Anchor Windlass Maintenance (Lofrans Royal)

Ahora did not have a windlass when I bought her. This certainly was not a big problem in the Baltic sea, and the previous owner told me that he anchored maybe three times in the 28 years that he owned the boat. To me, it was clear from the beginning that I had to change this. It proofed already hard enough to pull up a 30-pound anchor plus chain in shallow water with no wind by hand.

So I started looking for a suitable windlass to bring in the 45-pound CQR-anchor in rough conditions. I chose to go for a manual windlass, as I do not like to be dependent on heavy battery equipment and also they are much cheaper and easier to install. I decided to go for the Lofrans Royal, which is pretty much the only manual model that is widely used and still in production.

It was quite easy to find a used one on eBay for 120€, which seemed to me like a fair price, considering they cost around 600€ new. The windlass was fully functional when I got it, although a bit harder to move than one would expect from a new product.

I decided to open the windlass before I install it for the following reasons:

  1. I am always curious how a machine works in the inside.
  2. I want to be able to fix it if it breaks.
  3. I want to make sure it is in good working condition so I can rely on it when needed.

This proved to be a good idea, as it turns out that the previous owner had completely filled the case of the windlass with oil. This is NOT how this model is supposed to be maintained. But let’s have a closer look on how to do it properly. Here is how to disassemble the windlass:

Tools needed were a 4-mm hex key, a 10- and an 18-mm wrench and circlip pliers, which I got at Amazon.

windlass_clean-5

After everything was disassembled, it was now time to clean the parts from old grease and oil. I first used kitchen towels to wipe off the main mess and then cleaned everything with a toothbrush and a rag soaked in kerosene. Then I used special winch grease for all moving parts.

And here is the end-result. The windlass now turns with very little effort and should be almost as good as new:

windlass_clean-6

2 Comment

  1. mel says: Reply

    Well done. I have the same windlass on my Island Packet 27 Auxiliary Cutter. When it worked, it was a back saver. However, over time, it has become more difficult to use. I think I will need to disassemble my windlass as you have done. I find it not very efficient that the windlass must be completely taken apart to facilitate greasing/lubrication.

    ALSO the mechanical advantage is quite low, 440lbs or so. This makes it not very efficient while retrieving a chain rode and anchor in strong winds for a solo sailor. Also chain retrieval speed is quite slow, making anchor retrieval in crowded anchorage a bit anxious.

    Still, it gets the job done.
    Thanks for this blog topic. Well done!
    Cheers Mel IP 27 80 currently in Mexico.

    1. jan says: Reply

      Thanks for the comment! I agree that there are probably better windlasses out there for larger boats. For my 45 pound CQR on my 32 foot boat, it works fine though. The only drawback is the slow speed.

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