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Micks winch fitup to Caribbean Reef Runner


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OK photos first, there several in this album on Picasa


Here is the finished product

And now the story.

First up, let me say that the fitting of a drum winch to a Caribbean Reef Runner is quite a bit of work, and the scale of the job surprised me because I made some assumptions, the old story, you assume you make an Ass out of U & Me.

When I first received the winch, I rocked out to the anchor well and worked out that while there was room to fit it, it would have to be off-centre because of the divider in the anchor well. Caribbean design these wells to take a capstan winch with gypsy, intending to have a chain well and and anchor compartment.

I decided to proceed as it was now a matter of pride, I had committed to a drum winch and come hell or high water I was going to fit it.

The first step was to cut out the divider in the anchor well, glass over the raw ply that had been exposed and flo-coat it to ensure that it was waterproof and looked ok.

I then sat the winch in place trying the full range of motor angle configuration, and settled for the winch motor being mounted vertically on the port side at the rear, as even though I was running cables from the port side because there was not enough clearance to mount the motor on the starboard side at the front of the cradle and not have to cut a larger rebate in the front lip on the anchor well to clear the chain.

I marked around the winch saddle and then used the backing plate as a template to mark out the drill holes. Holes were drilled and a liberal coating of

Sika was applied to the holes and the back of the saddle for the final bolt up.

I mounted the waterproof 80A circuit breaker as close to the battery as possible under the transom, and the solenoid on the bulkhead behind the dash. I used 2 B&S tinned marine cable sourced through Whitworths, with the lugs crimped using a hydraulic crimper and then sealed with dual wall heatshrink with an adhesive inner, All terminals were coated with WD40 and tightened while still wet, with a liberal coating of battery terminal protector sprayed over each terminal once dry. The size of the cables may be overkill, but with continuous operation, it does not get hot, and the winch runs at an acceptable temperature given the total length of the run is just over 15 metres. There is minimal voltage drop.

The switch supplied with the winch is a Carlingswitch double throw momentary on action. As I was also relocating the switches for the deckwash and bait pump and these were the same style of switch, I found a 3bay flush mount block, cut a hole in the dash and mounted all 3 switches in the same hole. Looks very neat and tidy and is difficult to "bump" as they are tucked in behind the wheel. I ran a 20A tinned marine cable from the buzz bar to a fuse box and then to the switch and across the the terminals on the solenoid, all connectors were crimped and dual wall heatshrinked. I only intend to do this once this lifetime. Cables are supported at 180 nominal centres with d-clamps and zip ties, and are all neatly tucked out of the way, with sleeves where they run through conduits or bulkheads.

Righto methinks, lets spool this puppy up, so I head off down the driveway with a spool of rope and put the munchkin in charge of the switch. Ran the full 125m of rope onto the spool and then spliced and eye around a stainless thimble and shackled the chain. I stood on the bow an held pressure on the chain while it was winched on.

It was at this point I noticed the next problem, and that was the bulkhead flexing as the winch operated, and that was just with my weight hanging off it, let alone a boat on a swell. Having cut out the divider, I had inadvertently reduced the structural support for the bulkhead. The amount of flex woudl have resulted in long term damage to the bulkhead if left unresolved. I took a while to come up with a solution to this problem, and with weather looking good for fishing, a month passed before I had a suitable solution.

The initial rough quote I got from the stainless guys was just over $2000 to build a custom brace and fit it. Nearly fell over when he told me that. A little bit more thought and I came up with a design that was a bit more economical.

I had the fabricator fold a piece of 6mm x 100mm 316 flat bar to match the width of the winch saddle, this utilised the bolts through the "blue roller" and the foredeck, and allowed me to attach two 12mm x 30mm pieces of 316 flat bar with an 8mm bolt at each end either side of the winch. This made the whole setup rock solid. I have been on the deck while anchored in a 1.5m swell and there is no flex. I used 316 stainless bolts all round with washers and nylocs.

With 8M of shortlink 8mm chain I had to remove 10M of the 8mm nylon rope to stop the chain hitting on the bolt heads.

In hindsight I probably should have fitted a capstan & gypsy winch as it would have been far less effort, but pride and stubborness will see me through most things.

I have now used the winch on several occasions in depths up to 35m. The winch is easy to use and with practice I will get my positioning spot on. The drop and retrieve rate is stated at 30m minute, which seems like forever when you are dropping 90m to anchor in 30m, but you really appreciate not having bluebottles wrap around your hands when raising the anchor. Freefall is possibly a better choice, but financial constraints applied.

All up I am very happy with the final product. The winch is good quality and well made, and even though I had to do a lot of prep work, the end result is tidy and functional. The blue roller works, providing a more even spread across the drum. The original bow sprite works well, although I still need to fit two rub pads on the underside as the winch holds the anchor at a slightly different angle unless the winch is backed of an inch or so and the anchor locked into the chain cleat.

Hope someone finds this useful.

What do you reckon?

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mate top job ,well done ,i bet the decky is stoked :thumbup:

Yep, no more straining, no more handfuls of bluebottles, just a button push either way. Next project will have to be a tube off the bow rails for a reef pick I think. Still trying to work out a roller system to allow it to be winched right up without damaging the hull.

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