Windlass Installed

January 24, 2011

I was quite certain that I would complete the windlass install in just one day. I probably would have too if it hadn’t been for the mishap. I was quite careful, fully three times as careful as I would usually be. I measured a bunch of times, and then even drilled some pilot holes for each of the 7 holes I would put in the deck. In the end I was to have a 2 3/8″ hole for the chain drop, and a 2 3/4″ hole for the motor. The motor hole was to be ringed by 3/8″ holes for the bolts and one 1/2″ hole for the chain counter wire.

Things were looking good after I drilled the chain drop hole, so Vick walked up to the ManVan to get the shop vac. I lined up my 2 3/4″ hole saw on the next pilot and chewed another hole in the deck. I felt great for about 10 seconds until I swept the work area clean and realized that I had just drilled out the 3/8″ bolt hole with at 2 3/4″ hole saw. Miles was watching me over my shoulder, so  I couldn’t say what I was really feeling. Instead I started saying “Shoot!” really loudly, over an over. “What’s wrong daddy? What happened? What happend daddy? What’s wrong?” he repeated.  I couldn’t even find the words to respond.

I called Dave Martin first and then Jason Hudson (when I got Dave’s answering machine).  They both told me about the same thing; “Dig the core out of the hole and the puck, make some epoxy fillet, wipe both parts down with straight epoxy, replace the plug, and fill the 1/8″ gap with fillet.”  I moaned under the humiliation of my mistake but decided to take it as a great learning opportunity.

I did the repair just as it had been described (only cutting myself 14 times with the dremel) and stood back to admire my handy work. It sure wasn’t pretty, but it would be entirely covered up by the windlass. I was pretty sure it would be strong too, but I had already decided to back the whole area with G-10, so that wouldn’t ever be tested.

The next morning I got up early and went to check my work. The puck had sunk a bit (due to Miles pressing on it the night before with his toe) but it was rock solid. I fared the gap with some epoxy, and then set out my hole saw again to re-drill. Vick quadruple checked  my work, and I drilled out the correct pilot. With that done I quickly did the remaining holes and added epoxy around the larger openings to prevent rot in the future.

I spent the rest of the afternoon chasing parts (G-10) is surprisingly hard to find, and finishing the electrical. It was a ton of work but I am happy to say that I now feel confident doing minor glass work, and my marine electrical skills are coming along quite nicely.  All that and we have a shiny windlass on our foredeck.

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