Smoking Windlass - Sail Magazine

Smoking Windlass

Bob Foster of Sarasota, Florida, asks:"Last week, while my wife and I were cruising, our windlass motor suddenly stopped when I began to pull up the anchor. At almost the same moment, my wife shouted that she saw smoke coming from underneath the nav station. When we got home our local marine electronics technician told me that some of my electronic gear had been damaged as
Author:
Publish date:
SWindlassPhoto1

Bob Foster of Sarasota, Florida, asks:

"Last week, while my wife and I were cruising, our windlass motor suddenly stopped when I began to pull up the anchor. At almost the same moment, my wife shouted that she saw smoke coming from underneath the nav station. When we got home our local marine electronics technician told me that some of my electronic gear had been damaged as well. What happened, and how can I avoid a repeat performance?"

Gordon West replies:

It sounds as though you have a poor negative battery lead connection on the windlass circuit. When the windlass was working hard to break the hook free (which is not a good way to use the windlass, but that’s another story) resistance in the negative lead caused current to be pulled through the boat’s ground system, which is joined to the battery’s negative side.

Whenever you pull current through a ground system, there’s a chance it will travel up the negative lead of any electronics equipment sharing a common ground connection. Some marine electronics have fuses that prevents a damaging current from burning up the smaller black ground wire for this very reason. I would guess that your windlass’s black wire is badly corroded. I suspect you also probably saw some melted black wires in your electronics package. If you replace these wires properly (I suggest having a professional do the rewiring), your electronics should work correctly again. Your electrician should also look at the existing wiring for the windlass. Presumably he can rewire the unit so all the current needed to power the motor flows along the red and black wires, and not through the common ground connection.

Related

SouthernOcean

The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Globe

Here we go! The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe, the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world race, is upon us. On July 1 one tribute event, the Golden Globe Race 2018, will start out of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with a fleet of 19 amateur skippers setting out in ...read more

180621-X01-Landing-Page

Volvo Ocean Race Cliffhanger

After racing over 44,000 miles round the world and battling their way past the world’s great capes, including the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, it’s all come down to the final 700-mile leg from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Hague. Brunel, Mapfre, Dongfeng: going into the ...read more

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozens of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more