Ever since we bought Tulum 5 in February, we knew we were probably going to have to update the Windlass on our sailboat, but had no idea the project would be so massive. On most any sizable boat a Windlass is the mechanical system that hauls the chain or rope or combination of the two (rode) up from the ocean floor and back onto the boat or ship. On most cruising sailboats that Windlass is powered by a 12-volt system (meaning batteries) but you often find generator powered Windlass’s on larger boats (110-volt systems). When we bought Tulum 5, both the bow and stern Windlass systems were powered by 110-volt systems, meaning we would have to be running the generator in order for our Windlass to work. In my little mind, this isn’t an ideal system, especially with my generator not functioning right now or since we’ve bought Tulum 5. After I moved onto the boat permanently in July of this year, I knew the Windlass was one of my priorities and tackled the project in mid-July. We did not start out wanting a new Windlass. We listened to the advice of our broker and surveyor who both said we could take the current (existing) Windlass motor off the boat (it was 110-volt) and have places in San Diego, National City or Chula Vista re-spin the innards of the motor to make it compatible with 12-volt power. I spent the better part of an entire two days on the phone and lugging that old motor around to various shops in the local area trying to find someone who could actually do this…..to no avail. First point of caution here…..if you’re looking to the do the same thing, take the advice with a grain of salt. We were unable to find anyone who would or could re-spin that 1978 Windlass motor to make it a 12-volt system.
So the next decision was what to do: Reinstall the motor to the windlass or we could decide to buy a modern, lighter, more energy-efficient 12-volt Windlass. We decided to buy and install a new Windlass. After my research, knowing our chain size, boat weight and length and intended use of the Windlass as well as price variations; we settled on the Maxwell 2500 VWC variant. Once purchased, we had to worry about getting the old Windlass out and the new one in. I’m going to discuss the process via a series of 5 different posts “For Dummies” like myself, but sufficient to say it didn’t go like I thought it would.
First, we had to get the old Windlass out. This wasn’t that hard, but the thing was a monster and I think it contributed to my messed up back and neck.
Despite the old Windlass being out and off the boat, I still had to deal with the teak pedestal and the iron plate that it had sat on top of….custom made of course.
In my naive mind (attributed to my youth of course) I dicked around a few days with the iron plate, thinking I could cut a hole or drill it out enough to make it work. It didn’t
Come read the rest of my 5-part series on installing this new Windlass by myself (except for a critical assist by a friend) and custom woodwork at the end of the project. If you like my “For Dummies” series about working on an aging sailboat…..keep following us cause I’m the dummy and I’m working on an aging sailboat to get her ready for extended blue-water cruising with my family in late 2019.