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Discussion Starter #1
Hi friends,

Bought a prev loved Niagara 31 this spring. Have had a lovely time so far, and also a healthy dose of failing gear.

This week it's the windlass-a Lewmar Concept 1 sitting on a custom wood mount above the balsa core deck, feeding in 150' of rode/chain to a locker at the forepeak. Driven by a motor assembly directly below deck.

All was well until a morning when our hook wouldn't come up despite the Lewmar. Ended up having to move across the anchor to raise the flukes, then grind in reverse until the anchor broke free.

Unfortunately the previous owner didn't put in a cleat ahead of the windlass, so all that force went on the Lewmar’s drive shaft, and it broke. Specifically, the copper drive key that fits in the shaft sheared under the extreme pressure.

Ordered a new drive key and some fresh gaskets and washers, expecting the repair to be straightforward. Where would I get that expectation from?

It would appear that during the stressful anchor extraction (or perhaps taking the windlass apart to examine), the motor assembly below deck and the windlass unit above deck have become misaligned. Re-inserting the drive shaft requires a lot of hammer tapping to get it through the two assemblies. So far have not been able to bang the shaft and drive key all the way through both, coming up from the bottom. Will try from the top tomorrow.

I would love to get the unit reassembled without having to pull off the top or bottom assembly. Both are bolted, glued and sealed to the deck. Has anyone dealt with realigning this unit?

Thanks for your time,
Jedd
 

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We have a Lewmar Concept V3 Capitan/gypsy type windless that I have had apart for maintenance. It slides together without any hammer action. My guess is that you have some damage on the shaft that is interfering with the reassembly.
If you believe the friction is within the normal range and the key simply will not stay in place try some grease on the key to hold it while you wiggle things together. I have also seen where people use a pin punch on a key to dimple it in order to bet it to stay in place. I find that a bit extreme though...
Bruce
 

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The gypsy should easily slip back onto the shaft. If you have to beat it w/ a hammer more damage was done than just the key way. Beating on it has probably made the problem worse. The windlass shaft is not designed to take that kind of load. Never leave the load at anchor on the gypsy and never power over the anchor w/o using a cleat.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all your great ideas.

We got it reassembled and apparently working. We tapped in the shaft entering down from the top, and inserted the drive key up from the bottom, carefully aligning the two to interface as they met in the middle.

Everything holds nicely, the gyspy and feeder fit fine on top, and the motor cranks the shaft & gypsy. Haven't yet tried to haul up the anchor under typical conditions.

We did have to bang things together, and they are certainly holding tighter by friction than we'd like. I don't think the shaft was damaged—it rolled on a table with no visible warp or wobble. The gypsy always fit fine on the top of the shaft.

So it's fixed, but its life was likely shortened. I certainly agree that the load should never have been applied to the shaft directly. I can't imagine how the previous owner fared all these years. We will install a tension rig for the chain when deployed, below the bowline, and follow up with a fastening point ahead of the winch.
 

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All you need to do is use a bow cleat. No reason it needs to be between the windlass and bow roller.
Jim
 
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