Wednesday, April 13, 2016

St Augustine - Windlass jamming, battery died, still need to string wires

Lots of shops to occupy us in St Augustine
So as I was operating the windlass to haul anchor, it jammed and stopped. Looking closer it appears the chain hung up with one of the links jammed against the side of the hole where the chain drops through. We're in a marina now, the St Augustine Municipal Marina and I plan on looking at other Beneteaus there to see what appears different with the windlass vs my setup. We use the anchor a lot, it's gotta work;

St Augustine also has flowers 
A couple of days ago, "What's that smell? It smells like burning rubber." The only thing I could think of at the time was the fan belt slipping and creating enough heat to burn the rubber belt. So I pulled the fuse from the charger (we were underway) and the smell abated. I reasoned that the strain was off the belt since the alternator wasn't providing any resistance and therefore no belt strain and therefore no slippage to produce the burning rubber smell. Sounds like a good analysis but it's all wrong! I was pulling wires yesterday and had to remove all the boards in the aft cabin, including the one over the aft battery. Lo and behold, the battery was cooked! The burning smell I noticed was not from the belt slipping but rather from the battery overheating. So make a note, if you smell burning rubber, don't assume it's the fan belt, look at the batteries too. (another example of "I make at the mistakes first so you don't have to")

Another example, growing along the side of the road
Now I am looking to replace one 4D battery which is buried in the aft cabin under the floor boards along with running wires for the VHF and looking at the windlass. Meanwhile the weather has turned bad with strong north winds with rain and thunderstorms for the next four days. With that we've taken a dock at the St Augustine Municipal Marina along with many other boats aware of the same forecast. As I look outside the boat tonight at 8:30, the wind is already blowing 24 kts out of the north. This is not the time to be on a mooring when the trip to the dock in the dinghy is a 10 minute ride north with a couple of miles of fetch. Hoolie and I both would be soaked. The weather is not due to break until Sunday when we plan on heading for Fernandina and then on to Jekyll Island. It's starting to sound like a repeat of the fall trip south. I hope not. 


Janice Roehr said...

Good thing you're in St. Augustine. You'll be able to get ashore, get the batteries and plug in as well as hide out from the bad weather. I can't resist sharing- we had a similar problem with our windlass last summer. We even have a spare windlass motor now because it turned out to be more of a battery problem than a windlass problem. Those 4D batteries are so heavy and like you, on our Catalina 42 they are located in difficult places to reach. We are putting together a list of "spare parts" we want to be sure to have aboard when we head out in September. Good luck, we'll be anxious to hear how you make out.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear of your battery problem and especially so given 4D's! Hopefully the other batteries have not been effected as well. I do not envy you having to drag that puppy out of the boat (I'm guessing about 120# eh?). We have chosen to stick with four Trojan T-105's simply because they are more manageable when one needs replace them although they do require servicing at least once a month or more. Fortunately, ours are somewhat more accessible so that's not such a chore as it might be for you.

In re: your anchor chain, I wonder if you might have developed a "twist" in the chain that causes one or more links to offset which can be problematic with an integral chain-pipe/windlass assembly. You might need to run out all the chain and then counter twist it as you run it back into the chain locker. The process is really a pain in the neck but it might resolve the problem. (If you give it a try, disconnect the anchor so you're not stuck dealing with that as well.) N'any case, I hope you get the problem resolved before you push on.

Take care and keep well. Stay Dry!

Scott'n Kitt
s/v HyLyte

Bob423 said...

Janice, in my experience you don't need a lot of spare parts since you're on the ICW but I do carry spares that would otherwise stop life aboard a boat and that I can replace myself:
-Fan belts (or now they're called alternator belts). They don't fail often but when they do the boat stops.
- Impellers, of course. Main engine and Genset.
- House fresh water pump. Not nice having no water at a remote anchorage.
- Oil filters, primary engine and Genset
- Fuel filters, primary and secondary, main diesel and Genset
- Zincs, I have a diver replace them but it's handy having the exact model on board
- Spare nav bulbs (fore, aft and anchor)
- Antifreeze for replenishing the diesel and Genset, not used often but occasionally needed.
- Oil for the outboard. I buy the oil locally for the main engine when needed. What I use is available everywhere (Shell Rotella 15W40 for diesels)
- A oil container for used oil (until I can put the oil into a recycling center, available everywhere on the ICW)
- An oil pump. I use a vacuum pump for oil drainage.
- Assorted fuses for the diesel, Genset and electrical components on board.
- Spare anchor and rode.
- Spare shore power cord

Further down the list are items I sometimes carry:
- Main engine raw water pump. Depending on your engine this can be simple or hard to replace.
- Fuel pump.
For both cases above, you'll at least have the exact replacement ready if you can't do it yourself. I'm sure an off shore list would be much more extensive but on the ICW, help is nearby, just have money.

This list does not include tools or electronics, that's a separate list.

Bob423 said...

Scott'n Kit, I've thought about going with 6v batteries but never got around to doing anything about it. They sure would be easier to manage. The possibility of a twist in the chain is something I haven't thought of, I'll look for it.