We stock the Viper Pro and S Series anchor winches from Bell Marine, as well as the Dave, Dylan, Hector, Genius (GP2), Prince, PTG, PTR and Totem Series’ anchor winches from Quick Nautical Equipment. Our range also includes replacement parts for anchor winches, as well as anchor winch fitment kits, chain counters, deck foot switches, remote controls, external antennas, radio receivers, switch controls and wiring looms.
An anchor winch will only be a valuable piece of equipment if you choose the right one. Consider how much space you have available on your boat, the weight of your anchor, length of your anchor rode and what capacity a winch will need to have to lift your anchor and rode.
The ability of an anchor to hold will depend upon the design & shape of the anchor, the composition of the seabed material and the weight of the chain on the anchor. Make sure you have the correct anchor & rode for these factors before selecting a winch.
A Windlass Anchor Winch has the rope and chain rotate vertically over a winch which is in a horizontal position. The horizontal windlass has a 90-degree wrap of the anchor rode around a chainwheel. This anchor winch pulls the anchor rode in and stores it in an anchor well/storage locker.
There are two other types of anchor winches:
The Capstan Anchor Winch rotates the anchor line horizontally around a winch which stands in an upright position. Also known as a vertical windlass, there is a 180-degree wrap of the anchor rode around the chainwheel. The hard work of a winch is completed by a gypsy that hauls the anchor’s rope and chain in and out of the water. The gypsy is designed to fit one or more diameter of the line (3-strand, 8-strand or 12-strand construction) and specific types of chain. This anchor winch also stores the anchor rode in an anchor well or storage locker.
A Drum Anchor Winch gathers all the rope and chain on a drum, which means it is ideal for vessels which have no anchor well/storage locker to gather the rope & chain in so it can be mounted anywhere where the winch has a direct line pull over the bow roller.
How to use a boat winch depends on a variety of factors, such as:
Because of this, it is always safest to carefully read the Instruction Manual that comes with your specific winch and winch control/s, because there may be differences between brands & sizes of winches. Once an anchor winch has been installed on your boat you can use it to both cast your anchor (lower into the water) and weigh it (retrieve it from the water). Your winch’s manual will contain instructions for how to do both.
Winches come with different types of controls such as:
Some anchor winches come with a Free-Fall system, which is either manual or automatic. This allows free running of chain through the gypsy when lowering the anchor. Your winch’s manual will contain instructions for using the free-fall system. Chain counters can also be used with your anchor winch to measure the amount of chain lowered or retrieved, and to display information like chain speed. Always read the Instruction Manual that comes with your chain counter before using it.
Because there are 3 different types of anchor winches, which are made by manufacturers all around the world, the wiring may differ between them. It is always safest to get a qualified professional to install or performance maintenance on a boat anchor winch, especially if there is electrical wiring involved.
Instruction Manuals for anchor winches usually contain a Wiring/Connection Diagram, showing how the wires connect between all elements of the system such as:
Always engage a qualified marine electrician to install or maintain electrical wiring in anchor winch systems.
When people talk about a ‘boat winch’ they are usually referring to either:
If the conversation is about a yacht, they could also be referring to smaller winches installed on the yacht which sailors use to manipulate ropes that control the sails.
A windlass anchor winch rotates the rope and chain vertically over a winch which is in a horizontal position. The horizontal windlass has a 90-degree wrap of the anchor rode around a chainwheel. Some windlasses have a safety mechanism/s which may need to be turned off for the windlass to operate.
When you hit the ‘Down’ switch, the windlass lets out the anchor rode to drop the anchor into the water. Be sure to check with the anchor manufacturer what length of rode (anchor chain + rope) you should let out. The classic rule is to use seven times the sum of:
When you hit the ‘Up’ switch the windlass pulls the anchor rode back up, retrieving the anchor from the water. You don’t want to over-tighten the anchor rode, so as the anchor gets closer to the top, you may want to pause & re-press the switch briefly, to slowly bump the anchor up into position.