As the cruising season begins its important to have all systems aboard fully operational and well maintained. This includes, very important but sometimes neglected, the anchor windlass.
The windlass is composed of several components, such as a high electrical current and output motor and gear, several electrical connections and long DC cables, and the deck unit which is exposed to saltwater throughout its service. Here we shall break down the key points of the system's annual maintenance service.
Inspecting Cleaning and Lubricating your Windlass
When it comes to inspecting your windlass, start by disassembling the chain wheel and clutch cone system and lubricating all moving parts and fasteners with lithium grease.
The deck unit should be inspected. The general condition of the motor and gear should be checked and photographed, to keep a record of the external condition deterioration over the years.
Watch for any electrolysis, clean, and paint such points.
Inspect the heavy DC cables running into the unit for signs of breaking or overheating. Check underneath the deck to see if it is free of cracks or any other signs of material fatigue.
The windlass gypsy is particularly stressed, so it should be checked for wear during annual maintenance.
Clean & Lubricate your Windlass
To begin, thoroughly clean all salt deposits with fresh water and allow them to dry.
Servicing the clutch annually is recommended by Quick,
The following is a breakdown of the process for units with and without drums:
DRUM VERSION Use the handle to lift the bush and pull the drum and top clutch cone. Remove the rope/chain stripper by loosening the screws, then remove the gypsy.
NO-DRUM VERSION: Remove gypsy cover bush and screws, remove the top clutch cone, loosen screws on rope/chain stripper, and pull off the gypsy.
Once the clutch cone is off you may clean all the parts removed to avoid corrosion. Grease the shaft thread and the gypsy where the clutch cones rest and make sure you use grease suitable for the marine environment.
Electrical Connections for a Quick Anchor Windlass
It is also necessary to service the electrical components and connections.
As the anchor windlass motor is a high output unit, a large current passes, at times, a long-distance and through various connectors and relays, and this can result in voltage drops that may damage the unit and cause it to malfunction. So, to ensure a trouble-free cruising season, a thorough inspection of all the various components is recommended, as well as cleaning and taking protective measures.
Battery terminals and DC cables should be inspected for any corrosion, and if any exists, then the cable should be pre-crimped or replaced entirely, depending on how extensive the corrosion is.
In addition, several components connections should be inspected, such as the BlueSea systems breaker which is in the aft cabin, and the Quick windlass Solenoid unit, normally located in the front cabin or fore compartment, both have studs and nuts as connectors so the wires, as well as the studs, should be cleaned and greased.
Lastly, the windlass control units, such as the HRC remote control or deck buttons, control the operation of the windlass and are subject to corrosion due to its exposure to the marine environment, and any wiring connectors should be cleaned and greased. As to the handheld remote, clean the plug using an electrical cleaner spray and visually inspect the pins, if any pins show corrosion you might have to replace the unit.
Once the service is completed, load the chain into the gypsy, reconnect the power supply, and test.
Make sure the electrical and manual operation of the windlass are functional.
Enjoy the season!