Aft windlass installation
was probably the most stressing installation we ever have done on our
boat as it required drilling several holes, cutting out one big hole and
trying to do all this in a very small cramped space. We made some
serious mistakes in the beginning when we tried to fit the windlass when
the boat was on land. We trusted the boats lines and angles too much and
thought everything was level which it wasn't! So our strong advice is
that you do all the fitting when the boat is in the water and hopefully
not fully loaded.
We started the whole procedure by making a jig out of MDF-board. The jig
is basically made by copying the stainless steel windlass base when its
put on the MDF and lines was drawn inside the chain and bolt holes. You
also need to draw the outlines of the base so the jig is an exact copy
of the base. Remember to write on the jig what is up and what is the
inside and outside so you know how to place it on the boat.
The jig was also later used to press epoxy filler on the inside of the
transom so there would be a solid flat surface to seat the steel base.
The jig was first covered with Gladwrap so the epoxy would not stick to
it. Then we added lots of epoxy in places where we thought there would
be gaps and then we pressed the jig against it and tightened the bolts.
The bolts were covered in grease so the epoxy would not stick.
When the epoxy had hardened we removed the jig, filled the remaining
holes and gaps and ground off the sharp edges etc.
When the windlass was in
place the next step was to do all the electrical works. How we did that
you find in the bottom of this page.
1. Here we aligned
the jig to the deck line which was the first mistake as the deck is not
normally horizontal. Then we drilled the bolt holes one by one with a
wood drill (the one with a point) till the point was visible from the
outside and then we drilled the hole from outside. This was done in
order to avoid larger cracks in the gelcoat.
For some strange reason we decided that before we drill the last bolt
hole and the larger 35mm holes, we should place the steel base on the
outside and see how it looks . When we did this we realized that the
holes were totally misaligned and the last small hole was way outside
the base. We just had to stop the fitting and wait till the boat was in
By using two 35mm holes in the jig you will have a better starting point
which will avoid the drill slipping compared to if we had made a full
opening in the jig. Also, use a thick board for the jig as it gives you
a longer "tunnel" which keeps the drill at the correct angle.
glasses, dust mask, ear protection plus
clothing was a must in order to avoid epoxy dust. The dust mask filter
was later changed to a carbon filter when we applied epoxy to the
transom from the inside. The fumes from the epoxy are a killer so be sure
that you also have good ventilation.
5. A month
later or so we launched the boat and attacked the now very anxiety
filled task again. We started by filling all but upper right hole with
epoxy so we could do the drilling properly. We used to level the jig. My
wife was inside the boat all the time this sunny day and enjoyed the hot
spring weather. Be sure that your helper has lot to drink because it is
not easy to crawl back and forth into the transom compartment.
the first bolt was tightened we drilled the second upper hole and added
a bolt. From this point on it was quite easy to drill the other two
holes without having to worry that the jig was not in level. After the
in place we drilled the two larger holes.
continuing with the removal of the remaining transom we tried the steel
base in its place. It was a relief to see that it worked as we hoped.
We first used a small pointy hole saw to cut out the remaining transom
and finished it with a drill fitted with a rotating file. We used
the steel base as a jig for the file. You have to be sure that the
tunnel walls are at least 90 degrees or more so the rope and chain will
pass though properly.
9. As we
could not finish the job in one day we had to cover the hole with some
duct tape for the night so there would not be any water in the "tunnel".
10. The edges of
the tunnel were later painted with gelcoat. The line that is visible in
the "tunnel" is the extra layer of epoxy we had to added between the
steel base and the inside of the transom. As you can see, it is a quite
thick layer we had to add.
11. The anchor holder was fitted slightly below the stainless steel fram
for the rope hole of two reasons: The first one is quite obvious as the
shelf inside is hanging lower than the hole and you need some space to
use tools to fit the anchor holders plate.
The second reason is that you the anchor arm must lean down little bit
in order to have the anchor sliding down properly. The latter issue can
also be adjusted by cutting the supporting strut shorter. In our case
the anchor arm is little bit too upright and we need to give the anchor
a push so it slides down.
The positive with that is
that when using the free fall mode we can release the chain and rope in
advance and when getting closer to shore we just step on the swimming
platform and give the anchor a push and it starts sliding down.
12. The anchor arm folded down. The white rope is there
to secure the arm to the push pit when in upright position and to ease
the hoisting of the anchor arm. I will also act as a supporting strut
from the above if necessary.
13. Here you can see how the supporting strut and its "shoe" is fitted.
We chose to fit the "shoe" as low as possible which lead to that we had
to cut the "shoe" slightly on the starboard side. See next picture.
Here you see the "shoe" cutted as described in previous picture. You can
also see how the anchor is aligned with the exit holes plate.
The anchor and its arm in upright position tied with the white rope to
Windlass rocker switch
The windlass is now in place and the wireless remote works as it is
supposed to. The next step was to connect a rocker switch as a backup.
Since we are allergic to drilling holes all over the boat we wanted to
place the rocker switch somewhere close to the steering wheel and in a
place that could be easily repaired if we want to move the rocker switch
later on. We chose to place the rocker switch on the steering pedestal
console where we already had installed the switch for the electric
1. We started by preparing a set of cables that would be fitted to the
rocker switch. The reason why we choose to do it like this is that it
will be easier to remove the console later
on as we can easily
disconnect all the power cables.
2. The cables connected to
the rocker switch.
3. Close up of the rocker
4. Next step was to prepare the wiring from the batteries to the
steering pedestal. The grey flexible conduit protects the wiring and
makes a neat installation.
5. Then it was time to make the hole in the console. We used the rubber
seal that comes with the rocker switch as a template and marked the
position. Then we drilled some holes and cut the hole with a small saw
blade and ground it nicely to get a good finish.
6. Testing that the rocker
switch and the rubber sealing fits as it should.
7. Next step was to fit the wiring from the inside of the boat to the
steering pedestal. We have installed an electrical gland underneath the
autopilot compartment in the aft of the boat in order to have a shorter
cable run . It’s the same place where we feed the electric winch switch
8. We drilled a hole next to the other cable penetration and sealed it
with SIKA flex, both around the hole in the fiberglass and where the
cable conduit goes in the white cable gland.
9. It was not easy to get the wiring up in the steering column. First of
all its narrow, then the grey conduit did not go as straight as it
should and when it was in its place it was difficult to fit it so it
would not get jammed to the moving parts of the steering system. So the
solution was to find a rigid plastic tube that fitted in the upper left
corner of the steering column and squeeze it there so it would not move.
After that we fed the grey cable conduit from the bottom of the steering
column (there are holes prepared for that in the bottom) through the
white tube and locked it with a cable tie to other cables.
10. When everything was set we crimped the female cable connectors to
11. The final result. On the top right is the electric winch switch and
under it is the windlass rocker switch.
Materials we used
All information below,
product pictureas and tables by courtesy of Lewmar and Båtsystem.
Båtsystem anchor holder
1420, adjustable, max 20 kg.
new model (for 2012) has a locking system that keeps the anchor in place
better compared to the older model 1415. The locking pin needs something
in its end so it will not slip out if you forget to tighten the screw.
The package contained two of these screws. When we lost the first one
during week one we understood why there was two of them. To avoid
loosing the second one we rounded the top threads of the screw with a
hammer and screw driver so it will not be possible to fully unscrew it.
We learned from
Liros that there is one crucial thing to think about when you use
a rope with a windlass and it is that it has to be heat set. If it is
not, it will be too soft for the winch and can slip. Heat setting
a rope will make it firmer and easier for the windlass to grip.