Windlass Installed

January 24, 2011

I was quite certain that I would complete the 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 for each of the 7 I would put in the . 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″ 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″ . 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 fillet, wipe both parts down with straight , 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 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 , 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 , and my marine electrical skills are coming along quite nicely.  All that and we have a shiny windlass on our foredeck.




  1. Comment by Rick Patrinellis

    Rick Patrinellis October 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I read your windlass installation blog with interest as i have to tackle that job myself on my PSC 31. Question for you.. how did you route your power wireing back to the batteries/windlass breaker? Also, did you install foot switches? If so, how did that go? My wife and i are preparing for our cruise which will begin in about 2 years. I have much to do to get our boat ready to go so trying to learn from every resource I can. Hope all is well,
    Cool Change (Sausalito CA)
    PSC 31 hull 47

    • Comment by Tucker Bradford

      Tucker Bradford October 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      Awesome! Thanks for reaching out to us. I wired the windlass directly to the shunt/battery terminal and used the 100A breaker (located near the windlass) as my only safety. Some people add an additional breaker, but I couldn’t see the sense in that. It might make sense to add an inline fuse on the + side near the battery, but if your cable gauge is correct, and you make good clean terminals, things should be fine. I did install foot switches, and then went bonkers and installed a finger toggle in my aft companionway, just in case i wanted to deploy from the cockpit some day. So far I haven’t used that one, but I don’t think I would have done it differently. The foot switches were the easiest part of the whole process.
      Oh one other thing. I installed the breaker way over by the windlass because I wanted it to be as far away from the kids as possible. You really want it close to the battery if you can swing it.

      Good luck getting off the dock, it was hard but well worth it for us!

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