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Project Log:  Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Before getting into the nitty-gritty and mess of the final installation, I chose to do a dry run of the chain stripper and windlass, mainly to ensure that the bronze fasteners were the right lengths and to determine that everything worked together the way it should.

Immediately, this led to a problem--one I'd been a little worried about as I worked on and about the windlass over the past days.  The thickness of the deck in the windlass mounting area, as well as the need for a sturdy backing plate, meant that I needed 4-1/2" bolts for the windlass.  Unfortunately--and this was what I'd been concerned about--there was not enough overhead clearance to insert these bolts cleanly into the narrow base of the windlass. 

This forced the fasteners on the forward two holes in at a slight angle, which was undesirable enough but something easily dealt with, and they slipped through with only moderate persuasion from a hammer and another bolt as an extender (with minimal thread damage...but then any is too much, isn't it). 

But the two after holes were well-hidden by the wildcat and capstan, and there was vastly insufficient clearance for the bolts to be inserted.  The awkward angle caused the bolts to hang up in the flange holes (which also caused damage to the threads), and also hung the bolt heads up tightly against the wildcat and capstan.



While I'd been anticipating--if dreading--this finding, since the long bolts had only just arrived this was the first time I'd seen just how bad it was, and it was intensely disappointing to see it manifested so terribly; these are the sorts of things that cause me to create lots of imaginative new swear words on the fly. 

The net result of this issue was that I got the bolts through the tight spot, of course, though I had to use locking pliers, which I gripped to the bolt threads just below the heads in that open spot, as a means against which to hammer the things through.  Not a recommended installation technique, but something a mounting base only a small fraction of an inch larger would have solved very nicely, thank you.

This all caused damage to the threads of the bronze bolts, so to be sure I didn't have an issue during final installation, I took the time to repair the threads by running a nut up from the bottom of each bolt--time-consuming, as I had to use a wrench through most of each length,  but required and worthwhile.


With that unnecessary foolishness out of the way, I proceeded as planned with my dry-fit to check the bolts' lengths (I'd intentionally stayed on the "too long" side of caution) and determine any clearance issues, the only one of which I could find was that one corner of the backing plate for the windlass interfered slightly with access to the aft mounting bolt of the chain stripper, so I marked the backing plate so I could clip the offending corner.  I also slipped on the windlass cover and marked its screw holes on the newly-filled spots in the deck.


Removing everything one (I hoped) final time, I drilled two 5/8" holes through the epoxy-filled voids in the deck for the cables, and also prepared the four mounting holes for the windlass cover, cleaning up thoroughly afterwards.


From below, I led up the two power cables (up and down control) that would eventually lead to the windlass motor.

I started with the chain stripper, which had to be in place before I could set down the windlass.  With abundant sealant on the deck, I installed the casting with four bronze bolts, fender washers, and nuts.  The aft inboard bolt was a little close to the chain opening, so I left off the fender washer there since it slightly overlapped the opening.  I used sealant squeezeout to further protect the inside of the chain hole, even though I'd already epoxy-coated the exposed surfaces.  I left the nuts just a little loose for now, as the tolerance between stripper and wildcat was close enough that I might need to slightly adjust things.


Next, I gooped up lavishly the mounting area for the windlass, and set it in place.  Belowdecks, I installed my 1" fiberglass backing plate and secured the windlass with fender washers and nuts, fiddling around with the relationship between wildcat and chain stripper as required to ensure the wildcat spun freely.  (This required a lot of back and forth between the chain locker and foredeck.)


To finalize the installation, once I had all the bolts tight I added another washer to one bolt, then installed the negative cable and wires for the system to that bolt, securing them with a final washer and another nut.  Back on deck, I made up the ends of the two large positive cables and secured them to the appropriate posts on the windlass motor, after which I applied sealant all around their bases.



Finally, I cleaned up excess sealant as needed, and installed the windlass cover with four machine screws and some butyl tape sealant just at the screw locations, as any water that got into the housing needed an easy route out--plus the cover had to remain removable.  I discovered to my head-shaking wonder that there was barely enough (read:  not really enough) clearance between the cover and  the windlass motor for those two large cables where they ran against the motor housing, but with  care I massaged the thing into place.  A good future upgrade would be to cut out this part of the side of the cover and build in a sort of "power bulge" to allow it to fit better.

In any event, it all looked nice now and oh-so innocent in its done-ness, all doe-eyed and so darn cute that one could almost forgive its sins of installation. 

All that remained to complete the windlass installation was the main 150-amp breaker panel, which was not available from Ideal Windlass in a timely manner, so I ordered essentially the same thing from another source; this would be here presently, and I'd install it at the helm console as soon as time allowed.



Total Time Today:  4.5 Hours

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