P 31-2 Windlass installation (my version)

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Jun 22, 2022, 10:37:39 PM6/22/22
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I’m starting a new post pertaining to all the Windlass install that was discussed in my other posting found here:   ventilation slots in V-Berth (google.com)

This way it will be easier for future interested 31-2 owners to find should they wish to install a windlass. 

To sum up from the previous post, the windlass was installed and hatch door put back on and it was time to do the wiring.

I used 4awg welding wire.  I had estimated 40/45’ and bought 50’B and 50’R, but was way off ☹ it only took about 30’ for each line, with my Red needing a foot or so more to reach the breaker, and another couple of feet back to my positive bus.  Running the wire wasn’t too bad (using flexible welding wire helped greatly).  I started in the middle and I had to only drill out 4 holes for each wire from the water tank/small storage.  2 holes thru the wet locker in and 2 out to the bottom drawer. There was already a spacing in the bottom drawer at the front upper bow side to reach up to the next drawer and then 2 holes there to run to the holding tank wall and the last 2 holes. Once at the bow bilge, there was already a nice sized hole cut from the floor into the bilge at both ends, so easy peasy 😊 Connected to contractor and done up there. Now for what I thought would be the easier part (no V-berth to tear apart), I managed to get the 2 wires through the existing holes for the water tanks to under the sink, but what a bitch of a job when you’re by yourself, and there’s an extra 20’ on each line ☹  From there I took the wires back to the hull and through the storage area under the oven and through the next storage area  and out to the cockpit locker behind the water heater (there was enough room in all the existing holes). Then a 90 degree turn around the water heater and down through the big spacing use for LOTS of my other wires and through into the battery compartment under the aft cabin bed. I managed to find one existing hole in for the red, but had to drill another one out for the black. Hooked up to the breaker, red bus and black bus, and all set.  I had purchased “cheap” remotes found on the net for operating the windlass, but in the end no luck and had to install the guarded switch that came with my unit in the anchor locker area instead. I really don’t want to install foot pads and wanted the remote system, so I may have to break down and pay Lewmar the big bucks for their remote system ☹ I preloaded the rode and chain by hand and set it all up as shown in picture.

My first anchoring was a bit of a learning curve, both learning how to use a windlass 😉, and the operation itself.  I decided to let the windlass let out my 70’ and it was a bit slow.  The chain kept getting caught in the windlass due to kinks in the chain from the hand loading, and the same with the rode, but not nearly as bad.  We discussed in the previous post about milking it all by hand, and that’s necessary for sure, but the issue with a vertical windlass is the opening is on the other side of the windlass motor, so it’s not quite handy as it would be with a horizontal windlass.  But then a horizontal windlass had NO chance of dropping the chain and rode into the bow bilge.  But if that’s not going to happen now, milking it all is your choice, then a horizontal windlass may be the way to go. I’m sure my SS plate could be easily adapted for a different windlass cut-out. I went with the v700 due to its smaller size and being nicely streamlined. Pulling the anchor up this morning went better, but still need more practice at the milking, plus being on my own makes it somewhat harder with no one to control the boat at the same time. I know once the admiral gets here things will simplify.  My 2nd drop today I decided to try the freefall (after learning how) and it went a big better, but still some issues with kinks in the chain.  But my milking got better and so did the dropping.  I’m sure though I need to find a way to at least drop my 80’ of working chain and rode into the bow bilge, but that will be a project for next spring making up a piece that I can mount and seal in that small area around the pump out hose and anchor locker drain.  Except for the pump out line, I can rearrange the other hoses and wires to clear the area to make more room and no obstructions.  When or if I get the windlass to run smoothly without milking, then I might consider moving the switch back to the cockpit, but that’s another project for another spring 😊

Another thought though came to me last night as the mosquitoes were trying to get to me…if there’s a hole into the cabin, they’ll find it (I’ve plugged most of them).  Once a hole is cut through the locker into the bow bilge, they’ll have a way in through the hole now that there’s no seal between the anchor hatch and SS plate, so whatever I do come up with to install/build in there, it will have to be sealed tight!!!! (Which make my 1st point about v-berth slats a moot point now doesn’t it?).  I guess there might be a way also to seal that gap created by cutting the hatch and the SS plate. 

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Jun 25, 2022, 8:53:47 AM6/25/22
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Update:  the milking is getting much better, on my end:)  With the troubles in the beginning though some snags developed in the rope, and they created an issue every time going through the windlass, so I melted them down and now no issues.  I've ordered foot pads as well as that will free my hands up so I can use both to milk. I didn't want to drill holes yet in the bottom of the locker, so I ordered a cheaper set that only have 2 wires out the bottom and hoping to feed them out the side wall of the locker instead of through the floor. 

Per install, I should mention that with the slight rise in the middle of the deck that the plate wouldn't lie flat, leaving about a 1/4" or more gap on each side at the bow end of the plate, so I sanded about an 7" wide area from where the front of the plate would lie right back to the locker's edge.  I sanded pretty well to the wood and got a nice flat surface.  Epoxied the holes and sanded area and applied using 4200 and the gap was reduced to where ithe plate lies almost right flat with just a bit of a gap left, but not much. 

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Jun 30, 2022, 2:23:34 PM6/30/22
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well things are going very well now deploying and retreiving the the anchor.  Once the rode and chain when through a couple of times, it settled in very nice.  Today I tried another forward moving free drop (much easier when you're alone) and decided to let it do it all with no help/milking, but the chain did kink up once about 1/2 way. I find that with all deploys, once I let the chain run through my gloves 1st, NO ISSUES!!! And when retreiving, the only issue is when I haven't let the boat move forward enough on it's own before the windlass gets too tight.  At this point the only reason I think I would want to cut through to the bow bilge is so that I could operate the whole thing from the cockpit.  That aside, I've always been on the bow before and now at least the windlass does all the heavy work and I just guide and feed somewhat, which I already did when hauling it up by hand!  I will state though again, if you plan to reproduce this model, a horizontal windlass may work better with the milking process and using the existisng anchor locker as is.  I'm sure my SS plate lazer cutout could be adapted very easily to a different windlass, and perhaps not even require a door cutting.  I just never wanted to install a bulky horizontal in the 1st place, and was also trying to accomplish using the bow bilge. 

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Jul 17, 2022, 9:41:47 PM7/17/22
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well it's been 17 days now and the windlass is working flawlessy with the milking method.  I installed the 2 foot pedals and that made a huge difference freeing up my 2nd hand to washdown the chain and for extra milking/etc. when needed. If i'd known it was going to be this easy to install a working windlass on my 31-2,  I'd have done it years ago :)  I think though that for me I'm going to add a bit more chain as my V700 works much better with the chain than the 8 plait rode!

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Aug 25, 2022, 10:28:58 PM8/25/22
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UPDATE:  so after a season of using the newly installed windlass, I'd say it was a success!!!  So much so, I'm not even going to worry about cutting through the present anchor locker to run the rode below.  Pulling the anchor in with my V700 has been working at about a 98% success rate.  There are still times the rope gets stuck if I don't pull hard enough from underneath, but one the chain gets into the windlass, it goes flawlessly and all I have to do is milk the chain back, which btw works better in smaller lengths pulling back then long ones when it comes time to let the anchor out.  That said, and as I think I've mentioned before, I LOVE to forward anchor, and letting the rode free drop with the 50' of chain and then 20' or more of rope which is then quickly tied off on the deck cleat, creating the pull for my Manson Supreme to DIG right in, boat turns and all set, no backing up necessary:)  As this all happens, I make sure to milk the chain from underneath the deck/windlass, and once the rope starts, it takes care of itself, allowing me to accomplish the tying off on the cleat.  And the forward anchoring is the main reason I'm staying the with the way it is.  If I, or you, wanted to work the windlass from the cockpit and created more depth below the present anchor locker to do so, I really believe it would work great as long as you used all chain, but with the rope and my V700, I don't see that it would always working flawlessly, and without rope, no more forward anchoring. Now of course you could find a way to install a heavier windlass I guess, but I thought the V700 was just the right one for me, and it is!

Bottom line!  you CAN put a working windlass on a P31-2 and it works GREAT to take away all the muscle work of doing the anchoring yourself, if that's what you're after :)
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