Date: 16 March 2015. Windlass Debris becomes
A few years
back I bought one of the greatest inventions for boaters ever: a
Lewmar-V700 windlass. It changed for the better my anchoring
practices and I'm glad to own it. This is the smallest unit sold by
the company. For Seaweed she's just about perfect, except for the
debris that came with it.
[The windlass selection process is
described in the
Silent Lessons article.]
is actually the cheesy backing plate sent with my V700. It's not
that it was so awful -- it wasn't. I'd paid a lot of money for the
windlass and simply wanted something larger and more substantial
to bolt through than what was sent.
For a time I looked at and
thought about the
doggone backing plate. It needed to be useful and I couldn't
think of a way to do that. Finally I offered it online (for
free) and still, no takers.
A friend, Sparrow, suggested I throw it away but I knew it
could do something useful. Besides, it wasn't very big. He's
rolling in his chain locker right about now! (grin)
Eventually I added some little rubber feet to it and called it
right behind the lentil sprouts in this picture. →
If you're curious the
Growing Lentil Sprouts
article is worth a look-see.
However, after a while I
decided that was a bad idea so I pulled off the silicone feet and
looked at it. Ugh. The backing plate had potential, but I wasn't sure for what!
plate became a part of that mess I dealt with on Pi Day. It's the
black gizmo with an old oil gauge and a block of wood in it, next to
the nearly empty (why did I keep it there?!) antibiotic ointment tube.
The medicine now back in the medicine locker where it belongs.
including that backing plate had to go from that counter horde of
clutter. That's when I had a Good Idea. I've been getting on and off
the boat over the transom (not easy without a tuna door) and needed
another hand hold. Having a secure place to grab is important from a
safety standpoint too.
often a moment's inattention during boarding or disembarking the
boat and an accident can occur. The vessel moves and balance is
want to fall and get hurt. Whenever I find myself reaching to some
particular place for a hand hold, I make sure I add one right there.
I thought about the windlass backing plate. The edges are rounded
and the possibility to use it intrigued me. It felt good in my hand
-- not too big and not too small. [You may call me Goldilocks.]
I gave it a
look see and liked what I saw. It won't be in the way, and I believe
the spot chosen will be useful. First I kind of wedged it in, and
thought about placement and safety. Would the wood hold up to the
stresses of a person off-balance?
Next came the drill issue. Mine had finally given up the
ghost. No amount of charging would make it go, so I did. I
made it go into the trash. It's off the boat and is one less
meantime, without a drill or Dremel I needed to figure out a way to
attach the backing plate to the frame of my doorway. That's when I
pulled out my *pokey stick, the head of a hammer and an old work
Stick is actually a piece of a used welding rod, sharpened to a
point. It's a homemade awl and very useful.
walking through a workshop always look for the ends of welding rods.
If it is not magnetic it has pokey stick potential. The scraps tend
to be the right length (two inches, give or take) and generally
there are a dozen on the floor. A grinder will sharpen them up and
voila: pokey sticks.
Just shy of
the length of the screw is the depth I want to drive that pokey
stick into my wood door frame. I marked the depth to hammer it in
with tape. Normally I'd use blue tape but I'm out right now.
stick is thinner than the thread diameter of the screws. Thus, the
screws will tighten well by hand, provided I have
enough depth. The wood is hard and since I didn't have a drill nor a Dremel
rotary tool I made do with what was aboard.
being a successful cruiser is not necessarily having everything on
the boat for whatever contingency occurs. Of course that would be
ideal. Boating means making what is aboard serve a purpose. Albeit
said usage may well be far different from that which was initially
intended by the manufacturer.
own judgment and always keep safety in mind.
head is heavy (16 penny) which means it weighs one pound. Because I
was working so close to the edge of the cabin I thought it best to
not use a regular hammer. There's more control for me with a hand
held unit. I wrapped it in a disposable work rag so my nails wouldn't get
By using the Lewmar V700 backing
plate, I had predrilled holes and appropriately spaced too. You
know, sometimes an idea just comes together nicely. This is another
one of those times when good fortune was hanging out aboard my
miniature trawler. I am blessed.
Life afloat is wonderful. I was
smiling as I began my preparations for installation. Finally my
backing plate would have a function. It will make my Seaweed better
Now I have a handle to reach for when coming over the transom. It's
at the top and tucked back a bit so it should not become a head
bumping hazard for taller folks. The size of the handle is
sufficient that even someone with large knuckles should be able to
project done, though not to perfection. I forgot to *isolate the
aluminum backing plate from the stainless screws. I should have
added a gasket between the washer and the new handle. That's got to
be done shortly. In the meantime I'm satisfied with the result. The
windlass backing plate now has a useful purpose.
When stainless and aluminum come in contact corrosion occurs. Two
dissimilar metals should have some sort of separation.
good afloat. And aboard Seaweed, it's a bit safer simply by using
what was at hand.
As a soloist, I am concerned about falling. Are you?
Is there anything you do to ameliorate accidents?
Spring on Pi Day (copper advice) ~
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