What goes down should come up

A little different than the saying ‘what goes up must come down’ but on our sailboat I’m talking about our newest small project. 

Our windlass wasn’t working properly and it needed some attention. A windlass is a type of winch used especially on ships to hoist anchors and haul on mooring lines. 


While you don’t have to have a windlass, you can hoist anchor by hand and the strength of your back but it should be really nice to have it working and use it instead of my lower back. 

Our windlass has two buttons on deck at the bow. One to deploy anchor, or send it down, and the other to retract, or bring it up. The down works fine but the up button doesn’t work at all. I went into investigation mode and started taking the buttons apart. Inside everything appeared fine and it was getting power. Touching the contacts together proved that by a slight tingle through my body. I should have used a bolt meter but that’s over and done with. 

The next step was to figure out what else it could be. Buying a used boat with a windless already installed turned into a game of hide and seek to find where everything was ran and installed. After opening hatches and lockers, removing all contents and putting everything back, I traced the power feed up into the v-berth (our now storage locker). I had to remove everything from there and figure out how to disassemble most of the v-berth to get behind some panels where I believed the feed wires to be going. 

I found the wires right where I thought and also found a solenoid that controlled the foot switches to the windlass. It looked almost identical to this photo I found. 


There was some corrosion and after troubleshooting the solenoid, I found it to be defective. $116 later and I had a bright shiny new one installed. 


Our windlass now functions properly and will be ready to test after a few other projects once we take At Ease out for a sail. 

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