windlass for your boat

In order to select the correct windlass for your boat, three questions should be answered:

1. What size windlass would best suit my boat?

Use our windlass selection chart found here to determine the general size of the windlass to be fitted to your boat by using length and displacement.

2. How long is the anchor rode I wish to use, and will the windlass put the entire rode into my locker?

Examine the depth of the anchor locker to determine the fall that is available.

The fall is the vertical distance between the top of the anchor locker and the top of the anchor rode when the entire rode is completely stored inside.

The windlass is a retrieval device. The windlass retrieves the anchor and rode.

The windlass does not stow the rode inside the anchor locker gravity stows the rode.

You must know how much rode will fit into your locker by gravity. There has to be a free and clear area under the hawse pipe for the incoming rode. Otherwise, you will have to comb the rode back, keeping a clear and free space under the hawse pipe while retrieving the anchor.

A windlass is not a high-load bearing device. When at anchor your rode should be secured to a chain stopper, a cleat or other mooring point on the bow.

3. How much pulling power should my windlass have?

Having selected a vertical or horizontal windlass and determined the size required using the chart here,you can cross- check by using the following formula:



Use x4 for all Horizontal windlass and Vertical windlass up to V5

Use x2 for V6 Vertical Windlass and above

Working Load, designed to allow prolonged anchor laying and retrieving

Please note this is an indication only. If in doubt please contact your Lewmar representative.

Windlass and anchor operation basic safety


  • Always tie off anchor rode to a strong point while at anchor
  • Always secure anchor rode/anchor when underway
  • Always look before deploying your anchor
  • Always motor up to anchor while retrieving
  • Always shut off circuit breaker when working on windlass
  • Always shut off circuit breaker when windlass is not in use
  • Always read the manual and follow safety instructions and warnings.


  • Never allow your windlass to hold the boat while at anchor
  • Never use your windlass to pull or tow boat
  • Never use your windlass to lift a person
  • Never stick fingers in or around gypsy while operating
  • Never allow loose clothing and hair to come close to windlass when operating

Horizontal Windlass

Horizontal Windlass Key Features:

  • Most of the windlass unit is on the deck
  • Easy installation
  • Good for boats with small anchor lockers
  • Anchor rode enters the gypsy, makes a 90° turn and feeds into the anchor locker
  • Minimum fall of 304mm (12")is recommended in order to have enough gravity to pull the rode down into the locker

Vertical Windlass

Vertical Windlass Key Features:

  • More of the unit is hidden below deck
  • Suitable for large anchor lockers
  • Anchor rode makes a 180° wrap around the gypsy providing more security
  • Minimum fall of 406mm (18") is recommended in order to have enough gravity to pull the rode down into the locker

Note: The windlasses do not stow the anchor rode in the anchor locker. Gravity stows the rode in the anchor locker. From time to time the pile of rode may have to be evacuated from under the windlasses hose pipe entrance to make room for the remaining rode.


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