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A relatively specialized windlass, the VW Series of capstan windlasses is designed for traditional all-chain anchor rodes.
The warping drum is used for other functions - such as handling mooring lines or tow ropes, etc. The vertical capstan on VW windlass is ideal for this purpose as, unlike horizontal capstans, it can handle lines leading from any direction.
VW Capstan windlasses can be used with combination rope and chain rodes, but manual transfer of the rode from the rope warping drum to the chainwheel is required when the splice is reached.
A deck mounted chain stopper is required to hold the anchor chain while transferring the rode from capstan to chainwheel.
To be clear — this windlass does not have a chainwheel that will handle both rope and chain. On a VW windlass, the rope is handled on the capstan, and the chain is handled on the chainwheel.
Note that VW windlasses have no integral chainpipe.
Typically, VW windlasses are mounted on a shelf inside a chain locker, or on deck just aft of an opening chain locker, so the chain (and rope) spill into the locker.
Another option is to install an independent deck-mounted chainpipe forward of the windlass, over a below-deck chain locker.
With no integral chainpipe, VW windlasses are well suited to handling more than one anchor, as the rodes are not captive in a dedicated chainpipe.
One rode can be cleated off, or held in a chainstopper, while another rode is handled.
Note — Typical boat lengths listed include both light and heavy displacement vessels. If your vessel's length is toward the top end of the range given for a particular windlass, but has a relatively heavy displacement for its length, choose the next larger size windlass.
Use common sense and good judgment, as you never know when your windlass will be pressed to perform at the limits of its capabilities - such as raising the anchor in storm conditions.
• This VW 500 windlass is designed to handle 1/4" high test chain
• Cone-type brake/clutch mechanism permits controlled manual "free fall" anchoring
• Clutch disengagement of the chainwheel enables independent rope hauling on the capstan
• Chainwheel locking pawl
• Simple through deck installation by alignment of gearbox to the topworks utilizing marine-grade stainless steel bolts
• Anodized aluminum gearbox and spacer tube
• As with all windlasses, use in conjunction with a chain stopper, snubber or mooring cleat to take the load when lying at anchor
• CE marked
• 3-year limited warranty
What's in the box (U.S. models) — windlass and chainwheel, panel mounted on/off circuit breaker, single black covered high amperage footswitch (no solenoid required), and clutch release/emergency manual retrieval handle.
Recommended options include: chain stopper (or chain snubber); see Accessories, below.
Additional options include: dual direction solenoid and second deck mounted footswitch - if dual direction powered operation is desired, wired or wireless handheld remote control, rode counter; see Related Products.
Is one of these windlasses a good choice for your boat? You can use the recommended typical boat lengths provided or, for a more rigorous determination, take the total weight of your ground tackle (anchor + rode - presumably correctly sized for your particular vessel) and multiply by 3. The maximum pull capability of the windlass should be at least as large as the resulting number.
Click here to see the Installation and User Manual for the VW 500 windlass.