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Using Maxwell VW800 Windlass

Jan 22, 2008
396
Catalina 380 16 Rochester NY
Hi

My 1997 has the VW800 windlass and I am in the process of getting the boat ready for launch.

I thought that it would be and easy process of charging the windlass and loading up the anchor with rope/chain rode and the anchor.
No such luck. The only way I could get the rope rode through the windlass and into the anchor locker was for my wife to create tension on the rode from the ground while I kneeled over the anchor locker with my knee on the button as I essentially created tension on the bitter end of the rode as it fed into the locker. Once I hit chain, I had to finagle it over to the chain wheel on the windlass to finish up. It never did pull the anchor up into the roller, I had to do that by hand.

For the life of me I cannot understand how the thing works. I've watched so many Youtube videos and it seems so effortless. Loosen up clutch and anchor falls, tighten up clutch, step on button and up she goes.

I could not find a specific video showing the use of the VW800 and the manual does not have any diagrams on how to actually run the rope or chain...or both.

I did notice on the bottom side of the windlass there is a 'guide' that is connected to the windlass with 2 screws, the rope will not run through this opening as it's too small and there is no way the chain would once I got close to the end. I have found that this is a 'stripper arm'?, we tried to thread the rope rode through the chain gypsy, but it is way too small for the rope and I don't see how the chain would go through it

The manual also mentions a chain stopper on more than a few occasions, but I do not know what that is either. I did look it up and I understand the mechanics of the device, but I don't see it in the anchor locker.

The only thing I noticed was that there is a cleat near the windlass and when I bought the boat, the chain rode was wrapped around this cleat. Nothing was wrapped around the windlass at all.
This seems like more work than is supposed to happen with an windlass?
Do I have to unwrap the chain rode from the windlass every time I bring the anchor up onto its roller?
Once the anchor is set in the seabed floor, do I have to unwrap the chain rode and then wrap it around the windlass? I would think this could be dangerous, especially in heavy seas?

Or I am just being too dim witted here?

I have also posted this on the Catalina380 Group forum, but it is early yet for a lot of responses.

Thanks
Chris
 

Attachments

Feb 21, 2013
3,638
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
I will take a stab at this.

The only thing I noticed was that there is a cleat near the windlass and when I bought the boat, the chain rode was wrapped around this cleat. Nothing was wrapped around the windlass at all. The cleat, located next to the windlass, is for tying off the rode and closing the locker hatch when at anchor. I also use it to attach a temporary line from the anchor to the cleat when it is secured on the anchor bow roller
This seems like more work than is supposed to happen with an windlass? See above.
Do I have to unwrap the chain rode from the windlass every time I bring the anchor up onto its roller? No
Once the anchor is set in the seabed floor, do I have to unwrap the chain rode and then wrap it around the windlass? No

Pull all the chain and anchor warp out of the anchor lock and flake it on the deck. Then feed the warp through the windlass gypsy, tie it off on a cleat inside the anchor locker, then operate the windlass in the UP position to begin stowing the warp and chain into the locker (it should neatly flake onto the base or shelf in the locker.

You might find this article helpful: The Anchor Windlass: An Introduction May 09 2021 (liveaboardhq.com)
 
Jan 22, 2008
396
Catalina 380 16 Rochester NY
So I will try your thoughts about re--flaking the line.
I would assume that if I wrap the rope around the windlass a few times and then keep tension on it, it will pull from my hands and flake into the locker.
What happens when the line goes from rope to chain? Do I slow down and get it to 'travel' up and over onto the chain gypsy?
Still confused.
 

Tsuru

.
Sep 4, 2019
4
Catalina Catalina 28 Hood River
Maxwell VW 800 windlass.

We have the same windlass in our 2002 Catalina 36. Ours is mounted vertically instead of horizontally but I suspect they operate the same. I don’t know why you're having a problem feeding the chain. Mine is bumpless when pulling the anchor tackle. If I was feeding the chain/rhode from the dock I may have to direct it slightly, making it a 2 person job.

It’s a little fiddly switching from the chain Gypsy to the Capstan but not that bad. To drop the anchor loosen the brake and lower the anchor at a controlled rate. When you get to the transition, stop the chain with the brake then support the chain with a chain hook secured in your anchor locker. With the chain supported you can easily do the switch.

Raising is more fussy, but you basically do the same thing.

In our case we have 150’ chain that handles 90% of our anchor needs. This minimizes fiddling with the transition. In calm weather I don’t use a chain lock, but generally muscle it around. It’s not that hard. The transition is mostly a timing thing, quickly changing over so you don’t have to support the weight. It’s probably more prudent to use the stopper to support the chain while you make the change.

You are correct to be concerned in bad conditions, but it’s similar to most windlasses.

Additionally Maxwell suggests that you grease the top end of the windlass 2 times per season. It’s about a 30 to 45 minute job that makes your windlass work much better. Also our windlass has a gizmo attached to the Gypsey that directs the chain into the locker. I don’t see it on your photos and think it’s important.

Good luck

Ray
 
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