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Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

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Old 12-15-2008, 07:33 AM
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Default Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

The other thread got me thinking. I'm facing the same dilemmaon the near future and was wondering what you guys think.

Boat is a Scarab 302, 2 group 34 Sears AGM batteries for starting and 1 group 31 Sears AGM for house. All batteriesare at the console, combined with Blue sea system 7610 Automatic Charging Relay.

Windlass: Lewmar V2.

Distance from the batteries to the Windlass: 25 ft

When I looked this before I believe I needed 25 feet of 1/0AWG black and 25 feet of 1/0AWG red for a totalof $200.

Would I be better buying another group 34 for $199, put it closer on the bow/bilge and only run a couple of smaller leads for charging the battery???

What are the pros and cons??? I really would hate to have to find space and a way to strap another battery but I would do it if the pros are overwhelming.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

For less than the money you will spend on cables heavy enough to carry the current for the winch, you can add a winch battery forward. Most boats can use a little extra weight forward to help trim anyhow. Don't get an expensive battery for winch loads. A WalMart automobile starting battery that was originally designed for intermittent heavy current loads is quite adequate.

For charging all you need is a 10 gauge hot and ground wire between the starting battery and the new one, putting them in parallel. The winch battery will supply the heavy load to the winch and give you better performance than you will get from an aft battery. The intentional built in Resistance of the 10 gauge charging line will limit the amount of current drawn from the starting battery to a safe level when using the winch but be more than adequate for sharing charge current to keep it charged. It will also cushion instruments from sudden drops in voltage when the winch is on, if you have instruments on the starting battery.

For safety a 1/0 winch supply line should have a large circuit breaker at the battery end and and breakers that carry winch currents are expensive.

The charging line between the batteries should have a breaker at BOTH ends since a short in the middle would be supplied with current from both ends. I have some surplus 70 amp automatic reset thermal breakers you can have for the cost of postage. Send me an email if you want some.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:02 AM
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Default Re: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

yandina, the Lewmar instructions specify gauge sizes for different distances from battery to windlass, but then there's another caveat that Total cable run is from battery to windlass, and back to battery. Does that mean (for a 25' distance) that we should get the cable suitable for a 50' run.....or does it mean that we'll need 50' of cable- 25' of Red and 25' of Black?
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

yandina - 12/15/2008 10:54 AM For less than the money you will spend on cables heavy enough to carry the current for the winch, you can add a winch battery forward. Most boats can use a little extra weight forward to help trim anyhow. Don't get an expensive battery for winch loads. A WalMart automobile starting battery that was originally designed for intermittent heavy current loads is quite adequate. For charging all you need is a 10 gauge hot and ground wire between the starting battery and the new one, putting them in parallel. The winch battery will supply the heavy load to the winch and give you better performance than you will get from an aft battery. The intentional built in Resistance of the 10 gauge charging line will limit the amount of current drawn from the starting battery to a safe level when using the winch but be more than adequate for sharing charge current to keep it charged. It will also cushion instruments from sudden drops in voltage when the winch is on, if you have instruments on the starting battery. For safety a 1/0 winch supply line should have a large circuit breaker at the battery end and and breakers that carry winch currents are expensive. The charging line between the batteries should have a breaker at BOTH ends since a short in the middle would be supplied with current from both ends. I have some surplus 70 amp automatic reset thermal breakers you can have for the cost of postage. Send me an email if you want some.
I was kind of wrong and bamaboy pointed me on the right direction (I think). After reading the Lewmar install manual for the V2 I think I could make it with wire size #4.

That's if you could confirm bamaboy question about how to compare "real-physical-distance" against "wire size cable length"

What I was told, when calculating wire size was to: double the physical distance, find the correct wire size for that distance and go one wire size up for safety.

Like I said before according to lewmar I coulddo it with #4,so #2 would be better...

I like the idea of running only #10 to a "windlass battery" but I hate the idea of having to locate a battery up front... I think thatit would be up to cost and space on the bow to place the windlassbattery....

By everybody's comments I understand that there's no realpractical difference, between running the big cables from the starting battery to the windlassor running small wires fromthe starting battery to a windlass battery....
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

Yes the cable run for calculating voltage drop is twice the distance between the battery and the load.

The fine print on the Lewmar specifications says "Cable Length" so I would assume you have to double the distance.

Cable size suggestions are based on acceptable voltage drop between battery and load so a battery at the load will give more "oomph". Finding space can be a problem .

The voltage drop under full load for 4 gauge cable will be 1.1 volts
The voltage drop under full load for 2 gauge cable will be 0.7 volts
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

yandina - 12/15/2008 12:37 PM

The voltage drop under full load for 4 gauge cable will be 1.1 volts
The voltage drop under full load for 2 gauge cable will be 0.7 volts
Are these voltage drops for any specific distance?

IF they're for the 25' specified, would it be logical to expect the drop to be half as much if half the distance?
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:17 PM
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Default RE: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

I don't know where on a Scarab 302 you would put another battery that could be vented properly...( I used to have a scarab sport...)

You already have a "decent" set up with two starting batteries and a house...If you have the battery system set up correctly ( with the ability to switch batteries to different loads...) why add another battery? Typically you only use the windlass with the motor running, so you could tie it to either starting battery...This way, you can still save the House battery for your electronics...

I think you are asking for trouble to mount another battery somewhere else in the boat. I am not aware of most boat manufacturers mounting a separate windlass battery in boats of this size...There is a good reason to keep all batteries together...for ease of maintenance, venting, redundancy, etc.

Just bite the bullet and get the appropriate sized cable...You may be able to find some welding cable that can be more flexible and cheaper than marine grade wire...Welding cable is generally just as OK as Marine cable so long as it doesnt lay in the water in the bilge. people have been using it for years...

I have a 28 Pursuit and have a 4 bank system...one for each motor, a house bank and one for electronics.

If you are having questions about wire length and such ( for instance, not knowing that the total length of the circuit is for both the positive and negative, I suggest you get a good book called the 12v bible for boats...It should answer most of your questions...
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:35 PM
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Default RE: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

cWICKBERG - 12/15/2008 3:17 PM

I don't know where on a Scarab 302 you would put another battery that could be vented properly...( I used to have a scarab sport...)

You already have a "decent" set up with two starting batteries and a house...If you have the battery system set up correctly ( with the ability to switch batteries to different loads...) why add another battery? Typically you only use the windlass with the motor running, so you could tie it to either starting battery...This way, you can still save the House battery for your electronics...

I think you are asking for trouble to mount another battery somewhere else in the boat. I am not aware of most boat manufacturers mounting a separate windlass battery in boats of this size...There is a good reason to keep all batteries together...for ease of maintenance, venting, redundancy, etc.

Just bite the bullet and get the appropriate sized cable...You may be able to find some welding cable that can be more flexible and cheaper than marine grade wire...Welding cable is generally just as OK as Marine cable so long as it doesn't lay in the water in the bilge. people have been using it for years...

I have a 28 Pursuit and have a 4 bank system...one for each motor, a house bank and one for electronics.

If you are having questions about wire length and such ( for instance, not knowing that the total length of the circuit is for both the positive and negative, I suggest you get a good book called the 12v bible for boats...It should answer most of your questions...
If I did my math right cost wise is a wash... so cost is not the big deal.. I was mistaken before because I thought that I the right cable was 1/0, but bamaboy directed me on the right direction and I realize that instead two hundred something bucks of 1/0 I can do it with one hundred and something of #2.

I was trying to do this once and never look back... you know.. looking for the best alternative...

BTW.. I do not remember what year was your scarab but my 1981 has tons of un-used/wasted space....
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:59 PM
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Default RE: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

emudryj - 12/15/2008 3:35 PM
cWICKBERG - 12/15/2008 3:17 PM

I don't know where on a Scarab 302 you would put another battery that could be vented properly...( I used to have a scarab sport...)

You already have a "decent" set up with two starting batteries and a house...If you have the battery system set up correctly ( with the ability to switch batteries to different loads...) why add another battery? Typically you only use the windlass with the motor running, so you could tie it to either starting battery...This way, you can still save the House battery for your electronics...

I think you are asking for trouble to mount another battery somewhere else in the boat. I am not aware of most boat manufacturers mounting a separate windlass battery in boats of this size...There is a good reason to keep all batteries together...for ease of maintenance, venting, redundancy, etc.

Just bite the bullet and get the appropriate sized cable...You may be able to find some welding cable that can be more flexible and cheaper than marine grade wire...Welding cable is generally just as OK as Marine cable so long as it doesn't lay in the water in the bilge. people have been using it for years...

I have a 28 Pursuit and have a 4 bank system...one for each motor, a house bank and one for electronics.

If you are having questions about wire length and such ( for instance, not knowing that the total length of the circuit is for both the positive and negative, I suggest you get a good book called the 12v bible for boats...It should answer most of your questions...
If I did my math right cost wise is a wash... so cost is not the big deal.. I was mistaken before because I thought that I the right cable was 1/0, but bamaboy directed me on the right direction and I realize that instead two hundred something bucks of 1/0 I can do it with one hundred and something of #2.

I was trying to do this once and never look back... you know.. looking for the best alternative...

BTW.. I do not remember what year was your scarab but my 1981 has tons of un-used/wasted space....


Mine was a 1991 hull...I guess you could put it in one of the forward seats in the cockpit...I meant not to install somewhere up inthe cuddy cabin...BTW, how are you mounting an anchor roller on your scarab...They are not very "anchor roller friendly" boats with a sharp bow and no pulpit...
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:00 PM
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Default RE: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

emudryj - 12/15/2008 2:35 PM

QUOTE], ...but bamaboy directed me on the right direction ......
lol, hold the phone! We're sending PMs back and forth about what and how....but ain't no way I'm trying to act like an expert on wiring! And, no, I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, either.

A public Thanks to yandina for their kind offer of circuit breakers, too. What a real nice gesture!
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:57 PM
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Default RE: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

cWICKBERG - 12/15/2008 3:59 PM
emudryj - 12/15/2008 3:35 PM
cWICKBERG - 12/15/2008 3:17 PM

I don't know where on a Scarab 302 you would put another battery that could be vented properly...( I used to have a scarab sport...)

You already have a "decent" set up with two starting batteries and a house...If you have the battery system set up correctly ( with the ability to switch batteries to different loads...) why add another battery? Typically you only use the windlass with the motor running, so you could tie it to either starting battery...This way, you can still save the House battery for your electronics...

I think you are asking for trouble to mount another battery somewhere else in the boat. I am not aware of most boat manufacturers mounting a separate windlass battery in boats of this size...There is a good reason to keep all batteries together...for ease of maintenance, venting, redundancy, etc.

Just bite the bullet and get the appropriate sized cable...You may be able to find some welding cable that can be more flexible and cheaper than marine grade wire...Welding cable is generally just as OK as Marine cable so long as it doesn't lay in the water in the bilge. people have been using it for years...

I have a 28 Pursuit and have a 4 bank system...one for each motor, a house bank and one for electronics.

If you are having questions about wire length and such ( for instance, not knowing that the total length of the circuit is for both the positive and negative, I suggest you get a good book called the 12v bible for boats...It should answer most of your questions...
If I did my math right cost wise is a wash... so cost is not the big deal.. I was mistaken before because I thought that I the right cable was 1/0, but bamaboy directed me on the right direction and I realize that instead two hundred something bucks of 1/0 I can do it with one hundred and something of #2.

I was trying to do this once and never look back... you know.. looking for the best alternative...

BTW.. I do not remember what year was your scarab but my 1981 has tons of un-used/wasted space....


Mine was a 1991 hull...I guess you could put it in one of the forward seats in the cockpit...I meant not to install somewhere up inthe cuddy cabin...BTW, how are you mounting an anchor roller on your scarab...They are not very "anchor roller friendly" boats with a sharp bow and no pulpit...
I was thinking to put it under the seat on the very very front. I will have to measure several times since I'm going to install a toilet tanks in there too...


That boat is definitely not Anchor roller friendly at all!!!! The picture above is not mine but is of one of the newer models with some kind of void on the very front of the bow to roll the anchor rode into a windlass hidden on the anchor roller. and that's were I took my Ideas from... to get it that void on the bow involved a lot of structural work so I desisted and come up with this.


I got me a triangular 1/4" stainless steel back plate that fits tightly covering the whole surface of the bow. I think that I went over board with the size and thickness of the back plate but I wanted to make sure that it could hold it.
The worst part was to get the back plate from the cabin to the bow since it would not fit thru that hole that I did on the anchor compartment. I used that hole to tighten the bolts. I think I used 1/2" machined SS bolts with locknuts.

For the windlass I worked this out


I fibered it to the box with 3 coats of structural glass mat all around the edge on the top and bottom. It also has a 1/4 SS plate in between.

The triangular shape of the storage made it structurally perfect to support the forward pulling force of the anchor. It's hard to see on this picture but the shelf has a little angle pointing up to prevent the rode from shafting against the edge of the compartment...
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

The voltage drops quoted are what will get to the winch. While only half the drop is on the hot lead, there will be just as much drop along the negative lead. Zero voltage is only zero at the battery terminal. All other negative voltages are above zero.

Having seen pictures of the boat I can understand why adding a battery would be a pain.
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

Are these voltage drops for any specific distance? My Lewmar install manual says to use 6AWG for cable distance up to 33'. That's about the maximum length I'll need, so I'm thinking that I'll go with 4AWG just to be on the strong side. Is this a waste of effort since the factory said different, or will I realize stronger volts by using heavier cable?
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

For 66 feet total length, I would use at least #4 and Personally would use #2. The reason is that you are going to have close to 10% voltage drop with the #4 wire at max load. The more voltage drop, the more current the windlass will pull. The higher the current draw, the more the windlass motor will heat up, and the more the wire will heat up--less pulling power. The motor will last longer if you run it cooler, and with adequate voltage.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:38 AM
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BTW, how are you mounting an anchor roller on your scarab...They are not very "anchor roller friendly" boats with a sharp bow and no pulpit...
My boat is a lot like the Scarab 302 at least on the front end. This one is a Chris Craft Stinger 311.



I reconfigured the hinges on the anchor box, and now it lifts from the front and a stainless piano hinge holds the back side. I cut a 4-inch hole on the floor of the anchor box and there's a segment of PVC pipe to keep rode from running in sideways. The rode drops into the triangle at the forward end on the V-berth where I have a circular bucket to hold wet rode. The bow roller is backed up by a triangular aluminum plate, and I cut a 4-inch hole on the forward face of the anchor box, just like you did. This allowed me to put my arm and a wrench through the hole and reach the inside of the nose. Nylocks and lots of 5200 has proven to be a good installation after two years.

Two pairs of group 27 batteries are inside the console, and I used two lengths of welders cable to power the contactor (relay) which is mounted to the side of the anchor box. Controls for the windlass are the two "foot switches" seen here, or the rocker switch on the helm.

Only regret was my choice of 5/8" nylon rode. The 300 feet I have (plus 70 feet of 1/4" chain) takes up a lot of real estate inside the V. Probably should have gone with 7/16" rode.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:58 AM
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thataway - 12/15/2008 5:17 PM

For 66 feet total length, I would use at least #4 and Personally would use #2. The reason is that you are going to have close to 10% voltage drop with the #4 wire at max load. The more voltage drop, the more current the windlass will pull. The higher the current draw, the more the windlass motor will heat up, and the more the wire will heat up--less pulling power. The motor will last longer if you run it cooler, and with adequate voltage.
Sorry to confuse the issue, Bob. Let me try it again. the Lewmar instructions specify 4AWG up to 33' while my application will be using a Distance from winch to battery of 16'. Doubling 16' brings me to 32', so in theory I could use 4AWG.
Given that spec, can we assume that Lewmar has already established a safety factor, or would you still suggest that the cable be greater than 4AWG for that 16' run?
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:58 AM
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Default RE: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

emudryj - 12/15/2008 4:57 PM
cWICKBERG - 12/15/2008 3:59 PM
emudryj - 12/15/2008 3:35 PM
cWICKBERG - 12/15/2008 3:17 PM

I don't know where on a Scarab 302 you would put another battery that could be vented properly...( I used to have a scarab sport...)

You already have a "decent" set up with two starting batteries and a house...If you have the battery system set up correctly ( with the ability to switch batteries to different loads...) why add another battery? Typically you only use the windlass with the motor running, so you could tie it to either starting battery...This way, you can still save the House battery for your electronics...

I think you are asking for trouble to mount another battery somewhere else in the boat. I am not aware of most boat manufacturers mounting a separate windlass battery in boats of this size...There is a good reason to keep all batteries together...for ease of maintenance, venting, redundancy, etc.

Just bite the bullet and get the appropriate sized cable...You may be able to find some welding cable that can be more flexible and cheaper than marine grade wire...Welding cable is generally just as OK as Marine cable so long as it doesn't lay in the water in the bilge. people have been using it for years...

I have a 28 Pursuit and have a 4 bank system...one for each motor, a house bank and one for electronics.

If you are having questions about wire length and such ( for instance, not knowing that the total length of the circuit is for both the positive and negative, I suggest you get a good book called the 12v bible for boats...It should answer most of your questions...
If I did my math right cost wise is a wash... so cost is not the big deal.. I was mistaken before because I thought that I the right cable was 1/0, but bamaboy directed me on the right direction and I realize that instead two hundred something bucks of 1/0 I can do it with one hundred and something of #2.

I was trying to do this once and never look back... you know.. looking for the best alternative...

BTW.. I do not remember what year was your scarab but my 1981 has tons of un-used/wasted space....


Mine was a 1991 hull...I guess you could put it in one of the forward seats in the cockpit...I meant not to install somewhere up inthe cuddy cabin...BTW, how are you mounting an anchor roller on your scarab...They are not very "anchor roller friendly" boats with a sharp bow and no pulpit...
I was thinking to put it under the seat on the very very front. I will have to measure several times since I'm going to install a toilet tanks in there too... That boat is definitely not Anchor roller friendly at all!!!! The picture above is not mine but is of one of the newer models with some kind of void on the very front of the bow to roll the anchor rode into a windlass hidden on the anchor roller. and that's were I took my Ideas from... to get it that void on the bow involved a lot of structural work so I desisted and come up with this. I got me a triangular 1/4" stainless steel back plate that fits tightly covering the whole surface of the bow. I think that I went over board with the size and thickness of the back plate but I wanted to make sure that it could hold it. The worst part was to get the back plate from the cabin to the bow since it would not fit thru that hole that I did on the anchor compartment. I used that hole to tighten the bolts. I think I used 1/2" machined SS bolts with locknuts. For the windlass I worked this out I fibered it to the box with 3 coats of structural glass mat all around the edge on the top and bottom. It also has a 1/4 SS plate in between. The triangular shape of the storage made it structurally perfect to support the forward pulling force of the anchor. It's hard to see on this picture but the shelf has a little angle pointing up to prevent the rode from shafting against the edge of the compartment...
I like that set up...it looks great with it all hidden below deck... Show us some more pictures when you are all done!
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:21 AM
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Default RE: Another ? about Installing a third battery for the windlass

savage - 12/16/2008 8:38 AM

BTW, how are you mounting an anchor roller on your scarab...They are not very "anchor roller friendly" boats with a sharp bow and no pulpit...
My boat is a lot like the Scarab 302 at least on the front end. This one is a Chris Craft Stinger 311. I reconfigured the hinges on the anchor box, and now it lifts from the front and a stainless piano hinge holds the back side. I cut a 4-inch hole on the floor of the anchor box and there's a segment of PVC pipe to keep rode from running in sideways. The rode drops into the triangle at the forward end on the V-berth where I have a circular bucket to hold wet rode. The bow roller is backed up by a triangular aluminum plate, and I cut a 4-inch hole on the forward face of the anchor box, just like you did. This allowed me to put my arm and a wrench through the hole and reach the inside of the nose. Nylocks and lots of 5200 has proven to be a good installation after two years. Two pairs of group 27 batteries are inside the console, and I used two lengths of welders cable to power the contactor (relay) which is mounted to the side of the anchor box. Controls for the windlass are the two "foot switches" seen here, or the rocker switch on the helm. Only regret was my choice of 5/8" nylon rode. The 300 feet I have (plus 70 feet of 1/4" chain) takes up a lot of real estate inside the V. Probably should have gone with 7/16" rode.
I like your set up!!! the way you mounted the windlass was my first option, ( I even started a thread about this many months ago), but since I had to completelyRE-DO the boat, the windlass shelfbecome a small project compared to the other modifications, so since I was already covered on fiberglass dustand resin,I went ahead and did it the other way...

Definitely looks like a scarab 302... "Great minds think alike" LOL.... I did the same thing on the floor of the anchor locker with the 4 inches hole but I used a 4 inch pipe flange.



I'm planing to put it from the bottom-up, thru the locker floor and add a piece of 4" pipe all the way up to ensure a continuous pathway for the rod to fall down.

I'm also letting the rode to coil itself on the forward V section but didn't think about the bucket idea!!! now I will.

What is welders cable????I will also place the contactor somewhere along the anchor locker, but I was thinking to mount it on the wall of the locker but indoors, to avoid moisture and corrosion.

After reading other's opinions about the foot switch, I will go with it... I just saw a Lewmar pair of up and down switches for 60 bucks on ebay.

My gypsy is the 000, so I have to use 1/2 inches rope and 1/4 chain....I think that will be enough to hold my boat...
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:32 PM
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IMO you should not use non tinned wire like welding cable in that application. Too much chance of getting wet with saltwater. Not worth the chance of the cable corroding.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:12 PM
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What is welders cable???? I will also place the contactor somewhere along the anchor locker, but I was thinking to mount it on the wall of the locker but indoors, to avoid moisture and corrosion.

After reading other's opinions about the foot switch, I will go with it... I just saw a Lewmar pair of up and down switches for 60 bucks on ebay.

My gypsy is the 000, so I have to use 1/2 inches rope and 1/4 chain....I think that will be enough to hold my boat...
Welders cable is a grade 0 many-many-stranded electrical wire with thick rubber insulation. It is not tin-coated, just pure copper wire intended to carry about a 200 amp load. Welders use it to extend their GTAW Arc welding gear. I bought two 50-foot segments of it at Lowe's for about $45 each two years ago. It's in the Tools section, next to the arc welding machines.
If you go that route, be very meticulous about soldering the ends to the crimp connector, and covering the connections with waterproofing materials (liquid tape, parafin, etc.) Wetness could soak into the cable and shorten it's life substantially, and fate would make that failure occur when you are about 40 miles offshore and in a big hurry to pick up and go.

My contactor is inside the V-berth, mounted to a block stuck to the side of the anchor box. It will stay dry, as it's about three inches below the top. Drilled holes in the anchor box allow passage of the wires and I can still lift the anchor box cap, but I had to replace one foot switch wire this last summer due to a busted wire that got trapped in the pinch point.


This is my Bad Example. Looks a lot like a Scarab. This one is a 1988 hull.

Forward controls are the way to go, and I use those more than the helm rocker switch. Sixty bucks is an excellent price for a pair of those switches, I think mine were $42 each at West Marine.

You might want to go with an even lighter rode, unless you're using it for a storm anchor in THT 5-footers. I used to use a 1/4 inch 3-stand nylon on my 19'er and never had a failure. Go to the rope store and evaluate the shear volume of the 5/8", the 1/2" and the 7/16". The thinner stuff will allow you to hold a lot more rode length in the hold, and cost less. It's more flexible too.
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