Step Two: Preparation

With the old windlass out of the way, it was time to get the deck ready for the new windlass. As I mentioned, all of the holes in the deck from the old windlass were strategically located so that not a single one was of any use whatsoever in mounting the new windlass.

First order of business then, was to mix up a batch of thickened epoxy and pack it into the holes. Of course it would just dribble out the bottom, so first I covered the bottom of each hole with man’s best friend…duct tape.

After the holes were packed with epoxy, I covered everything with tape to keep it all dry, because during the time I was working on this, we were getting a rainstorm approximately every 23 minutes.

You can see in the photo below, the area where the windlass was, the old deck pipe location to the left, and the old foot switch to the right. The thing at the far left is the pump-out port for the wastewater holding tank. My wife refers to it as “The-Thing-That-Shall-Not-Be-Touched”.


You can see a large circle on the deck. That’s where the old deck plate was, and of course, the new windlass’ footprint is smaller, so the ring would show, so I had to come up with a way to cover it. More on that in a bit.

First thing I wanted to do was reinforce the deck to spread the loads imposed by the windlass as it does its job. I cut a piece of 3/4 inch pressure treated plywood, coated it with epoxy, then fiberglass-encased it. I  then cut a piece of 1/4″ aluminum plate to the same size.



I epoxied the wood under the deck, then epoxied the plate under that. Next, drawing on my extensive knowledge of mathematics, surveying technology and plane geometry, I transferred the location of the plates under the deck to the topside, marking the results with tape.



(Actually, I just measured from a single hole through the deck and both plates that’s taped over in the picture, and transferred the measurement to the top. Sounds better the first way though)

I removed the footswitch and enlarged the hole so the new footswitch would fit, and drilled a new hole for the other new footswitch.



A 1/4″ fiberglass plate was cut to cover the old deck plate ring, and was drilled to accept the new windlass. This will be painted to match the deck. The edge of the tape marks the centerline of the anchor rode.



I made and test-fit three different templates to get the hole spacing just right, then used the best of the three to transfer the hole locations to the deck. With Janet assisting, I drilled five 1/2″ diameter holes for the mounting bolts, a 4″ hole for the anchor rode pipe, and a 5 1/4″ hole for the motor shaft. Janet’s job was to feed me Prozac, stat, if I messed up.



I’m proud to say that when I test-fit the windlass, it slid in like it was greased.

A lot of installers would have cut the large holes with a jigsaw or a reciprocating saw (“Sawzall”) instead of a hole saw. That would do the job, but the hole would be ragged. Once the windlass is in, I doubt I’ll ever see these holes again, but I can go to my reward knowing they are neat and round. I painted the edges of the holes with epoxy and sealed any voids with thickened epoxy. When cured, it will be sanded smooth and then it’s ready for the decorative plate and the windlass.

Next, I turned my attention to the wiring.

The old solenoid had been converted to a lump of rust, so it came out and was replaced with a new solenoid box provided with the windlass.



I’m not finished with this yet, and the wires will all get neatly bundled and fastened down so they aren’t flopping around loose.

The boat was wired at the upper and lower helm with switches to raise and lower the anchor, but the wires had never been connected to the windlass. The only way to operate the old one was with the single “up” footswitch on the foredeck.

I spent a few hours with a multimeter and a tone generator tracing the wires to make sure I had the right ones, then crimped waterproof terminals on the ends and readied them for connection to the new solenoid box. When I’m done, I’ll be able to control the windlass from the foredeck, the upper helm, or the lower helm.

While I was at it, I removed the two skanky brown hoses you see behind the ladder in the first photo above. They drained the gutter around the main deck hatch, but they drained into the bilge. I installed a new through-hull fitting and rerouted new, larger hoses so the gutter now drains overboard. The hoses still need to be fastened into place too, but I’m waiting until all of the new bits and pieces are installed so I know for sure where everything wants to be.



This is the new stainless steel through-hull inside the anchor locker, with the new, larger hose attached.



If you close one eye and squint the other, you can see the new through-hull where it comes,   …wait for it,  …   through the hull.


Now, the only remaining step is to install the new windlass, hook up the wires, reload the anchor rode and the anchor onto the boat and try it out.

Then, it’s time for the captain and first mate to spend a couple nights at anchor!

Do NOT call me.










About TwoCaptains

The TwoCaptains are Jim and Janet, both US Coast Guard licensed boat captains home-ported in Daytona Beach. We recently sold our 1990 Ocean Yachts 56' CPMY "Magic Carpet", and now we're in the hunt for a replacement.
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