Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new windlass. The chain we bought didn't fit the gypsy on the old windlass right, so it was slipping. When you pulled back, it pulled back. But when you went forward, it also went forward. Which means no progress. As the Captain went to remove it so he could inspect the gears, the bottom gasket ruptured, pouring hydraulic fluid out into the anchor locker and all over the deck and the dock.
The moral of the story is old and sturdy is still old.
I just asked the Captain what was so great about the new windlass he picked, a Lofran's windlass, and his words: "It looked sexy as hell."
hasA little more probing and he was able to itemize other features.
He has a thing for manual things over electric because he claims they are more reliable but really because he sits in the cockpit while others haul the anchor. The Lofran's Royal is made from marine aluminum and is so much lighter than the old SeaTiger was. It's also filled up with oil and sealed, meaning no maintenance. Most importantly, though, it had a low enough profile to fit in the damn anchor locker.
Install was pretty easy. We had to drill a few new holes and patch the old ones. I cozied up with some anchor chain and held nuts from below while Mack turned bolts, and after learning how to shout at each other through tiny holes, we found a rhythm. Now we have a new windlass in place, the chain isn't slipping anymore, and the extension lever makes it pretty easy to haul.
Hopefully this ends the windlass saga because it feels a little like torture at this point.
Two people dumb enough to think anything is possible and smart enough to bumble their way into discoveries.