winch handle extension

i have a maxwell vertical windlass on my foredeck. in order to engage/disengage the clutch, i need to be able to swing a winch handle. the sampson posts prohibit the swing of a typical winch handle. i am thinking about the star fitting of a winch handle fitted to the end of a approx 12" t-handle. any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated.

Jo Anne: Hi!

What model Maxwell anchor windlass does Little Pearl have?

Zygote has a Maxwell VW1200. To engage/disengage the cone clutch (eg to switch from handling chain to warp), an aluminum bar (the same one that is used for manual operation of the windlass) is used.

The bar is inserted into a slot in the clutch collar (above the warping drum but below the decorative trim on top of the windlass) and the cone clutch either tightened or backed off. And insertion is done from the starboard side of the windlass, so the bitts do not foul the insertion.

Little Pearl may have a smaller windlass than the VW1200. And operation of its cone clutch may differ.



I’ve attached a graphic, VWclutchnut.jpg, to make my earlier post more sensible.

No. 5 is the clutch nut, the indentations in its side are the sockets into which the clutch lever (No. 46) can be inserted to tighten or ease the cone clutch.

Hope this helps Little Pearl.


hi bil,

little pearl has a rc8windlass w/capstan. the unit comes with a “handle” that i am unable to locate. the handle inserts into the top of the unit. that’s why i have a problem with clearance. so…i’m traveling to the distributor tomorrow to purchase a new handle.i’ll take it to a machinist and ask him to make a t-handle for me using the correct dimension of the star from the factory part.

thanks bil.

jo anne ross
s/v little pearl
falmouth cutter 26-7

A different animal, I see! Sorry I did not help.

The *.pdf on the Maxwell website shows the RC6 with a proprietary handle, the RC10 with what looks like a standard winch handle, but no graphic of the handle for the RC8.

The RC8 parts list specifies the handle as Part No. 131/AI, with no other information about it. The RC10 parts list specifies its handle also as a 131/AI. So does a standard winch handle fit and work in your RC8?

Hope your visit to a dealer bears fruit.



i tried one of my winch handles. frankly, i was surprised when it didn’t fit. close but just not quite. sure seems like it would be helpful to use an industry standard like a typical winch handle.

thanks for taking the time to reply bil.

The only excuse Maxwell might have is that the length of handle is limited to, according to the pdf on their website, 8 inches.

See the attached graphic

Ahoy Bil , I too have a Maxwell on Calliste , v similar to your’s.

IMO , that back-up handle, supplied with the windless , is v inefficent, to use during a power failure, or have you had better success, than I, during trials ?

My Maxwell has not let me down , yet , Phew ! , but should it do fail electrically , I would have little hope , to retreve my anchor and rode , by using the manual handle, especially if trying to get away from a lee shore, quickly .

What proceedure do you recommend in your praxis, in event of a power failure ?

i have a polyprop rope and float that is attached to my anchor. if conditions dictate, i can release my anchor completely and retrieve it a later time.-

Douglas: Hi!

Ya! The rectangular aluminum clutch lever cum manual windlass lever is a PoS.

I had a duplicate made, at a machine shop in Penang, out of fear of losing the original.

And I have hauled Zygote’s anchor chain in by hand just to see how viable doing it was, because I found that using that aluminum handle was a total joke.

I’ve thought about alternatives and found none. It’s easy enough to make a handle, with the same rectangular cross section and a protruding lump, but there’s no way to overcome the tiny arc of action.

If I was global dictator for a day, I’m make it mandatory that anchor windlass manufacturers install a manual back-up system that used (for example) a standard winch handle and could haul in a respectable length of rode without causing madness or the firm belief that Maxwell’s designers only have contempt for me.