When we purchased our boat it was not equiped with a windlass. After weighing the pros and cons we decided on a manual windlass as it was less prone to failure than an electric windlass. As we age (it does happen) we may decide that we wonít be strong enough to bring in our chain and anchor by hand and may have to switch to an electric.
We decided on the ABI manual windlass because itís small footprint fit perfectly on our bowsprit and the bronze finish matched the rest of the bronz on the boat. It is constructed of a bronze housing, a stainless steel shaft and gears with brass bushings. It is a heavy windlass built to last. The stainless steel handle is easily removed for storing so itís not in the way. The windlass is dual action so it works on each stroke of the handle. The rope drum comes in one standard size and the wildcat can be ordered to fit what ever size chain you have.
Installation was very easy and consisted of mounting a teak block on the bowsprit with the windlass on top. After lining up the wildcat with the chain the windlass was through bolted and secured. All in all it took half a day to install. Unlike an electric windlass there were no wires to run and no battery, switches or circuit breakers to install.
We have used the windlass quite a bit since leaving Texas and have been very pleased with itís performance. Normall when we bring up the anchor David is at the bow pulling in the chain hand over hand as I motor forward to take out the tension in the chain. The windlass is used to break the anchor out of the ground or to revtrieve the last few feet of chain.
We did have one issue with the windlass in which the wildcat break siezed up. I emailed ABI Marine and was told to apply a penetrating oil on the brake pad and try to work the brake loose. After a few applications of oil and a huge pipe wrench I borrowed from Brian (neighbor on the dock) it came free. Keith at ABI had told me that the oil would ruin the brake pad and that he would send me one. After inspecting the windlass I emailed Keith and told him that aside from a new brake pad I would need a new handle as I bent the original during all this work. Within a few days I had a new brake pad and handle in my hands courtesy of ABI Marine. I cannot say enough good things about Keith, he was quick to reply to my emails and knowing that we were on a time schedule to get to Mexico he sent us the parts UPS 3 day and all at no charge. ABI knows how to treat their customers and itís greatly appreciated.
Overall Rating 9.5
Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006 S/V Bruadair. No reproduction without written consent.