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Lighthouse windlasses are built for the recreational boating market BUT their design is rugged like a commercial vessel windlass. Go2marine is a proud supplier of this industrial strength marine windlass. They are available in 12-32 volt electric power options as well as hydraulically powered. A windlass is not only necessary for lifting the heavy ground tackle during anchoring, it is useful in kedging your vessel. All windlasses should have a manual backup in case of a power supply failure.

Lighthouse Windlasses at Go2marine

Lighthouse Windlasses at Go2marine

Lighthouse Anchor Windlasses, made in the USA, feature stainless steel construction; won’t corrode away like aluminum winches or rust like steel units. No chrome plating to peel off like others made of brass. The only winch with 3 manual back-ups. Can be tailed just like any sheet winch. Has rapid manual rewind with use of a standard or ratcheting winch handle in capstan end.

A second winch handle socket on top of the winch is provided for kedging and allows a maximum pull manually through a 60:1 gear ratio. This means if only 35 lbs. of pressure is exerted on a standard 10″ winch handle in kedging socket, a potential of 10,500 lbs. Is available at the capstan. For example; 35 lbs. X 10″ = 350 lbs., 350 lbs. X 60 (gear ratio)= 21,000 lbs., divide 21,000 lbs. By the radius of the capstan (2″)=10,500 lbs. On most boats, this could be the most powerful device for winching available.

Lighthouse Windlass Cutaway

Lighthouse Windlass Cutaway

Lighthouse windlasses are are rated at continuous duty, not maximum pull as with most other winch manufacturers. Optional reversing is available without changing motors, and can be added at anytime. When powering out chain, it can not pull chain out of the locker, therefore cannot damage the deck, hawser pipes or winch. It only allows chain to fall at a controlled speed. The only winch to use urethane clutch materials. This will allow gradual take up of friction plates and can provide controlled slip rates, unlike others that are either on or off. Clutches should last indefinitely and are impervious to salt water and are protected from sunlight. Installation of the Lighthouse windlass is the simplest of any on the market, as told to us by riggers and owners alike.

Motor extension housings up to 48″ are available from the factory. No other winch fits the bill for sail vessels due to its low profile (4″ lower than comparable verticals). The lighthouse windlass fits a variety of sail and power vessels. The Lighthouse windlass does not require deck blocking like most vertical winches. Therefore the Lighthouse windlass is not subject to failure, due to overhung, unsupported loads associated with vertical winches.

The Lighthouse windlass can be mounted flat to the deck in most cases and does not require the spacers and pads usually required for aligning vertical winches to the bow rollers.

Lighthouse w/ twin wildcat's & capstan's

Lighthouse w/ twin wildcat's & capstan's

Go2marine supplies Lighthouse and other windlass manufactures windlasses to the recreational and commercial boating market. For our complete line of windlasses, windlass accessories and other marine boating parts, visit Go2marine.

Let’s talk about lines….or is it rope?

From Wikipedia…A piece of rope that has a specific purpose is called a line, especially in nautical usage. Rope, once removed from the spool becomes anchor line, stern line, fishing line etc.

So, for this entry, we’ll use lines, since we are here because of our boats right?

Since a life can literally “be on the line” it is essential to know the strengths and weaknesses of all the lines on our boat. There’s a huge difference in the risk between lines that are used for hauling recreational crab pots and lines that are used for towing.

Common Fiber Types:

Natural fibers:

Manila – The preferred choice before synthetic fibers were developed. Manila still maintains some advantages to synthetic fibers. It is not affected by heat, and has an excellent resistance to the suns UV rays.

Sisal – Fibers from the Agave and Sisalana plants grown in some tropical countries. Sisal has many of the characteristics of manila, but offers only 80% of its strength. It is more economical than manila, and makes a good choice as a general use. It is commonly used as a tying twine.

Jute – Mainly used as a tying twine, it knots very well. Due to its short fibers, it does not have much strength.

Cotton – Typically white in color, cotton is a soft fiber which makes it nice to handle. Also knots very well. If you use it for decorative knots/mats etc you need to be watchful of dirt, and if damp, mildew and mold can be a problem.

Synthetic Fibers:

Polypropylene & Polyethylene – Making flexible and lightweight lines, these fibers are rot proof, resist oil, water, gasoline, and most chemicals. Also are the only line fibers that float. Available twisted or braided a perfect economical choice as a general purpose lines since they are the cheapest synthetic lines. But, they are often difficult to coil and subject to UV damage

Nylon – Known for its elasticity and tremendous shock absorbing qualities. It has good abrasion resistance, is rot proof, resists oil, gasoline, and most chemicals. It has good resistance to UV rays. Nylon will last 4-5 times longer than natural fibers. Because of its ability to stretch and absorb shock loads, it is an excellent choice for tie-up lines and anchor lines. It is especially suited for the latter since it is heavier than water and will sink, thus keeping your anchor rode down near the bottom where it should be.

Polyester – A very strong fiber with excellent abrasion resistance. Stretches less than nylon, does not have the elasticity of shock absorbing qualities that nylon does. It has good resistance to UV rays, and resists rot, oil, gasoline, and most chemicals. It is very popular for marine or industrial lines where stretch is not desired.

Alright, now that we are familiar with common fiber types, let’s talk about some performance and safety considerations.

Choosing a Line – Be especially vigilant selecting lines in situations involving personal safety or potential property damage. Consult the manufacturer or local distributor if there is any question concerning application. Make sure the line is adequate for the job. For example: dock lines should be sized similar to your ground tackle rode. A 3/8” dock line might be adequate for the load, but it would do poorly in service because of chafing.

Specifications for recommended working loads, strength and performance are available from the dealer, distributor or manufacturer. Chapman’s Piloting and the USCG Auxiliary Power Squadron offer trusted information for line sizing recommendations.

Removing Line from Coils & Reels – Remove line properly from coils or reels to prevent kinking. Haven’t we all made this mistake, how long does it take to untangle 600’ of line once it looks like a pot of spaghetti?

If the line is in a coil, it should always be uncoiled from the inside. If on a reel, remove the line by pulling it off the top while the reel is free to rotate. This can be accomplished by passing a pipe through the center of the reel and jacking both ends up in a horizontal position until the reel is free from the surface

Handling Line – Never stand in row with a line under tension. If the line or attachment fails, it can recoil and snap back just like a broken rubber band. Even worse, if the broken attachment is still tied to the line, you can end up with a cleat flying through the air like a missile attached to a bungee cord.

Reverse ends regularly, particularly when used in tackle. This permits even wearing and assures longer, useful life. When using tackle or slings, apply a steady, even pull to get full strength from line and always use slings employing an angle of about 45 degrees.

Overloading – Do not overload lines, sudden strains of shock loading can cause failure. It’s easy to tie for the minimum load and then find that the line is holding a maximum load; this is an especially important warning. All it takes is a gust of wind or wake from a boat and the shock can make even a line normally suitable snap in two.

Working loads are not applicable when the line is subject to significant dynamic loading. Whenever a load is picked up, stopped, moved or swung, there is an increased force due to dynamic loading. In extreme cases, the force put on the line may be two, three, or even more times the normal load involved.

Winching Lines – Proper procedures will prevent kinks and hockles (knots in cordage caused by twisting against the lay) in three-strand twisted line.

Repeated hauling of a line over a winch in a counterclockwise direction will extend the lay of twisted line and simultaneously change the twist of each strand. As this action continues, strand hockles or back turning may develop. Once hockles appear they cannot be removed, and the line is permanently damaged at the point of hockling. If the line is continuously hauled over a winch in a clockwise direction, the lay is shortened, and the line becomes stiff and will kink readily.

Checking Line for Wear – Avoid using line that shows signs of aging and wear. If in doubt, destroy the line.

No type of visual inspection can be guaranteed to accurately and precisely determine actual residual strength. When the fibers show wear in any given area, the line should be respliced, downgraded or replaced.

Check all lines regularly for frayed strands and broken yarns. Pulled strands should be rethreaded into the rope if possible. A pulled strand can snag on a foreign object during use. Both outer and inner rope fibers contribute to the strength. When either is worn, the line is naturally weakened. Open the strands of line (either three-strands or braided) slightly and look for powdered fiber, which is one sign of internal wear. A heavily used line will often become compacted or hard which indicates reduced strength. The line should be discarded if this condition exists.

When disposing of line, don’t just throw it in the water. Floating lines disposed of this way will continue to float and foul boat props. The sinking lines can foul in other’s crab traps. Make sure that all line is properly disposed of.

Splicing – Join ends by splicing.

Use the manufacturer’s recommended splices for maximum efficiency. Other termination can be used, but their strength loss for a particular type of line construction should be determined and not assumed.

And be careful when choosing your knots. Knots can decrease line strength by as much as 60%. Even the most favored knot, the bowline, will greatly reduce line strength due to the bend it creates.

Chemicals – Avoid chemical exposure, lines are subject to damage by chemicals.

Consult the manufacturer for specific chemical exposure such as solvents, acids, and alkalis. This is particularly true for natural fiber lines.

Heat – Avoid overheating, heat can seriously affect the strength, especially with synthetic lines. Polypropylene loses 50% of its strength at 150 degrees, nylon at 350 degrees and polyester at 390 degrees. When using lines where temperatures exceed 140 degrees F (or if it is too hot to hold), consult the manufacturer for recommendations as to the size and type of lines for the proposed continuous heat exposure conditions.

Abrasion – Avoid all abrasive conditions, all lines will be severely damaged if subject to rough surfaces or sharp edges. Check the manufacturer’s specifications since some newer super strong lines do not hold up well to abrasion, extreme running over a sharp edge (kinking) or internal abrasion from salt and other contaminants. Kern-mantle (single braid) ropes are all susceptible to abrasion damage and specifically sheath damage. Line that is under tension is also more susceptible to damage. High tech line cores such as Spectra, Kevlar, Olefin, Vectran (Hoechst Celanese Vectran liquid crystal polymer) and Technora all need to be kept clean and maintain an intact sheath to insure abrasion resistance.

Chocks, bitts, winches, drums and other surfaces must be kept in good condition and free of burrs and rust. Pulleys must be free to rotate and should be of proper size to avoid excessive wear. Restraining clamps and similar devices will damage and weaken the lines and should be used with extreme caution.

Storage and Care – All lines should be stored clean, dry, out of direct sunlight, and away from extreme heat.

Cordage should be stored in a cool, dry and well ventilated warehouse, off the floor and hung on racks to allow ventilation underneath. Never store lines on a concrete or dirt floor, and under no circumstances should cordage and acid or alkalis be kept in the same building.

Do not store lines in direct sunlight; some synthetic lines may be severely weakened due to prolonged exposure to UV rays unless specifically stabilized to increase its UV resistance. UF degradation is indicated by discoloration and the presence of splinters and slivers on the surface.

So there you have it, some of the most pertinent care and usage reminders to stay safe on the water. Often we don’t even think about the condition of our lines, they’ve always been there and done the intended job. Now is the time to check all lines on board for fraying and hockles, reverse ends and assess storage methods to get the most out of this valuable tool. Go2marine’s extensive offering of lines and their staff of marine experts are available to help you slect the ideal line for your needs.