Frustrating experience

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Peter B

Site Team
Jun 25, 2008
Vessel Name
Now boatless - sold 6/2018
Vessel Make
Had a Clipper (CHB) 34
How's this for an annoying experience?* Invited a work colleague and her husband out on the Bay on a lovely Winter's day last Sunday, the first outing for about 3 months, so I had checked everything was all in order, or so I thought, and the last thing I did was pump some fresh grease throught the anchor winch nipples, which I do at regular but not frequent intervals.* So what happens, but Murphys law, again working overtime as it tends to do with boats, when we went to anchor in a lovely spot for lunch, the winch would not work.* I checked connections, helm end and at the solenoid box in the for'd cabin, nothing worked, even tho the solenoids were reacting to the helm switch.* I worked on the winch with the winch clutch wrench to try and free it.* Still nothing.* In the end gave up, apologised for the somewhat noisier meal time than planned, and we prepared and ate while slowly circumnavigating Karragarra and half of Russell Island, cutting across under McLeay, then down Canaipa passage and across Fisherman's passage to the main channel then home.* They enjoyed it, and it was ok, but the thing that really teed me off is that once in and all tied up, I had one more flick of the switch, and the winch roared to life again....I dunno....what was that all about...?
The 1st ans is Its a Boat!! Not helpful I know. The 2nd possibility that I have been caught out with is that the circuit breaker switch for my anchor winch is at the lower helm and if I am on the flybridge I sometimes forget to switch it on!

I am sure with your experience that wouldnt be the case but I thought I would ask.

The zerk fittings on my windlass just grease the shaft above the motor where it comes through the deck plate. *If the windlass won't freewheel when the clutch is released, it needs to be torn down and freed up, and the cones regreased and reassembled. *It takes mine about 2 years before freeze ups, especially if you don't exercise the cones by letting the anchor free fall occasionally.

The refusal to turn when the juice is applied is a separate problem. *If you can hear the solenoid kicking in when switched, then either the contacts in the solenoid are rubbished and making sometimes and not others, or there is a connection problem from the battery to the solenoid to the winding. *Did you try shorting across the studs on the solenoid with a large screwdriver to see if that started the motor? *That's how I have tested solenoid function in the past, and it is ever so much fun, what with the sparks and all.*

Weak battery until the battery charged up a bit from the engine run? Enough juice to activate the solenoid, but not power the motor? I doubt it's related to the grease, unless some grease got on a loose connection and insulated it. Have you checked all connections for tightness? Just guessing here...
Rebel wrote:
The 1st ans is Its a Boat!! Not helpful I know. The 2nd possibility that I have been caught out with is that the circuit breaker switch for my anchor winch is at the lower helm and if I am on the flybridge I sometimes forget to switch it on!
* * * * * I have two breakers that must be on. One is in the breaker panel and the other is

********* below and to the right of the helm. I have often forgotten to turn the helm breaker

\******** on. You can just barely see it below the mic and by a spoke in the helm.


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Thanks for the helpful suggestions/queries guys. Actually, my boat being so simple, does not have a circuit breaker anywhere in the anchor set-up that I can find, other than an inline fuse, so not having that switched on was clearly not it. The connections all seemed fine, right from batts to solenoids, and from the twin solenoids, and also at the helm switch itself, upstairs and down. My winch is horizontal Delfin, so a different set-up to yours I think, although your comment about it being beneficial to allow it to drop the anchor on free-fall sometimes to free up the clutch cones had not occurred to me. Would that apply to a horizontal arrangement like mine..? (See pic re winch type).
At the end of the day...literally...when the damn thing just went like it always has, without a seconds hesitation, just like it had each and every time for 10 yrs I've had her, I put it down in the end to a poor connection somewhere, possibly from some surface corrosion I cannot see, and because she had sat 3 months without the winch being used, or maybe I had pushed a lump of dry hard grease into some nook or cranny which jammed it internally at that last greasing I gave it. I assume finally the vibration from the day's outing, warm airflow through the parts, and heating in the sun, all came together to allow connection/dislodge the grease jam - whatever. She was humming like it always has at the end. Thoughts appreciated however. I certainly was not looking forward to trying to dismantle the thing to get to the 'guts' of the matter if it stayed 'dead.'


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I don't think it was that David, because it always whirrs beautifully - there was never, and still is not, any suggestion of intermittent fault. It just refused to work at all - then went back to working perfectly, without my touching anything. Oh, and insuff batt power was not it. It comes off the starter motor, the one thing I allow to do that, because I have it on a special starter batt charger (the one which goes with the CTek M300), and one only ever runs the anchor winch with engine running/charging anyway. That batt started the engine before we went out without hesitation and was showing green on the charger before disconnection from shore power. I will experiment further this coming weekend, and post anything I find that might explain it for others interested. Any suggestions as to what might make a better chain counter magnet? See post re Sydney boat show by Rebel.
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