Jan 6, 2014

New Lewmar windlass

N 28° 7.643', W 15° 25.510'

When I bought Iiris I was told that the 15 years old Lofrans windlass is broken. Previous owner had been very satisfied with the Lofrans windlass, so I tried to order the same device from Finnish distributor Maritim. They promised to check the availability. Weeks passed and nothing was heard from Maritim. I visited them and I was told that there are some problems with Lofrans and it was impossible to order anything from them.

This was becoming a major problem. Reliable windlass is one of the most important equipment on a cruising boat.

Previous windlass had 1000w power and we have 10mm chain. With these specs Lewmar V3 seemed like a good choice.

Installing a different type of windlass means welding a plate over the  the old holes on the aluminium deck. This costed me more than I expected. New cover plate was bent to fit the deck. I had to make a padding of teak under the windlass.

Next I drilled the holes for bolts and the windlass. It was an unpleasant surprise to find out that the holes were not in correct places. The drilling template was not in scale. I should have checked it, but I was still trusting Lewmar quality.

After I had enlarged the holes to fit, the device was in its place. Luckily the drilling template differed only a few millimeters.

In the first test we pulled chain out of the box. There was a tiny twist in the chain which stopped the chain for less than a second. This minor twist caused the shaft to bend remarkable.

I complained about this and got a new deck part. This time the drilling template was in scale and the serial number far away from the previous one. We hoped the new one was manufactured at a different factory than the previous.

When we anchored the first time on our trip the same happens. Twist in chain and bend shaft.

Naturally I complained to Maritim but haven't got any answer.

After less than a half year from installation the windlass motor is already rusty. It is clear that this device will not last for 15 years.

The deck switches were installed at the same time. The other one must be from old stock and the new must be build from the cheapest materials you can get. That rusty one, less than half year old deck switch, doesn't work any more. 

I think the same is true with the shaft. They are using less expensive stainless steel, which is too soft for this use.

I tried again to ask Maritim about the situation. No answer!

It is clear we cannot continue our trip with this Lewmar V3 windlass. However, at the moment I don't know how to proceed. 

We can't trust our Lewmar V3 windlass because it is built from cheap materials which cannot bear forces used in anchorage. These materials also get corroded by the sea water.

So we are back to square one, we have to find us a new windlass.