Vertical VS Horizontal Windlasses: Which Windlass is Best for You?

Vertical VS Horizontal Windlasses: Which Windlass is Best for You?

Windlasses come in two basic configurations: horizontal, in which the motor and gypsy are configured horizontally, and vertical, in which, you guessed it, the motor and gypsy are configured vertically. There are pros and cons to each setup, and choosing what is best for you depends on your priorities and your boat’s particulars. We’ll look at the key factors in determining what windless is best for your situation.

Anchor Locker Size

A horizontal windlass requires less anchor locker space than a vertical one. With a horizontal configuration, a minimum fall of 12 inches above the rode pile is enough room for gravity to pull the rode into the locker, whereas a vertical configuration requires 18 inches. If you have a small anchor locker, this may be the deciding factor for you.

Installation and Maintenance

Horizontal windlasses are installed completely above the deck; therefore, installation is straight-forward and access for maintenance is easy. On the other hand, this means that the motor is more exposed to the elements. With vertical windlasses, the motor is below deck, so you don’t have to worry about the weather, but you may have to worry about corrosion in the damp conditions of your anchor locker. Also, since the vertical windlass is partly below the deck, installation and access for service is more difficult.

Location and Ground Tackle Arrangement

Other important considerations when choosing your windlass configuration are mounting location and anchor setup. A horizontal windlass needs to be mounted very precisely with respect to the bow roller since the rode must be directly in line with the gypsy, which may necessitate mounting the windlass off-center. By contrast, a vertical windlass has a much wider range of feed. This is especially important if you have two bow rollers, and want to use your windlass with both (i.e. one at a time), since it will accept both rode angles.

Additionally, deck space and arrangement should be a consideration. Horizontal windlasses require more deck space that vertical ones, possibly leading to clutter, even injury. Some boaters have claimed that banging their knee once on a horizontal windlass was enough to make their decision for them. If you have a lot of deck space, or an out-of-the-way location available, this may not be a concern for you.

Appearance

Quite simply, horizontal windlasses are not as good-looking as vertical windlasses, since much of a vertical windlass is below the deck. If looks are a priority, you may want to consider the vertical configuration.

Winding Up

The decision to go with a horizontal or a vertical windlass depends on several factors. Which one you choose depends on your anchor locker size, installation and maintenance priorities, placement and ground tackle requirements, and appearance concerns.

Anchors Away!

Published

Recent Posts

How to Launch a Boat by Yourself
How to Launch a Boat by Yourself
The 5 Best Tips for Preventing Mold and Mildew on Your Boat
The 5 Best Tips for Preventing Mold and Mildew on Your Boat
Once mold and mildew get established, they are difficult to get rid of, and most boat insurance does not cover related damage. The key to dealing with mold and mildew is to prevent them by creating conditions adverse to their development. We've collected the five best tips to prevent mold and mildew on your boat.
Boat Cover Types and Materials
Boat Cover Types and Materials
Choosing a cover can be confusing given the number of different materials and the different variations of covers. We’ll cover some of the basics that you’re going to see out there.
Retrieve a Fouled Anchor and Tips to Prevent Snags in the First Place
Retrieve a Fouled Anchor and Tips to Prevent Snags in the First Place
First, position the bow of the boat directly above the anchor by pulling on the anchor line. Tail off the anchor line by wrapping the line once around a bow cleat and holding taut. Don't completely cleat it off in case you need to release the line quickly as the boat changes position. As the boat dips into the trough of a wave, cinch the line down tight. As the boat begins to rise in the next wave, the upward force might be enough to free your anchor.
How to Deploy and Use a Sea Anchor or Drogue
How to Deploy and Use a Sea Anchor or Drogue
Sea Anchor, Storm Drogue, Sea Brake, Parachute Anchor, Drift Sock: these are several names used to describe devices deployed to create drag on a vessel in open water. No matter how many different monikers you find out there, they are referring to one of two types, 1) a parachute or cone shaped piece of fabric dragged from the bow (most accurately called a Sea Anchor), or 2) a fabric cone or series of cones dragged from the stern (most accurately called a Drogue). In this article we’ll look at the differences between the two, their uses, and how to deploy and retrieve them.
Boat Cleaning Guide: Work Smarter, Not Harder
Boat Cleaning Guide: Work Smarter, Not Harder
Some boaters consider cleaning and detailing to be a daunting and back-breaking task. Fortunately for them, it doesn't have to be! While keeping a clean craft is definitely an important aspect of basic boat maintenance, it's not necessary to spend hours on end to accomplish this goal. Sufficient cleaning supplies and regular upkeep go a long way to keep your boat looking and performing great without costing you a fortune.
How to Install a Windlass
How to Install a Windlass
Hand hauling your anchor is fine if you have a small boat with a small anchor for fishing or lunch stops, but once your anchor and tackle starts getting up in weight, hand hauling is a real pain – literally – you can hurt your back! If your boat did not come with a windlass installed, you can install one yourself if you are comfortable making modifications to your boat such as drilling holes and doing some basic wiring.
Choosing The Right Recreational Boat Type
Choosing The Right Recreational Boat Type
Choosing the right boat can a daunting task. With so many options it can be difficult to find the exact boat type that meets your individual needs. Whether you are a first-time boat buyer or an experienced seafarer, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of various boat types will help narrow your search next time you're in the market for a new boat.
Shore Anchoring or Beaching Your Boat
Shore Anchoring or Beaching Your Boat
Part of the fun of boating is spotting a beautiful beach, or interesting little cove, and pulling in to enjoy lunch or a swim in idyllic surroundings. If you’re lucky, there will be a dock to tie to, but most often it’ll just be the bare shore. In this article we’ll discuss proper techniques for anchoring your boat at the shore.
Holiday Boating Gift Guide For 2019
Holiday Boating Gift Guide For 2019
It's that time of the year again! The time of the year when instead of bundling up for a holiday lighted boat parade or curling up by the fire, you're stuck fretting over what to buy that special someone. We have assembled a holiday gift guide to find the perfect gift idea for your boating enthusiast!