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Last updated: September 4th, 2016
Husky

Anchor Winch Replacement
Husky came with an anchor winch made by Leroy Somer, which is a big industrial motor and gear manufacturer. In the end of the 90'es someone at Leroy Somer must have said: "How hard can it be to make anchor winches for boats?" And so they did. However they basically did everything wrong, mixing aluminium and stainless steel, not knowing how to seal things, and generally just doing all the wrong engineering decisions when manufacturing for salty environments. Thus less than a decade later they seem to have ceased production of marine equipment.

Husky was born with one of the later units. When I took over the boat it could not release the chain (it just gave a clunk-clunk-clunk sound), but it could still lift it. A year later when I was lifting the chain that joy stopped too.

A while later I had a big fight to get it out of the boat, due to the poor design choices of Leroy Somer everything had corroded and many of the screws were completely stuck. Anyway I managed to get it out, took the gear box apart, and discovered that the grease inside was full of what looked like sand, but probably was something else that should not be there. It turned out that the top bearing in the gear box was completely stuck. It also turned out that the reason I initially could not lower the chain was because of a clutch mechanism that didn't engage, probably because the bearing was already requiring too much force at that time. Finally the reason the motor didn't work was because a fuse had gone in a combined brush-fuse assembly.

I briefly tried to get hold of a replacement brush-fuse assembly, but that didn't seem to exist anymore. For all of these reasons I decided it was not worth starting a repair job, but better to get a new anchor winch. Unfortunately all modern winches needs a significantly smaller hole for the capstan compared to the Leroy Somer solution. A "correct" solution would be to fill the existing hole with fiberglass and drill a new one, however the anti-skid surface then also had to be replaced, and I didn't like the cost of that.

Instead I decided to make a set of adaptor plates in stainless steel. One on each side of the fiberglass deck. I drew them in Autodesk Inventor, and had them manufactured by http://lasergist.com

Before I found and contacted Lasergist I had tried to talk to a handful of local manufactures, but they either didn't answer, didn't have time, or could not deliver AIS316, but only AIS304, which is not good enough for the marine enviroment. I didn't even get as far as getting a quote for something useful!

Lasergist on the other hand have my highest recommendation. On their website they list only 1 to 3 mm tickness, but a quick inquiry revealed that they also manufacture with 5 mm, which I preferred. In fact their support was really quick, they even answered on a Sunday! The result was that I ordered Sunday evening, they manufactured it on Tuesday in Athens, Greece, and on Friday it arrived in my mail. All for the cost of 100 USD, including shipping. They put your design on spare area on other production runs, which would otherwise have been wasted material. Hence the good price, and the quality is as good as it gets too. Highly recommended!

Below are a few images. Please click on each image for a higher resolution.


The top part, covering the old hole, and a few cm outside the new anchor winch base, to cover remnants from the old winch, and covering the chain hole, which had to be moved a bit.

The bottom part.

The received parts.

How it's going to fit.

Mounting of the adaptor plates, I reused the holes in the deck from the old winch for the bolts. One had to be countersunk because it goes right over the base plate of the new anchor winch. I had the counter sink done locally.

The plate underneath.

The final result!