Yesterday, Saturday was the Debacle, Sunday the Plan was made. That gave me five days to sort out the windlass and get it working again.
First thing I did was get out the Ideal windlass manual for my ACW windlass. I had two issues:
- As we were hauling the anchor, it became more and more strained, until finally it just stopped with the current protection breaker activating
- The wildcat hits the top of the chain stripper on each revolution.
Now this windlass is 30+ years old but is built like a champ and perhaps if I rad the manual more often, it will outlast me. Because there in ALL CAPS was a warning that the windlass should only be used with a load in the clockwise direction.
Oops. Because I had anchored with my secondary anchor whose rode used the starboard anchor locker, I would wind the rode around the capstan and use the down switch to rotate the windlass counterclockwise. I had worked in the few times in the past I had done so, but the anchor was never very deep. With a little tap on the circuit breaker protection switch, I could reset the circuit breaker button and the windlass worked fine. I even test it, by lowering the primary anchor and letting a couple hundred feet out on the harbor bottom, which is between 10 to 20 feet under the keel.
Hauling it worked fine, except for the chain stripper being hit and therefore bent by the wildcat.
The diagram of the winch also gave me the information that the top of the chain stripper must be exactly 2.5” above the plate of the winch to fit into the groove of the wildcat which is about a half inch wide. Mine was clearly 2 and ¾”.
In the same manual, I found an old picture, which seemed to show that the chain stripper was perfectly straight. That was enough for me.
So, first stop Monday morning was to the big boat yard next to the dock, Superior Marine Services. There, Tyler, who was the bronze and stainless-steel expert, took a few minutes out of his busy to day to help little me (He is one of those big Alaskans that towers over me, like a brown bear!).
He suggested the big press. I mumbled ok since I was clueless. After all of 5 minutes and about a dozen pressings in different angles and parts, my stripper was as straight as new.
And typical of Alaskans, he wouldn’t take any money for his efforts, even coffee money.
I walked back to Dauntless, installed by stripper and it fit perfectly. I then proceeded to pull up the hundred feet of chain I put out as much to clean it an anything else and my little windlass worked like new.
Tides, currents and sunrise were all set. Now, I just needed the weather to cooperate.