The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

eWincher as a Windlass

Our J/109 has a great anchor locker as well as a removable anchor roller, but no windlass, and there is no way in hell we are adding all that weight up forward on this boat.

No worries. Our eWincher, driving a two-speed primary cockpit winch, hauls the rode as fast, or maybe a bit faster, than the massive windlass on our last boat, and there is plenty of power, to the point that I would be confident of hauling the boat up to the anchor in say 25 knots of wind.

One small fly in the ointment: our anchor rode is 8-strand braid and catches on the stripper on the self-tailing winch, so someone must tail the line off the winch.

Read our three-part in-depth review of eWincher to see if it’s right for you, before you blow a bunch of money on electric winches.

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Huw Morgan

I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one who resorts to that! My Winner 9.5 has a small locker and no windlass. So my octoplait rode is nice to handle but if I’m having trouble with the spade in deep mud I resort to my main sheet winch. It aligns well if I use the forward jib sheet roller which fortunately is oversized. Given how many times I’m beating into a nasty Bristol Channel chop, it’s great to keep the bow light.

Greg Gibson

Hi John,
Would you describe how you use your primary cockpit winch instead of a windlass. What happens when you get to the chain? How do you get the rode into the locker? This seems like a good exercise if a windlass fails or, like you, don’t have one.

Robin Atkinson

Windlasses can stop working occasionally so I wondered how my eWincher would cope with lifting the chain and anchor by inserting it into said windlass. 
Before you try this, do check which way the eWincher is going to turn. It is powerful enough to release the firmly tightened windlass freewheel; you know the rest.