Done Deal is a 1998 Catalina 380 Sailed on SF Bay

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Maxwell  Freedom RC800 Anchor Windlass

  • Maxwell's revolutionary design automatically feeds anchor rode into and out of the anchor locker allowing effortless handling of rope, chain or rope/chain rodes.
  • Sleek, captive on deck design for smooth, snag free operation.
  • Trouble free transition from rope to chain by means of an innovative tension arm system within a safer enclosed design.
  • Maxwell recommends the use of 8 plait nylon rope in conjunction with Maxwell's unique performance plate (supplied with winch) to help ensure trouble free performance.
  • High speed, jam free retrieval of rope and chain from remote control stations.
  • Dual direction, power up and down operation.
  • Simplified two piece installation without disassembly of windlass.
  • Alternative gearbox/motor positions accommodate virtually all installation situations.
  • Manual override using the emergency crank handle provided.
  • Marine-grade, hard anodised alloy housing finished in metallic charcoal.
  • Full disassembly capability of top works utilising handle provided and a screwdriver - no special tools required.
  • Heavy duty, dual direction motor, designed for marine winches.
  • Isolated ground type, with durable class F insulation. Easily removed for servicing.
  • Cone type clutch/brake mechanism permits manual "free fall" anchoring. Cone clutches, unlike dog clutches, provide smooth disengagement, ensuring safe operator control.
  • Sealed oil bath and marine-grade anodised alloy gearbox provides high efficiency output drive via precision worm and wormwheel.


The following is a cut & paste from the Maxwell site, regarding the  Freedom anchor windlass on the early 380's.   It has some interesting discussion on performance and rode recommendations.


Maxwell's Freedom 500 speeds past all competitors in an under-$1,000 pull-off.

The following quote is from Powerboat Reports
Vol 17 Number 2 February 2004, pp 14 -19

Maxwell Freedom 500
A vertical design with an enclosed gypsy, the Freedom 500 comes disassembled in two pieces for a faster installation. Its 600-watt motor and gearcase assembly is below the deck. Maxwell ships the unit with a reversing solenoid, control switch, circuit breaker, and plastic clutch handle. The clutch handle doubles as a manual retrieve handle too; this is the only windlass we tested that could retrieve the rode manually.

Like the other units, installation went smoothly. We inserted the low profile head containing the gypsy from the top and the gearbox from the bottom. A plastic nut holds the two together. They're also clamped with three lugs.

The enclosed gypsy is an unusual design for a vertical windlass, as it tends to limit a user's ability to clear a jam. We asked Maxwell about this.

"The concept of this windlass grew out of an injury (albeit one we felt was mostly operator error), so we felt developing a fully enclosed, automatic rope/chain windlass design was important in the smaller vessel range where boaters are less knowledgeable about operation procedures," said Mike Dillon, president of North American operations. "The other obvious issue is we don't have to worry as much about boaters snagging clothing, hair or whatever in an enclosed windlass design."

Topping all others in speed performance, the Freedom 500 hit retrieve rates of 112 fpm with no-load and 105 fpm with working load. These are far above the speeds listed in Maxwell literature, which lists a working load of 62 fpm for chain and 45 fpm for rope.

Maxwell supplied 8-plait nylon line, but we also tested the Freedom 500 with the same line we used in all the other units, the New England Premium 3-strand. Speed testing was the same with either line. However, the the unit really liked the firm 3-strand line in the max pull test. Maxwell claims a maximum pull of 500 lbs. and we were able to attain a 700 lb. pull with the 3-strand but only a 550 lb. pull with the softer 8-plait line. Go figure - the 8-plait line is far more expensive. The Freedom 500 managed a 650 lb. pull with chain.

Mike Dillon still believes the 8-plait is better. "The importance of the eightplait rope is to ensure jam-free operation of this enclosed design and permit the high speeds. The loss of power you describe with eight-strand line is less important than the trouble-free operation."

Maxwell achieves its high retrieve rates by using a lot of electricity. Startup current draw in the working load test was 210 amps, with continuous working amperage of 75 amps. Both numbers are far higher than other units tested. Is that a problem? We don't think so. Any boat big enough to use a windlass should have adequate power to supply even this unit.

The real difference between this and some of the units with lower power consumption is the wiring needed.

The initial cost of installation will be somewhat higher because it needs larger wires.

Bottom Line: The Freedom 500 has by far the highest retrieve rates, maintains a strong maximum pull, and has a 3-year warranty. It is our top pick.