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Lighthouse Windlass DDW

I read on the web about how great this windlass was. I purchased one and have since installed and reinstalled it. With the bow of our boat we needed a horizontal windlass and I felt I needed a rope chain gypsy on both sides. So far I've not needed the rope on both sides would have been best served by having only one drum. We've been out cruising for 4 years now.

For the most part I've been satisfied with the windlass. The company however has at times been frustrating to work with and at other times quite good. Frustration is in dealing with them via email and good to great has been dealing with them over the phone.

However they did have one "gotcha". When I ordered the windlass we discussed how long the down tube would need to be for the motor. Talking to the representative he indicated if I needed to have the tube lengthened they would do it for me. There was never mention of any additional cost. After one year of cruising I knew we needed to raise the windlass farther off the deck so I contacted them via phone with the new height and thus the new length for the tube and shaft. They indicated I would have it in a week or so but ended up having to call them a month later and found out that it was sitting on the owners desk still. They indicated he had had a medical emergency and thus no one else knew about it but they did then get the parts made up and sent out. About a week later I received a bill! Surprise. I paid it but knew I would let others know.

A year later I asked Lighthouse about one side of the windlass and my chain skipping as I retrived it. We were anchored in Aruba of the ABC island group. I had called on the phone and the representative said they would need 6 links of my chain to get a correct match. I sent the six links to them with an email address to contact me. Cost $60 to send from Aruba. I never heard back from them. Around this time the Windlass wouldn't freely drop the chain.

I lived with using the down button on the windlass to slowly lower the chain into the water and pick it up. About a year later that too (I was in the San Blas now) stopped working and I wasn't in too good of a mood. I was able to call them and with the slow EDGE network actually received an email. I spoke with the representative there and mentioned my displeasure. He indicated that the clutch needed to be cleaned once per year. I told him that I didn't have anything in any literature about that so he emailed me a maintenance manual. I wish when I purchased the manual I would have received the maintenance manual! I bought the windlass and it did not go through a third party!

This was one of the rare times they used email for me. Luckily I was able to get the manual and complete the maintenance on one side of the windlass. The maintenance requires that an installation bolt be removed to remove the gypsy and clutch. :( That completed I was able to use the free wheel on the gypsy for lowering the chain on the starboard side now. What a relief and what a chore completed.

Maybe had I had the maintenance papers earlier I wouldn't have had such difficulty removing the clutch but if you purchase a Lighthouse Windlass see about getting a gear puller so you can easily remove the clutch for maintenance. The gear puller is now on my list.

I do wish I would have added the chain counter to the windlass and removed the extra drum on one of the sides for rope. Once you leave the states line for an anchor rode is really IMHO stupid because of all the coral hiding in the depths. If you need to use a line to kedge off you still have the drum on one side and I can't right now see a need for two.

All images and content copyright of David A. Kall