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Windlasses

Windlasses are available with a variety of hole sizes and tapers to match the myriad of lock-gear spindles. The basic double-headed windlass used on most hire boats will get you almost everywhere. This type are heavy and generally short shafted – giving poor leverage!

As a boater becomes more experienced they find personal windlasses that suit themselves and the regular lock-gear spindles they use.

The length of the windlass shaft is critical to the health and wellbeing of your knuckles! The longer the handle the higher the mechanical advantage but the more likely your knuckles will get in the way.

Make sure the windlass you choose suits the job in hand. The size of the socket should correspond with the mechanism spindle size. If you put an oversize socket on a small spindle it may make winding possible but there is an increased likelihood of the windlass slipping. Likewise if you choose to place a small socket on the end of a long spindle unless you are very strong there is a risk of slipping off the end of the spindle. This may result in damage to the lock-gear or you!

Do not leave a windlass on the spindle without your hands on it – particularly in the paddle up position. A flailing windlass can cause severe damage to hands and if it flies off the spindle your face and body are vulnerable to injury. Don't be a hero and try to stop a spinning handle - I tried that once and, even though the handle had only just started moving, I ended up with a bruise like a small hen's egg!