Your most frequently asked questions… answered.

Editor’s notes (2019)

The FAQ and discussion below has been mildly edited to eliminate typos, make it clearer who the authors are and which boats they themselves have (by hull number and boat name if known). Wherever possible alternative (i.e. current) references to products & suppliers are provided.

The bulk of this FAQ was originally generated as a Q&A in the period 2005 – 2015. In this period Lester Helmus acted as a clearing house for questions and responses, but some respondents would also write direct to each other, hence some of the overlapping answers you see in the FAQ. In places there are 2019 and subsequent comments, drawing either on my own experiences, or from other Corbin 39 owners and sources, including our Corbin 39 Group on Facebook. More comments are most welcome and this FAQ will inevitably grow.

We have attempted to contact all contributors to the 2015 version of the FAQ. All responses have been most supportive, thank you. If you are a contributor who has yet to respond please contact us.

As will be apparent there are multiple viewpoints on some topics. Sometimes, but not always, this can be traced to differences in arrangement between the boats of the various authors. Some of the topics raised are not so much a Q&A, as simply being a statement of why a particular owner thought something was a good idea, which of course it may not have been at all. Make your own mind up.

If you have further comments or suggestions on any of these questions, or wish to pose new questions, or describe various issues you have faced and/or overcome, then please contact us either via the Facebook Group or via the Website.

[Remark as of November 2019: Quite a lot of the links to drawings & photos are not yet reinstated due to workload. However I also know quite a few of the relevant images have gone astray. You may find the relevant photos in the individual boat’s entry. Please email us if you have any of the missing photos, drawings, etc.]


I am replacing a Lofrans Royal windlass and would like to size upwards. The Royal will pull 400 lbs- not enough in my opinion for a boat as heavy as a Corbin. I wish to keep to a manual windlass – any suggestions? Tom Amundsen (#089, Rio Nimpkish)

a. Tom, I don’t know what kind of sailing you do but if you cruise much of the year you definitely need more pull. I have 200′ of 3/8″ chain (1.5 lbs / ft) and a 45 # CQR as my normal anchor. When using plenty of scope in a deep anchorage recovering the anchor is a real chore. If I don’t motor the anchor out before retrieving it, I am in for, at best, an aerobic workout — puff, puff — and, at worst, I don’t get it up at all! My anchor winch is only a Simpson-Lawrence 510 manual with 550 # pull max. I consider this winch too small for my tackle. Its only grace is that it fits well on a Corbin in the small space between the anchor lockers at the bow. Last year I tried to fit a large electric winch but there wasn’t enough room for that model… Your tackle may be lighter (i.e., rope) so you could just squeeze by with a S-L 510. For my tackle the 510 is too small. Extra pull is good for the time the anchor is buried deeply in the bottom, say, by high winds. If you desire a manual windlass, then be sure to get a two-speed with double action like the Simpson Lawrence (Lewmar) Sea Tiger with over 1000# pull. If any of you have a good electric windlass, either vertical or horizontal axle, that you can recommend that also fits between the lockers (and still allows the hatches to be opened without hitting the winch) please let me know. I want to refit my manual winch. Fred Gerbstadt (s/v #095, Coochi).

b. Hi Fred & Hi Tom, this is an electric windlass that may be what you’re looking for. It has a small footprint and pulls over 750 lbs. Unfortunately I can’t measure the area needed between the lockers because Witch is in Annapolis and I’m in NJ. If you or someone can reply with that measurement, I’ll catalog all the windlasses that will fit. I’ll also get you a price on the S-L Tiger. Tom, check out the Muir Neptune manual windlass with a powerful 770 lbs. rating. I just need to check the dimensions for you. We have both of these products but they’re not featured on the website. Remember, your Corbin Owners discount – our advertised price or 10% over cost whichever is less. We can’t wait for spring! Fair Winds From Vince & Tricia Salese (s/v #005, Witch of the Wave).

c. Responding to the enquiry by Fred and Tom, I used to have a Simpson Lawrence 555 SeaTiger. It is a great 2 speed, manual windlass and worked well. However, after experiences having to try re-anchoring a couple of times with our all chain 3/8″ plus a 45 lb CQR my wife decided we should get an electric windlass. Last summer we bought a Lofrans Tigres after looking around at several boat shows. I knew it would be a challenge to fit it between the sail lockers and the strategy was to raise it on a pad above the deck, sufficiently high that the lockers could swing clear. One constraint was that I wanted to use the existing hawse pipe as this is integrated into our fwd cabin, using an angled hawse pipe to get the chain locker as far aft as possible and it also passes through my custom made holding tank. The windlass was installed on a 3/4″ thick pad of high density polyethylene, not as high as I had expected, but it did require me to trim a small part of the flange of the stbd sail locker lid. The windlass works very well and I bought the 1200 watt motor which I think is the standard now. It comes with the control relay which allows multiple control switches. We have a pair of foot switches near the windlass and a rocker switch in the cockpit. Heavy duty wires (1/0 gauge welding cable, with well sealed heavy duty lug terminals) lead from the house batteries via a Blue Seas T-1 combination cct bkr/switch rated at 120 Amp. The windlass is very nicely made but I have a couple of criticisms of the design. The rear motor cover is removed to install the 3 wires and it is such a tight fit that these can only be #2 gauge max. One of the 4 hold down bolts is very close to the hawse hole and it is very difficult to fit a backing plate. In my case the backing plate intrudes partly into the hawse pipe. I bought the windlass through North East Rigging Systems (previously Marine Exchange) kevinmontague . Kevin will take exchanges and gives a very good deal. I have bought quite a few pieces of equipment through him and I can recommend him. A photo during my installation is attachedtigreswindlass.jpg . Regards, David Salter, (s.v. #050, Opportunity).

d. As I seem to be getting a little older and much sorer, 2 years ago I bought a Lofrans Progress 2 windlass to replace my Manual windlass. I believe it has a 1200 watt motor. It takes 5/16 high-test chain and handles my 35 pound CQR anchor great. I’ve been anchored in mud in quite a few blows and where I used to have to really work to pull up the anchor I just push the button and it comes up. I actually bought the windlass on ebay off of Imtra (the American importer & distributor) who get some back for returns off of new boats where the buyer wants a different size or style. They sell them with the original warranty and say they may be cosmetically blemished. Mine was only installed and never used and was about 1/4 of the retail price. They sell the accessories at a very reasonable price and I installed mine with a hand-held remote with connections by the bow and in the cockpit. I didn’t get the capstan model, so it is very low profile. It mounts right in front of the hatches and the motor you can swing in any direction (mine points forward). I would definitely recommend it without hesitation. (PS I bought 250′ of 5/16″ high-test chain extra to get a great price on it. I don’t need the extra chain and want to sell it for $2.00 per foot if anyone is interested. The only drawback is that it weighs about 300 pounds and must be shipped by truck.) Bill Schwartz (s/v #090, Moonshadow).

e. If you desire an electric windlass, then be sure to get one with 1000 – 1200 watts, minimum. [Nick Nicholson of Practical Sailor went up one size, from a Lofrans Tigres to a Falkon, when outfitting his 40′ heavy displacement boat. Nick completed his circumnavigation and said the windlass performed well for him and that he had made a good decision in upsizing]. Also, take a good look at the windlass’s manual backup capabilities, keeping the position of the staysail stay and staysail boom in mind. Lester (s/v #010, Insouciance).

f. The Lofrans Tigress windlass also fit nicely, unfortunately they (Lofrans) do NOT leave any room for the 200 Amp. cable terminations under the cover. The cover is slanted towards the back believe it or not, thus restricting the clearance almost to nothing. I would love to meet the Genius that designed this cover / terminal scheme. Frank Bryant (s/v #186, Visitant).

g. The Data windlass is made in Turkey. Available in the EU. The company plans to import to the US in the near future. It mounts to the deck between my two bow storage lockers. The company made a gypsy to fit my 5/16 HT chain. It is a 1400 watt. unit . It served us well across the Med. The price was 1400 US. my old Simpson Laurence manual windlass was on its last legs. Richard Bacon (s/v #043, Balmacara).

a. Here is a photo of a project we just completed, an anchor chain washdown system, using a commercial chain scrubber (Davis Instruments “Gunk Buster”) and a hose jet system that I made up. anchorchainwashdown.jpg There is a lead weight holding the device down against the pull as the chain is hauled in and we have an electric washdown pump using lake water. It seems to work well in tests at our dock. Local anchorages usually result in lots of mud coming up with the chain as well as lots of weed if one is in shallower locations (where the sunlight can get to the bottom). We usually try and anchor in 20 ft or less and have up to 100 ft of 3/8″ BBB chain out. Up to now I have used a hand-held hose but this results in a slow process of alternating chain washing and chain recovery. A future addition is to have a dam across the forward area just aft of the stem fitting and a drain overboard. Regards, David Salter (s/v #050, Opportunity)

See : windlasswiringschematic.jpg below, submitted by David Salter (s/v #050, Opportunity)

I have a question for the group if possible. I am still in the tear out everything rotted phase on #032, Tusitala. I have been working in the v berth. I have installed drains for both of the anchor/ sail lockers. But as I peer into the darkness of the chain locker, which is under the front of the old berth, I am wondering where the water goes that comes on board with the chain. I now have a small hole at the bottom of the Forward Bulkhead, but that is going to send the extra water, sand, and debris to the bilge in the front head. The chain locker is slightly below the waterline so it can’t drain overboard… Looking for ideas, pictures, anything. Thanks in advance, Paul (#032, Tusitala).

a. From the photo it seems that you have certainly torn everything out! The attached photo may be of help, Keel Sump . My chain locker was a heavily constructed box under the V berth with a large drain opening aft. The bilge connected to the deepest part, at the foot of the mast compression post. As I melted my own lead in ingots I arranged it so that this was the deepest part. If you have factory ballast it may be level all the way, or with a slight slope. I think it is unavoidable that sand and water will come aboard with the chain so the best you can hope for is to have suitable bilge pumps for removing the liquid. In the photo you may be able to make out the strum box for a Whale Gusher 10 diaphragm pump, an electric pump set in the white plastic mount and the small hand pump for removing most of the last drops. If solids accumulate you will need to “dig” them out. I installed a deck wash pump with a discharge at the bow (and in the cockpit) to use as an anchor washdown. It should be able to minimize solids coming aboard. I had a switch for the pump near to the bow (as well as close to the pump) which was in the engine room with its own thru hull. Regards, David Salter (#050, Opportunity).

b. I think mine runs into the sump. While you’ve got it all torn out it’s a good chance to revisit the chain drop; mine drops all the way forward in the bow and runs down the bow and has a tendency to stack up .I’ve got over 300 feet of 3/8 chain and I sometimes have to go down and re-stack it. Bill Schmid (#174 s/v Anakena).

c. You will not collect too much water in the chain locker, that said …………… On our former #186, Visitant, I had a drain at the lowest part of the chain locker with a small hose (3/4″) piped into the Grey Water tank which is below the level of the chain locker. (Side note on chain locker (ours), I found that the 3/8″ chain tends to pile in one place at the foot of the hawse pipe. On occasion, when we had a lot of chain that had to be brought in, I needed to stop the retrieval and go below to move the pile to the side otherwise it would just back up, up to the windlass and jam. Hope that helps, my $0.02 CAD …… Frank B (#186, Visitant).

d. On #010, Insouciance the 300′ of HT chain was led from the windlass to a locker under the forward part of the berth, then via a pipe to an area in the bilge aft of the mast. About 120′ was kept forward with the remaining 180′ pulled aft. It took a crewman below to pull the chain and pile it neatly in the storage area. This method had the advantage of moving a large amount of weight aft which helps to reduce weather helm but requires the services of a crewman. Lester H (#010, Insouciance).

e. Your bulkhead is in better shape than I found mine (formerly Phoenix). Mine was completely rotted out. There was a limber hole, but it was not flush with the hull, so water had constantly pooled behind it and created a moist incubator. Over the years, the moisture got behind the fiberglass backing and everything just fell apart. I have not yet replaced this bulkhead but here is what will happen:
– replace with proper marine ply (the stuff that was used on my boat delaminates like cardboard!);
– make a generous limber hole, flush with the hull;
– place a sieve into the V of the hull to catch debris and keep the bilge sump reasonably clean. Make sure it is easily accessible for cleaning through a V-berth floor hatch;
– install a ventilation grille into the bulkhead;
– install an access hatch for cleaning and drying.
Reasoning: you can’t have standing water on the boat anywhere. It will ruin things in the long term. Thus water and dirt from the wet chain have to drain out of the chain locker. The locker needs to be ventilated, and like all compartments, easily accessible. Good luck, Boris S (#131, Two Crows, formerly “Phoenix”)
[Ed Note: Limber holes should be cut on BOTH sides of the bulkhead to allow for heeling of the boat.]

f. I know what you mean. When the chain piles up, if you don’t have a stainless chain, it can be hard to get at, particularly if you’re in a hurry. We subdivided the starboard forward sail locker, made a hole in the deck and now guide the chain into the forward part of that locker, while using the aft part for storage. Works much better, even if you have to have the locker open while raising the anchor to avoid piling up the chain. We have 100 meters (300 ft for you Yanks). Any water that comes in now drains from the locker as it is above the water line. Have fun. Gerry S (#087, Octopus I)
[ Ed Note: Is there that much space in one sail locker for 300′ of chain? Isn’t it difficult stowing that chain with such a short fall?]

g. Our chain locker drains into a stainless sump in the bilge. The sump is drained with a whale diaphragm pump. The same sump collects grey water from our two showers and head sinks. Endorphin is a centre cockpit with an aft cabin. Best, David H (#195, Endorphin).

h. I have the same configuration as what you describe with the chain locker under the forward bunk. I have a hand pump that pumps out the water that is connected to the bilge in a 3 way where I can specifically focus on the chain locker. As for debris, I just hand clean it out. I try to have a clean chain before it goes to the locker. I do have a problem with this in that as the chain is being fed into the locker, it collects against the hull, so it needs to be hand fed into the locker. The chain bunches up because the opening in the deck is too far ahead, but we knew this when the boat was being built as the windlass needs to be as forward as possible. We had an electric windlass installed last year which needed to be located back a bit and part of the sail lockers had to be permanently fastened because they were in the way. I can still get into the lockers and did not lose any space but lost some of the cover. It anyone out there has a suggestion as to stop the chain from bunching up so the chain falls freely directly into the chain locker, I would be interested in hearing it. I have talked with many people about this problem and no one has suggested anything better. Chris L (#105, Christar).

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