Tuesday, February 19, 2013


St. Augustine

Today dawned all grim. We discussed our options, and none of them were happy options. They went something like this:
  1. Put the whole thing back in place and pray.
  2. Get a gear puller and potentially break the clutch. (See #3)
  3. Get a new windlass, which would involve untold acrobatics. A new one would take a week or more to have delivered, then installed.
So, as we often do when we have a difficult decision to make, we threw the question into the universe and asked for an answer.

Chip called the manufacturer and got several good tips, including this one: Never try to remove the casing and motor from belowdecks. You'll never get those allen bolts out.

So much for relying on the internets for step-by-step instructions. #FAIL

Then the same guy said we were on the right track with getting that #*$&@ing bronze clutch cone off. There is nothing holding it in place. We should use a gear press. As a bonus, he said they had a new model of our windlass with, ahem, some improvements (the worm box now snaps out without removing the entire unit DUH). It has the same profile and would easily fit  into the hole already in our deck. Backup plan!

Chip called the auto parts store nearby.* They had a gear press. The universe was putting out signposts.

Returning on his bike, Chip was buoyant. They had loaned him the gear press for free.

Okay, now things were seriously looking up. Could this be a rare and coveted 'yes' day?

Our friend John is visiting from D.C., here to ride south with us if we can get this show on the waterway. So, Chip and John headed to the bow with their new toy like two boys on Christmas morning.

They put the gear puller over the shaft and extended the legs.

A pall fell over the proceedings. Excited little boys turned sullen and puzzled.

They tried C clamps.

#*&$#@*& &#*$. 

The dockmaster had been rolling a cigarette, watching the proceedings as he rolled a cigarette

"Hold on," he said, and came back minutes later with extender arms for the gear press.

YES!!!! Bronze clutch cone removed. Applause, shouting. High fives.

Bolts unbolted. Casing and motor dropped. Electric motor detached. Parts flew off and were subsequently retrieved (amazing). 

Now, just pull the shaft to change the seal. 

Um, no. Shaft not going anywhere.

Bang, bang. Gear press? No. Not moving.

A dockmate told us of an eccentric machinist named Dale one mile away. Chip removed the motor (brown cylinder) loads up the casing/shaft on his bike and off he went.

One hour later, he returned with stories of Dale and with three parts, now duly separated. The stripped screw was bored out and rethreaded. Even the machinist had a difficult time getting it out. Stripping it, apparently, was not our fault. Dale said we'd never had gotten it out. The shaft? It took a stunning 6000++ pounds of pressure to remove it! It is now newly lathed. The whole shebang, $20.

At the end of day four, we have no windlass but a series of pieces. The hard part, hopefully, is behind us.

In this process today, they found several broken clips and a stray piece of line inside the unit. We have been very lucky this thing has served so admirably. Thank you, windlass.

The service kit ordered from the manufacturer.
No worries! replacements for the broken clips included.
Let the cleaning and reassembly begin! Can we please have another 'yes' day?

Two more two-mile provisioning runs today
with $12 pillow snagged in bonus round.
I love YES days!
*Advanced Auto Parts loans tools for merely leaving a deposit.
**Special thanks to John for serving as our staff photographer today.

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