The windlasses that survive the longest in the Caribbean are the horizontal models. They work well as long as the cabling to them remains able to carry the heavy loads over the distance from the often-remote batteries.
Why is it that the horizontals are so resilient is a much-asked question especially by persons who appreciate elegance on yachts and who therefore do not want the relative clutter of a horizontal winch which sticks out over the deck in a quite industrial manner?
The simple cause of the failure of vertical winches is a result of their motor being contained in a very humid and unventilated anchor locker where high speed corrosion is inevitable. If the motor part of the winch is located in a dry area with very little moisture, I would expect that the tables would be turned in respect of resiliency and ability to last long. Unfortunately, there is seldom an opportunity for such a dry cavity and so the goal is to get it through the warranty period of a new yacht and for the tropical water cruiser to get heavily disappointed at a crucial moment.
There are some really good windlasses on the market currently that do great work. Just don’t let them die that slow corrosion death that has been the downfall of so many.
Please send in Questions for the Experts to answer in a future issue to firstname.lastname@example.org