Manual windlass with frozen clutch - SailNet Community

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Old 01-09-2008
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Manual windlass with frozen clutch

I've got a manual windlass, bronze, (pretty typical, though it is not marked with a maker's log that I can find) and the clutch is frozen. I assume that the slotted rim on the starboard side, in which the windlass handle fits, is for tightening and loosening the clutch. Before I put a giant pipe wrench on this and use brute force I would like to know whether counterclockwise tightens (away from the bow) which would make sense... or is it clockwise to tighten (handle toward the bow).

Can anyone out there shed some light on this issue? I can email a photo of the windlass to anyone who might have a clue and want a better idea of the configuration of the windlass. (Pretty standard - rope gypsy to port, chain to starboard.)
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Old 01-09-2008
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Clockwise tightens, counterclockwise loosens, that's the way it works on ours.
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Counterclockwise with ours also. I would soak it with liquid wrnech for a few days also. I am sure some on here will have an even better fluid to soak it with.

Dave
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Welcome to sailnet.

As Sander has pointed out, the clutches generally loosen like regular screws.

Instead of using brute force, try using a penetrating oil like PB Blaster or even WD40.
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PB Blaster IS a penetrating oil. WD40 is NOT. Soak it in PB for several hours; tap lightly with a hammer around the edges of the clutch drum several times during the soak. The point is to give it many light taps to use the vibration to assit in oil penetration, not to beat on it! Bronze will marr so be careful! The clutch should normally release counter-clockwise, like a regular screw.
After soaking, put the handle in the hole, apply firm but not brutish pressure while rapping on the hub with your hammer. If that fails, send it to me and I'll take it off your hands!
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If you don't have PB BLaster, WD40 is something you might have that would work... not as well, since it isn't technically designed to penetrate like PB Blaster is... but it's better than just whaling on the poor thing.
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Thanks to everyone that answered. I'll penetrate, tap, and see what happens.
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