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Maintaining Your Anchor Windlass

Captain Chris Yacht Services
Maintaining Your Anchor Windlass
Windlass or Capstan. They both need some preventative maintenance.
Additional Images
Whether you already own your boat or are looking to purchase one, it is essential to include the anchor windlass in a thorough maintenance review.

The anchor, chain and rope may be the obvious items to review when looking with a keen eye toward safety equipment. But don't forget the above deck windlass, the chain locker and the below deck motor.

Even if you are at the dock consider checking this equipment by lowering the anchor and running all the rode out. This not only allows testing of the windlass but also provides an easy way to see the condition of the chain and rope rode. Any rust should be carefully eyed because you know what they say about the weakest link?

In the photos below you can see a few of the possible problems you may encounter from a leaking motor to sheared screws. The disassembled parts may help you understand a bit more of how this equipment works...when it's put back together properly!

If you'd like to learn more about maintaining your boat systems or even just to understand what normal should look like, then Ask Captain Chris at our 2-day Introduction to Boat Systems seminar. Learn more here. Or give us a call 772-205-1859

Don't forget to look carefully at the chain locker hatch. This one is starting to break loose.
Repairs have been done to this chain locker hatch. See the through-bolt and nuts?
This capstan as seen from overhead actually functions the same as a windlass but the shaft is vertical vs horizontal as seen in the windlass. Notice the clutch tool receptacle in the center of the top of the capstan.
A view from below deck shows the new YELLOW ground wires instead of black which is no longer the ABYC recommended color.
Both halves of the cone clutch.
Chain gypsy with head removed.
Because of the broken screws the 2 halves are no longer held together.
3 screws have been sheared off to connect the top and the bottom of the gypsy. This will cause it to slip and the chain won't be able to be recovered under load. The number 001 on the right side denotes the chain type.
Major parts of the capstan. Awaiting delivery of the 3 new screws.
See the spring loaded lever on the left side of this photo keeps the chain pressed into the gypsy.
The motor is leaking gear oil onto the chain in the locker below deck. Just another tell-tale of needing maintenance.
 

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