Windlass Retrofit


Well-Known Member
I was just wondering if anyone has retrofitted a windlass anchoring system to their houseboat. We are up in Halls and I have two priorities for our houseboat if we do any modifications. First is a solar system and the second is windlass anchoring. There are lots of parties to do the first, but fewer for the second and I wanted to see what kind of experiences the folks on here have with that modification and if they were satisfied.



Well-Known Member
I have not had one but a good friend had a 75'x21' houseboat out of Antelope and had installed the windlass system. He had the windlass on the back of the top deck secured to a 4' aluminum pipe with a 3" steel sleeve pipe for added strength. I did not see how the pipes were anchored to the back but know they ran through the back deck flooring. It worked tremendously well. The lines were up high enough to park fishing and small boats along the sides by the back deck. He always put the nose on a small spit of sand and put web straps around large boulders high on the shore. He'd tightening the shore lines very tight and the boat never wiggled. I was very impressed.,,,thought it to be the cat's meow. Chuck

Dave I.

Escalante-Class Member
It's not quite a windlass system but it works great for our 28' pontoon and it's a 1 person job to anchor it for the night.
On the front of the boat (on both sides), we have an anchor holder and a large (home made) rope holder/cleat. On the back of the boat, there is a snatch block the rope run thru. So, at all times while motoring down the lake, there are ropes, doubled back, hanging off the side of the boat.
When I get to shore, I pull off enough rope to reach the anchor point on shore, go set the anchors and then pull the ropes tight and tie off on the huge home made cleat. It works really well for our 28'er and it was virtually free to set up.

Also not quite a windlass system, but I have a houseboat that does have some huge, hand crank spools mounted on the back roof for anchoring/tightening. They will be or sale soon if you might be interested


We added windlass anchors last year. They run through the top deck, through the main deck and are tied into the hull. Anchoring is much easier / faster and it opens the rear of the boat up tremendously. Wish we would have done it sooner. Heads up, twisted rope > Braided Rope. Our double braided anchor lines are getting chewed up a little bit as there isn't quite as much for the "teeth" to grip.


Well-Known Member
For those of you that have added these, can you post photos? Who did the work?

Our ownership group has talked about doing these but were lead to believe the older houseboats couldn’t do it. Ours is a 2003 Stardust.
Also, how much did it cost. I would love to have it done to our boat, a 2006 Sharpe.

Tim Fortier

Active Member
Has any one simple used a power winch you can buy at say tractor supply and used it instead of the windless ??


Active Member
Has any one simple used a power winch you can buy at say tractor supply and used it instead of the windless ??
Windless are great for managing the rope as a pass through, rather than coiling on a drum. A winch will absolutely work. Tie a rope to the winch end and adjust length at the shore end. Pull it snug. We use a 2000lb atv winch to cock a big catapult we built. Cheap, fairly low draw, and 2000lbs is actually a lot of line tension.