Anchor And Windlass Upgrades
Anchoring DREAM AWAY is an area in which the term Overkill Kenworthy really comes into play. Anchors, and the attached rode, are your real insurance policy when out cruising. Because of that philosophy, I did not spare expense on anchors, rode, or the windlass. You can check out the actual anchors and hardware on my About DREAM AWAY page, in the Ground Tackle section.
WINDLASS REPAIRS AND UPGRADES: I found that I had oil or grease leaking out of my Lighthouse anchor windlass. To get the windlass repaired, I had to remove the unit from DREAM AWAY, and send it to the factory in California. Removing the windlass was no easy task, but it had to be done. Since I had to remove the windlass, naturally I incorporated a few other projects along with this task.
I decided to raise the
off of the deck. The Lighthouse 1501
is a very hearty windlass, but I had mine sitting on the
deck where every wave that came aboard flooded it, which
cannot be good on an ongoing basis. So, I wanted to raise
the windlass up off the deck. I used two leftover pieces of
the 3/4" fiberglass
plate from the aft cap rail project. These allowed me
to raise the base of the windlass about 1 1/2" off of the
I also decided to re-mark the anchor chain by spraying orange paint on the links at every 25' interval. I did this on both my anchor chains before I went cruising in 2004, and refreshed the paint on the chains before leaving again in 2009. I also wanted to clean out the anchor locker, and paint it.
The first thing I did was remove both the 3/8" and the 5/16" chains from the anchor locker and pile them on the deck, out of the way. Then I disconnected the wires from the windlass; unbolted the windlass from the deck; and, took the windlass over to my shop where I found that the oil leak was coming from the entry point of the shaft to the housing. Having identified the leak source, I prepared to send the unit off for repair. I made the windlass as light as possible for shipment by removing both chain gypsy's and both rope wildcats. I also removed the motor. Then I built a pallet on which to ship the windlass. When the pallet was finished, I sent the windlass off to the factory.
Next I cut the two pieces of fiberglass plate, and fiber-glassed them down to the deck. When I searched for the two plates, I was only able to get one piece of fiberglass the right length and width, but it was not thick enough. I had to construct the second layer of fiberglass from several pieces. This was not a problem, as the plates would support a compression load, and the pieces would be between the deck and the single top piece. I taped up the windlass holes under the deck, then mixed up polyester resin. I put three layers of fiberglass mat down on the deck where the windlass was to be placed. I then put down the plate that was made up of several pieces of the fiberglass plate, and added three more layers of fiberglass mat, well soaked with the polyester resin, then added the last single piece of fiberglass plate. The two plates were firmly glassed to the deck.
I cleaned up the area, and applied several layers of finishing putty to make nice smooth corners, and also to make the new windlass pad look like part of the original boat. When the putty application was done, and the final sanding completed, the area was ready for the application of gelcoat.
I wanted to do some other fiberglass work in the area of the new windlass pad before I applied the gelcoat. I glassed a fiberglass pad down just forward of the small bollard at the bow, using three layers of fiberglass mat, well soaked with the polyester resin. I then installed a pad eye to this pad on which I could attach the pendant for the staysail. Before installing the pad eye, the pendant attachment point was a real jury rig. The new pad eye on the fiberglass pad was a great improvement for managing the staysail. When the pad eye installation was completed, I applied three coats of polyester gelcoat to the anchor pad, and the pad eye pad area.
The last piece of work I wanted to do was not done at this time. I wanted to fill in a hole that would be left when a foot switch for the old ABI electric windlass was removed. At this time the foot switch was still in the deck. I completed the foot switch removal, and filling in the hole, while we were in Guatemala. I removed the foot switch, then taped up the hole from below deck. I ground down the deck around the hole in such a way that the mat used to fill the hole was a larger and larger size as it got closer to the deck. When the hole was completely filled with the fiberglass mat, and well soaked with the polyester resin, I let it kick off to harden. When that was set, I ground out the rough places, and finished it off with polyester finishing putty.
The next phase of the project was the most fun for me!! I had to clean and paint the chain locker. The bad news is that the chain locker stays wet most of the time, and mold really has a great time in there. For me, even getting my body into the chain locker was a chore. I had to move the cushions out of the forward cabin. Fortunately, all of the chain had already been removed, and now the windlass motor was not in the way. I got a bucket of soapy bleach water, and a bucket of clean water, and put them right outside the chain locker door. Then I climbed into the chain locker, wiped it down with the soapy bleach water, and then rinsed until it was very clean. All this time, I was breathing bleach fumes, which was for an hour or more, so I stumbled out of the chain locker and made my way to the cockpit for a fresh air break. When the locker dried, which took a day or two, I got the paint prepared, climbed back into the locker, and painted it. (Paint fumes are great, too.)
When the paint dried, I pulled out the plywood " floor boards" in the bottom of the chain locker, and replaced them with 1/2" acrylic plastic pieces that would not rust or rot. The bad news I found out when I pulled out the original wooden "floor boards" was that there was no backing plate on the bobstay fitting. Way back during the first DREAM AWAY haulout in 1993, I had replaced the bobstay fitting with a new one. I thought I had used the old fitting as the backing plate. I was wrong!
To remedy this problem, I had to loosen the bobstay, disconnect the stay from the fitting, and add a backing plate. I cut a properly sized backing plate out of sheet PVC. Next, I mixed up a batch of polyester filler putty, and used a spatula to lay the polyester filler putty in the crevice at the bow. Then I laid a waxed piece of sheet PVC on top of the putty. When the putty set up and hardened, I drilled the necessary holes for the bolts. I got some help to put everything back together. When it was all done, I was pleased to know I now actually had a backing plate on the bobstay fitting.
The Lighthouse windlass finally returned from the factory. With all of the work on deck and in the chain locker completed, all I had to do was drill the required holes for the windlass in the new pad, and the windlass installation would be complete. It was not to be!! The windlass arrived from the factory with oil leaking out of one side. I took some pictures and sent them to the manager at the factory. He said to send the windlass back, and he would have a look at the unit. The factory paid for the shipping both ways. When the windlass got back to the factory for the second time, they discovered a seal had been improperly installed.
The Lighthouse windlass returned from the factory the second time. This time the windlass was in perfect condition, and ready to install. I extracted the windlass from the shipping crate, and got it up at the front of the boat. Since all of the holes in the deck were not filled in when I fiber-glassed the new pad down on the deck, I was able to use the old holes as templates to drill the new holes into the pad. The problem with this plan was that the holes drilled in the fiberglass had to be drilled from below deck. I collected the drill, drill bits, and hole saws, and placed them up near the chain locker. I also put the Stinger wet/dry Vac and an extension cord near the chain locker also. I arranged to have Kitty standing by to operate the Stinger wet/dry Vac, then I suited up into a my Tyvek suit. I climbed into the chain locker, got set up, and drilled and cut all of the holes, while Kitty kept most of the dust under control with the Stinger wet/dry Vac.
Climbing out of the chain locker, and getting it all cleaned up took almost as much time as the actual drilling. I did a dry fit of the windlass on the new pad. That went well, so I bolted in the repaired windlass, using the Lighthouse backing plate and the sheet PVC backing plate I had made for the windlass. When that was all tightened up, I attached the DC electric motor to the windlass, and then the cables to the motor. All that was left was to run the chain back into the chain locker. I took the bitter end of each chain, and dropped it down through the windlass into the chain locker. There is a piece of 1/2" line tied to the end of each chain, then the line is tied off to a strong point in the chain locker. Next, I ran the chain into the locker, using the windlass, so the chains fell into neat stacks. I did the 3/8" chain first, then the 5/16" chain. When all the chain was back in the chain locker, the anchor windlass project was pretty much done.
ANCHOR MOUNT UPGRADES AND ANCHOR UPGRADES: The last project concerning anchors was to fabricate mounts to put the stern anchor and the Fisherman anchor back on the stern. Their location problem came up because of the changes I made in the aft cap rail. I was able to weld a mount on the plate that was on top of the fiberglass stanchion mounts on the stern. First, I removed the plate for the stern anchor, then the one for the Fisherman anchor. Getting the life rail off of the stanchions was quite an exercise. Then I had to get the connector for the life line off of the stanchions. I welded the pieces I had fabricated to the plates, and put them back on the fiberglass stanchion mounts. I have a fair number of pictures of the stern anchor mount, but none of the Fisherman anchor mount.
I want to relate a story here about how DREAM AWAY and I ended up with a 100-pound Admiralty Pattern or fisherman style anchor. Most of you are aware of my nickname, "Overkill Kenworthy", and how I go about things, so this story won't really surprise you.
I decided that I needed a storm anchor ... for just that purpose ... in case of a bad storm. And I wanted a Admiralty Pattern (fisherman style) anchor. I looked around for a suitable anchor for a long time, and of course, I wanted the anchor at a really good price. One of the advantages of this type of anchor is that they usually come apart for storage. Typically, the stock disconnects from the shank, or else the flukes disconnect from the shank, or both.
At the time, my good friend Dale was into auctions, especially government and military surplus auctions. He came across two separate auctions at the Mayport Naval Air Station. Each auction was for four 100-pound Admiralty Pattern anchor. I decided to bid on both auctions, hoping to ensure that I could win at least one of the auctions. Well, you guessed it, I won both auctions. I ended up paying about $70.00 an anchor. Oh, did I mention that I lived in Texas at the time and that Mayport Naval Air Station is near Jacksonville, Florida? And, in case you haven’t done the math, this amounted to 800 pounds of anchors to move.
The good news was, I had a plan! Dale lived in St. Augustine, Florida, at the time so he was able to pick up the anchors at Mayport Naval Air Station for me. He also paid for them, and brought them home to his home and stored them in his garage. What a guy! Kitty and I had a trip planned to visit some friends in Miami, and family in Tampa, so we made the trip in our trusty Suburban.. So we also drove to St. Augustine, to visit Dale and his wife Karen, and to pick up the anchors. Then on we went to Miami, a with a side trip to the Bahamas, then to Tampa. After the family visit, we drove back to Texas. During the whole trip, we had eight 100-pound anchors in the back of the Suburban.
I now had the ONE anchor I wanted and seven additional Admiralty Pattern anchors. I took the total cost of all the anchors, plus the expenses of the trip, and divided that number by seven to determine the cost at which I would sell the additional seven anchors. And, I was able to sell all seven anchors, at that cost, so I broke even!
On my specific anchor, the stock disconnected from the shank, so storage would be much easier. To make sure the anchor really lasted, I had the anchor re-galvanized. It is now affixed on DREAM AWAY on the port side aft, outboard of the life rail, ready for deployment.
The latest change to my anchors on DREAM AWAY is a new primary anchor. As you may remember from our anchor drag experience in French Cay Harbor, Bay Islands, Honduras, I had lost faith in my Barnacle anchor. My solution to the problem was to replace the Barnacle anchor with a better anchor. After a lot of research, I decided on the 66-pound Spade S140 anchor. I will not go into a lot of detail, but I got the anchor at a very good price. The new Spade anchor rests on the custom bow rail next to the CQR plow anchor. On my next sailing trip, the Spade anchor will be tested.