You: But wait! Didn't you just spend two months in Charleston? You're supposed to be on your way to the Bahamas.
Me: Yes. But our windlass had other ideas....
You: You don't need no stinkin' windlass...
Me: Well maybe not. But Bruce nearly mutinied when I "suggested" that he haul in the 100 ft of chain by hand. And since I need him too much to allow the mutiny to go forth, I relented and we pulled into the marina to see if we could get it going again. Maybe the predicted 40+ knot winds had a little bit to do with it, along with the corresponding temperature drop... but here we are.
So if you're still with me you have only yourself to blame..., here's how it went. Initially, the power button had been giving Bruce some problems. He would have to move his foot around to get it to make contact. Finally, it failed completely... So because of that, his initial diagnosis was that there was some corrosion causing the button to fail to make solid contact. He spent some time cleaning contacts but it didn't work.
Testing the foot switch revealed that the switch was dead, so we ordered a new one. We paid $30 for overnight delivery, hoping to save the higher cost of another night in the marina.
The new switch arrived... it was the wrong one. (yes, OK, we ordered the wrong switch and paid extra to have it delivered to us... SMACK! So there...)
We found and ordered the RIGHT foot switch and (yes) paid the extra money to have it overnighted to us... (we're still hoping to get out of here and be on our way) The switch arrived and we installed and tested it. We hooked it up and the windlass ran. Once. The second time we pushed the button... nothing. Deader-than-a-doornail. WTF!???
Bruce tested the wires and confirmed that there WAS power going to the motor and finally in desperation, he banged on the motor with a mallet... IT WORKED! We can leave!
At this point, a little over a week had gone by. We rolled our stay into the monthly rate.
|Full weight on the crowbar... nothing
We finally resorted to prying it with a crowbar... It. Would. Not. Budge. And now... pieces of the flange began to crumble and break off!!!
During all of this, I was struggling to keep from having a tiny meltdown. I remained belowdecks trying to pretend that this wasn't happening. Unspeakable sounds came from the anchor locker. Sounds that were magnified and made twice as horrifying as they transmitted through the hull of my home. There was no need for me to be up there on deck putting in my two cents... I was useless. Evening came and the sounds ceased. I poked my head out and saw Dan leaving with the promise of returning in the morning with more tools. This is not good... They had made some headway... but the main shaft going through the deck would not budge. We both felt very dejected but still thankful that we weren't in this alone.
Near evening, Bruce came down with a big shiny beautiful piece of bronze in his hand. He brought it to show me that they had sawed through this thick shaft and finally got the motor to drop. The shaft was frozen inside the gear mechanism, which is why the motor was stuck. Knowing this... we are now more comfortable with our
|The last straw
We went to work looking for a new windlass. Optimally we would find one that would not require new holes in the deck. Lewmar has a drop-in replacement for our old windlass... Our recent experience with the scanty customer service skills of the Lewmar company had left us reluctant to buy another Lewmar product... but "drop-in" installation was a strong argument to go with them again. The other contender was the Maxwell RC 10-10.
Both of these windlasses are size appropriate for our boat, that was the first step in our research for the perfect windlass. While doing our research and reading the specs for both windlasses, another unfortunate fact surfaced... Our anchor chain was type G3. The new windlasses were built for type G4 chain. What does this mean??? Is our chain not good enough? Is it going to fail? Are we in danger??? So down another road we went.
We studied the chain types and the attributes for each... In the end, we could have got a Maxwell windless that would fit our old chain... but we decided that we would upgrade to the newer type chain, the G4 which is stronger size for size. Why stay with old technology going forward? If we're going to spend the money for a new windlass, why stay with the old chain?
Ok so back to the windlass... The deciding factor ended up being the thickness of our deck. Our deck has a mounting pedestal on the bow which allows the chain to lead straight to the bow roller. The pedestal and the deck itself measure to a thickness of about 4 inches. The Lewmar wasn't built to accommodate that thickness. They DO offer a spacer, but when we called to place our order, they didn't actually HAVE any of them. It would be 2 to 4 weeks before they could get one... Strike three Lewmar... you're OUT!
Here is where it gets a bit murky. Days passed and we made slow progress... The windlass arrived. Oh it is a thing of beauty. We studied the installation instructions meticulously. We didn't want to mess this up. We would be cutting enormous holes in our deck and we didn't want to do it twice! We had some days of inclement weather that delayed us more. We didn't want to open our deck to the rain and risk getting damp in the wood core. So we waited it out.
|We filled the old holes with epoxy...
|Bruce serviced all of the OTHER winches on the boat.
|We spliced the old chain onto our secondary anchor
|We installed an eye bolt to secure the bitter ends of our rode
|That's a LOT of deck!
|Bruce cleaned out a suspect spot and filled it with epoxy
|Finished... now to dry.
|Will it go? Are the holes in the right place?
Bruce found some pieces of metal up in the marina shop to use as backing plates. We bolted the motor on and after repositioning it in several places, finally chose the one that would work best in our anchor locker, we were done.
liquid electrical tape to the connectors... nothing left but the cleanup!
This was a big project for us. We went from knowing next-to-nothing about our windlass. We had it serviced while the boat was out of water back in St. Petersburg last February, but other than that, we had no idea what it's maintenance needs were. Obviously that proved to be a problem.