Maxwell Winches
Winches, Capstans and Windlasses for
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Glossary of Terms

Anchor winch
A windlass driven by a hand or power-operated crank or gearbox. Often implies to pull or lift a weight by using a winch.

Often referred to as a drum, rope drum, or warping drum. The capstan is primarily used for hauling rope.

Chain Stopper
Similarly, chain compressor. Located between the winch and bow roller. Secures chain and anchor and takes the load off the winch/windlass. Highly recommended for systems utilising all chain and for semi-automatic rope and chain systems.

Free Fall
Release of the winch clutch mechanism allowing the anchor and rode (chain or rope and chain) to run out freely with no engagement of winch gearbox or motor.

Often referred to as chainwheel or wildcat. A special wheel with pockets, to accommodate a specified chain size, for hauling up the chain and anchor. With automatic rope/chain systems the gypsy is designed to haul both rope and chain.

Often referred to as weighing or lifting. The operation of lifting the anchor and rode.

Pertaining to the winch or windlass. Drive shaft, capstan and gypsy are positioned horizontally to the deck.

Manual Override System
Often referred to as emergency crank system. A means of manually cranking the winch to haul in the rode and anchor should a failure occur in the motor, gearbox or power supply.

Maximum Pull
Sometimes referred to as rated lift, stall load, or simply lift/pull. The maximum pull or lift load of the winch.

The line that secures the boat to the anchor. This may consist of all chain, all rope, or a combination of rope and chain.

Static Hold
The maximum load that the windlass can hold. It is not recommended that the windlass be used in this manner.

Pertaining to the winch or windlass. The drive shaft, capstan and gypsy are positioned vertically to the deck.

A machine for raising a weight by winding a rope and/or chain around a drum or chainwheel, driven by a crank, motor, etc.

Working load
Often referred to as the normal working load or the typical lift of the winch. This is usually somewhere between 25% to 35% of the maximum pull or rated lift. This workload should approximately correspond to the total weight of the anchor and rode aboard the boat.

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