Maxwell Windlass Removal and Rebuild

Our CSS Techs removed two Maxwell VWC 1100 Windlasses from the bow of  M/Y De De for a full rebuild.  Back at our shop we will disassemble, inspect, and clean all internal parts. All O’rings, bearings, seals will be replaced and lubricated. Old oil will be drained and replaced. The motor will be sent for testing.  Parts will be reassembled and painted.



Marine hydraulics: The hidden heroes of a superyacht

Marine hydraulics: The hidden heroes of a superyacht

Written by Sophie Allen | With thanks to HydromarC-Systems and Services and Phoenix Marine Solutions

Last updated: 11/05/2017

With superyachts getting bigger and design features and systems becoming bolder, the role of hydraulics is incredibly vital in getting them off the ground and keeping them running.

Yachting Pages spoke to marine hydraulics experts Hydromar Marine Equipment, C-Systems and Services and Phoenix Marine Solutions about the importance of keeping on-board hydraulic systems consistent, as well as new trends and developments in the industry.

Hydraulics engineer at work

Who needs hydraulics on a superyacht?

The moment a guest steps on board a superyacht, hydraulics are enabling them to walk on to the passerelle, store their Jet ski, and keep the vessel moving as they cruise from one destination to the next.

As Elizabeth Noles from Phoenix Marine Solution states, “Hydraulics are absolutely crucial in the day-to-day running of any superyacht, and everything that moves.” So much of a superyacht relies on hydraulic systems to run safely and efficiently, from steering systems and stabilisers, to bathing platforms, balconies and other boarding equipment.

Running hydraulic systems on board a superyacht

As marine hydraulic systems control so much of a superyacht’s function, it’s important to keep them consistent in terms of the supplier, and the number of systems on board. Elizabeth says, “Hydraulics are the only reliable way to move heavy items on board. Therefore it is important to have one hydraulic supplier for the entire yacht to ensure the system is centralised and that one hydraulic power unit is operating everything on board.”

Steven Hartgers from Hydromar also explains the importance of combining systems for a streamlined operation, i.e. trying to combine as much hydraulic equipment on a single power pack as possible. An example of this is the aft ship power pack, which includes the passerelle and hatch, bathing platform, transom door and overhead garage crane.

“Having two or three main hydraulic systems in aft, mid and fore ship on board a superyacht benefits the yard during installation, as well as the crew who are using and maintaining the systems. We divide the yacht into sections, and each has its own hydraulic power pack system.”

Heesen Galactica Star tender being lowered Heesen Galactica star gull wing doors open

The power pack is the drive unit to operate all hydraulic equipment on board. Generally it contains a hydraulic oil tank, pump, electric motor and valve set, which ensures the correct oil flow to separate equipment. Pressure is then created by the oil flow which travels to hydraulic cylinders built in to the equipment, enabling it to move. This movement is operated by a PLC programmed e-control, such as a push button or remote.

Steven continues, “These units can control all the hydraulics on board, except for some equipment such as steering gear, rescue cranes and stabiliser systems, which would have their own dedicated power pack for class approval reasons. Otherwise all other systems can be combined.”

Carlos Castillo from C-Systems and Services also stresses an important point, “It’s important to routinely maintain all hydraulic equipment to ensure the safety of the crew and prevent costly and potentially dangerous situations.”

There’s more to superyacht hydraulics than some might think…

While it might be often assumed that hydraulics are confined to just running a superyacht, hydraulics actually have some rather cool credentials, and are responsible for some of the most impressive features seen on superyachts. One incredible example of superyacht hydraulics at its most extravagant, is the folding hydraulic helipad of Oceanco’s Alfa Nero, which simply folds away into a swimming pool when not in use.

However, hydraulic systems for tenders and toys are, “The most prolifically used systems on board”, according to Elizabeth. Tenders and toys are usually kept in a garage, with hydraulic systems used to open the door smoothly. There are also a number of other features, which require hydraulic systems such as the tender winch and bathing platform, in order to launch the vessel as quickly and safely as possible.

Collapsible davits on superyachtHeesen Galactica Star gull wing tender garage open

One particularly impressive example of how hydraulics are used to operate storage of tenders is described by Hydromar’s Steven. “We supplied gull wing doors to Heesen on M/Y Galactica Star (above-right image). Behind these gull wing doors, a smart tender garage arrangement was created using our special slew beam cranes.”

What does the future hold for superyacht hydraulics?

As superyachts get bigger, their features and technology are changing too. Steven says, “Designers are able to create more elaborate features on board and hydraulics can be used to operate or drive these special features such as large bathing areas, swimming pool covers and all kinds of hatches, doors and balconies. This gives superyachts even more versatility and added value for a yard having to offer/sell the yacht to a prospective owner.”

As described earlier by Steven from Hydromar, more complex hydraulic systems such as Programmable Logic Control (PLC) are also a growing trend in on-board hydraulic systems, due to the continuous desire for systems on board to be as innovative, efficient and fuss free as possible. Carlos from C-Systems agrees, adding that PLC systems help to “Synchronise all hydraulics on board, making things as easy as pushing a button.”

Aside from technology, there is also greater collaboration and understanding between shipyards and hydraulic specialists. Steven explains, “The yards are understanding the importance of cooperating with a hydraulic specialist like us more and more.

“The systems get more and more complex, therefore the need to closely collaborate benefits all parties involved and results in a more effective production process and with higher quality.”

Take a look at some amazing videos of superyacht hydraulics in action with our YouTube Hydraulics playlist.

If you’re looking for a new hydraulics supplier, take a look at our list of davits & hydraulics businesses.

Miami International Boat Show

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Miami International Boat Show! Our technicians are ready to answer any questions or resolve any issues on your Hydraulic, Electrical, and Pneumatic systems! Conveniently our technicians will be in and out of the Miami Boat show.  Give us a call to schedule an appointment.  954-772-1200 Miami Downtown with docked Yachts


M/Y Shark Water

Donating to M/Y Shark Water #finsattached We need more people like these guys in the world.
“Together we can make a difference to protect sharks and our oceans”
“We believe in the preservation of our world’s precious resources and that through the protection of the oceans apex predators, marine ecosystem balance can be maintained for the benefit of all living things on earth”sharkwater


C‐Systems & Services has acquired over 30 years of knowledge and experience in the field of yacht hydraulic, electrical and pneumatic equipment. In this time we have provided service and solutions to a countless number of customers.

Our team of dedicated engineers and technicians are skilled experts in analyzing and resolving problems related to yacht hydraulic, electrical, and pneumatic systems. The C‐Systems & Services team is committed to performing complete repairs and replacement aboard any vessel, ensuring the absolute finest workmanship and performance.

In addition to the field services, C‐Systems & Services boasts a full service machine shop, with a top of the line HAAS ST 30ssy CNC machine that is capable of fabricating many obsolete, custom made or ‘long lead time’ parts in-house.


Bow & Stern Thrusters, Chain, Chairs-Marine, Cleats, Davits & Cranes, Decking Equipment & Supply,Doors, Hatches & Scuttles, Electrical Systems & Service, Electronic Equipment & Supplies, Electronic Service & Repair,Epoxy, Fabricators-All Metals, Gangways, Hose Clamps, Hydraulic Equipment & Supplies, Hydraulic Repair, Marine Systems & Engineering, Oil, Oil Changes, Outboard Equipment & Supply, Platforms, Pumps, Steering Systems & Equipment, Trim Tabs, Valves, Welding, Winches & Windlasses,

CHECK US OUT in the article Power and Motor Yachts Magazine published us in!!!!

CHECK US OUT in the article Power and Motor Yachts published us in!!!!

Click the link to read the full article:…/how_to_care_for_davits_…

Make Friends with your Tech
That technician might be Carlos Castillo, owner of C-Systems & Services, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale. Castillo and his team have serviced cranes, davits, passarelles, windlasses, bow thrusters, and other hydraulic systems aboard yachts all over the world. Indeed, Carl Gwinn called him to New England to repair the Nordhavn’s rotator, and Castillo is now on Gwinn’s speed dial.

Castillo says cranes, like people, benefit from exercise: Launch and retrieve your dinghy at least twice a week. You don’t have to drop it in the water, but lower it all the way to the surface so the crane gets a good workout. This keeps the seals soft, prevents the sheaves from binding up, gives you a chance to listen for unusual noises—for example, if the rotator makes a cracking sound, the bearing is worn, and soon the crane will start to bind. (Call a technician.) If the crane jumps or is sluggish, he says, try it without the tender; sometimes lack of use lets a little rust form on moving parts, or the seals get stiff, and a bit of use will often clear things up. When it’s not in use, stow the crane with the cylinders retracted so they won’t rust, and secure it properly.

Inspect stainless wire cables for kinks, fishhooks, and rust. “Cables last a long time, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacement,” says Castillo. (It’s cheap insurance when you consider the consequence of a broken cable.) Although the multiple-sheave arrangement in most hydraulic cranes is very kind to the wire, he adds, some use a simple reel winch driven by an electric motor, which is less so. If you have a cable-on-reel crane, always maintain tension so the cable winds neatly on the reel and doesn’t get cross-wrapped, and check it frequently for damage.390_thumb_1

Hydraulic or pneumatic? What is best for your superyacht davit requirements

Written by Sarrah Macey & Grace Hoskins | With thanks to C-Systems & ServicesSeagull Yacht Services,Australian Davits and Cranes, Samuel Marine Equipment, Phoenix Marine Solutions and Nautical Structures
Superyachts will generally use hydraulics to power their davits, but pneumatics is used on vessels up to 50 feet to assist in the manual operation of luffing and jib extension. This is because pneumatics is generally lighter and cheaper than hydraulics.

Hydraulic power is almost always preferable in equipment operation and articulation. Occasionally a pneumatic gas-strut may be used to help counter-balance the weight of a small davit-boom when deployed manually. In today’s industry this represents a very small demographic of product; the vast majority of all tender-handling equipment built is powered by hydraulic fluid power.

A davit on the side of a superyacht


When sourcing a company for your davit or crane, there are a few key points to consider

Is the company financially stable in today’s markets?Following the global recession there are a lot of economic challenges for equipment manufacturers, and not all suppliers of deck equipment are financially solvent and stable. Todays suppliers are competing for fewer jobs and too many sacrifice profit for cash-flow! A consumer should do thorough research when selecting the supplier of equipment; low price does not always equate to value, solvency and after-sales support.

What safety factor (SF) does the company provide?Rick Thomas of Nautical Structures explained, “Tender-handling equipment typically falls under one of two configurations; non-classed or built to class. It is critical to understand the specification as well as the suppliers’ standards when selecting this type of equipment.

“Smaller yachts and some privately owned and operated yachts tend to go with non-classed equipment. In this case there are no agencies or regulating bodies to identify what the safety factors should be for this equipment. It is up to the manufacturer!”

Companies such as Nautical Structures Industries (NSI) use an established standard. In the case with NSI, they use the ABS standards for cargo-handling. Rick explained, “This requires a minimum structural integrity Safety Factor (SF) of 2.5:1. Cable, falls/hooks should have a SF of 5:1. We test this equipment with a 125% live load as part of our equipment certification.”

Classed equipment typically falls under LAME (Lifting Appliances in the Marine Environment); IMO/LSA Rules for SOLAS (International Maritime Organization/Life Saving Appliances for Safety Of Life At Sea) and are governed and administered by Classification Society and the vessel’s flag state. These rules are very specific, and vary depending upon the stated purpose of the davit or crane. Much of the safety factors are similar, but standards of operation, back-up power and other variables vary.

Certifications are given for ‘Rescue Boat’ launching, ‘Life Boat/Raft’ launching and ‘Manned Submersible’ launching. For comparative purposes to non-classed equipment, this equipment generally is built with a structural SF of 4.5:1 to tensile, falls and hooks with a minimum SF of 7.5:1, dynamic load testing at 120% design load, static load testing at 220% design load, a winch load-hold test of 150% design load, and safe operation of the crane in both static and dynamic loading with an inclination emulating a 20-degree list and 10-degree trim of the vessel!

Lifting angles of a deck crane are often brought to issue. Nautical Structures explained that professional companies should bear in mind that few clients are trained and certified crane operators, therefore cranes should not be placed in a position that could cause damage or structural failure. All davits and cranes should have the capacity to be fully loaded at rated load capacity at full outreach with the boom in a horizontal position. By this approach to design, a crane operator may not accidentally place the crane in a position that could result in a failure. A Lift Overload Protection (LOP) feature limits the winch hoisting capacity to 115% of design load.

Jet skis being loaded by a davitA davit on the side of a yacht lifting a tender

Are they a partner or approved supplier to any of the industry’s largest yacht builders?Professional equipment suppliers tend to build their business around supplying the industry’s largest builders and this information is usually found on their website.

Do they use innovative technology?Product development and innovation requires experience, sound engineering and financial stability in order to be successful; a great company will push themselves to be leaders in this industry and develop new systems and solutions.

Hydraulics, technology and CNC machines

Due to a rise in larger new build yachts being produced, the recent demand in hydraulic systems syncing with technology has rocketed according to Carlos Castillo from C-Systems & Services, a key industry influencer in servicing yacht hydraulic, electrical and pneumatic equipment.

Stephany commented, “Customers are asking for the newest and smartest technology for their yachts. To ensure we are providing our customers with the highest level of services and solutions, we make a point of sending out technicians to our vender’s latest courses and seminars. The size of new-build yachts is increasing, thus meaning, so is the average order spend too.”

In terms of business, hydraulic providers are increasing their use of electronic systems in producing fixtures and fittings for yachts. A CNC machine is used to produce a large quantity of the same item daily. First of all the design is drawn using computer software, then it is processed and manufactured using the CNC machine, ensuring an efficient work flow.

“With the use of a top of the line HAAS ST 30ssy CNC machine, C-Systems & Services are able to fabricate parts in house. This form of technology is proving a benefit for both the business and our clients, we are currently unaware of any competitors using a CNC machine.” Stephany commented.

Maintaining your CNC built hydraulic system

It is as important to uphold the routine maintenance on a CNC fabrication system, as it is with any hydraulic system.

Stephany from C-Systems & Services continued… “When it comes to maintaining and installing davits and hydraulics, I suggest the buyers know the maximum size tender that can be used on board so that the crane will be sized accordingly.

“Installations should always be done by a professional. It’s extremely important to install and adjust all equipment properly to ensure safety all round and maintenance work should be done periodically. Keeping the system lubricated and tuned-up will help ensure the equipment always performs at its best.”

Do they use stainless steel?The selection of materials is very important in product design. Some companies have been found to use the more expensive stainless steel fittings in places visible, and less expensive steel fitting in locations not typically visible! Buyer beware, quality manufacturers will understand the environment the equipment will live in, and design appropriately. 316L stainless steel is appropriate in many applications, but higher-tensile 17-4PH stainless steel is appropriate in other elements of the equipment. Stainless steel needs to be isolated from the surrounding aluminium structure, and bushings should be used for this purpose.

Are all designs completed in-house rather that sub-contracted out?Keeping design work in-house will stop lengthy delays while communications are sent back and forth. Plus using naval architects and designers that are familiar with the davit or crane system the customer wants will ensure that they get an elegant and smooth solution that works.

Do their production facilities and workshops boast the latest machinery?Having the latest machinery and tools will make sure the products are manufactured to the highest standards, have better finishes and be more accurately put together.

Can they custom create a whole boat solution to your exact requirements?Even if you only need a smaller system, making sure the company doesn’t baulk at a larger job will assure you that they are more than capable to work on your project.

What is the after-sales service like?Having helpful, available staff to answer any post sale questions and a good guarantee will make sure your hydraulics and or pneumatics solution is fit for purpose, has been made to a high standard and will last through tough conditions and regular use.

Can they provide testimonials from happy customers?Ideally testimonials are available on company websites, but many good businesses should be able to email you comments from happy customers to prove their customer service levels.

Yachting Tips for your hydraulic and pneumatic system

John Samuel, founder of Samuel Marine Equipment gave the following advice:


  • Pneumatics should have drier filters fitted between the compressor and the tank.
  • The tank should have the facility to drain any water off (eg a ball valve) and the engineers should do this at regular intervals.
  • If the valve has a pipe fitted, the water may be disposed of without making a mess.
  • When designing a system, an ‘oiler’ may be required for certain equipment. This will meter oil into the output line concerned and lubricate the equipment.


  • Hydraulic power may be drawn off the main engines and systems may be retrofitted.
  • Tank size and design are of the utmost importance to keep the oil cool & efficiently recycled.
  • Careful selection of good quality component manufacturers will ensure that parts are reliable and in the case of wear and tear; readily available worldwide.
  • Failure of this equipment is generally due to prolonged exposure to the elements or salt air, rarely the hydraulics.

Hydraulic equipment for superyachtsSuperyacht hydraulic systems

From solenoid valves to hydraulic cylinders the market is growing

Hydraulic and pneumatic driven davits are growth sectors, and from entire custom jobs to case-by-case component sales, the range of products and services available can seem bewildering. When it comes to the products, consider their whole-life cost, not just the upfront purchase price. If you can buy it for £10 instead of £12, will you then need to repair it around the world for the next two years? If you have five hydraulic systems provided by five different suppliers, who will take overall responsibility for the vessel’s systems?

Luxury pneumatics for your luxury yacht

When a system is designed, built, installed and commissioned correctly, then problem solving can be as simple as checking a fuse or topping up the oil. When the system is not as stated previously then you can only hope you have a good engineer to call and you’re not at sea with a door open!

Maintaining your hydraulic system

Flemming Niehorster, owner of Seagull Yacht Services advised, “The most important thing about hydraulics is cleanliness. Oil should be changed once a year. Although the system is usually closed it will attract water and this will play havoc with the spools.”

Have one port of call for all your hydraulics and pneumatic needs

To ensure a trouble-free life, find a hydraulic partner who will design, manufacture, install, commission and support a centralised system of mechanical products driven by hydraulics. This centralised system will save you time, space, weight and energy and you’ll have one port of call for any after sales service requirements.

Use your davit safely

John Berg, owner of Australian Davits and Cranes explained, “Always match the load to the davit. Don`t buy a dinghy for example that weighs 385kg, and then purchase a davit rated to 350kg and turn around and rely on the inbuilt safety factor. Invariably the salesman will say it will be ok but it really isn’t! The ‘Safe Working Load’ is not a guideline; it is a calculation that is there to protect the operator and their crew. It’s like the fact that the speed limit on the road is there to protect the drivers and their passengers. Just because your car can do 240kph doesn’t mean you should drive everywhere at 240kph.