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Boating Lifestyle

There is so much to love, and learn, about boating. That’s why we created this library of articles, videos and blog posts to help you throughout your adventures.

Windlasses

When it’s time to weigh anchor (retrieve the anchor), a windlass can make the job a whole lot easier.Windlass
 
A windlass is a mechanical device, usually located near the center of the foredeck (the deck, or flat part of the boat near the front) that grasps the anchor rode (rode: line or chain that attaches the anchor to the boat), pulls it out of the water, and deposits the line/chain either on the deck or below decks in a special compartment.
 
Think of a winch on the front of a boat trailer—crank the handle to pull the boat out of the water. The difference between a winch and a windlass is that the line wraps around and around the cylindrical portion of a winch; whereas the line goes into the forward end of the windlass, passes around the gypsy (cylinder/drum/pulley) and exits out the back (or bottom) of the windlass housing.
 
The shaft of a horizontal windlass is situated, as the name implies, horizontally, while the shaft of a vertical windlass is positioned vertically.
                          
 A manual windlass uses your muscle power to operate the mechanism—simple, and very traditional, but a lot of work, especially if the anchor is heavier than a couple cases of your favorite canned beverage.
 
On the other hand, a power windlass uses electricity (or hydraulics, on mega yachts and ships), rather than the sweat of your brow, to do the job. It’s easy—press a button and the anchor goes up, push a button and the anchor drops—very cool.