The main hassle of this installation was to make sure that the chain is well aligned with the bow roller and that it was falling nicely into the chain locker.
As a matter of fact, the Contessa 32 has a very narrow bow which makes things even more tricky.
The only solution was to slightly cut the starboard toe rail in order to open up the space and allow the chain to run smoothly.
After different trials, we decided that the lid of the locker had to change side. The opening of the lid to starboard wasn’t practical. Therefore, the hinges were moved to portside.
Even so, the alignment of the windlass-chain-bow roller wasn’t satisfactory. The chain was still running too low on deck. A bit more height was needed. A piece of 25 mm plywood was cut to shape and placed under the windlass base.
To make this support water proof, we applied several layers of epoxy resin and then paint it with 2 component polyurethane topcoat.
Under deck, a backing plate mock up was made out of plywood.
Then a proper 8mm stainless steel backing plate was bolted through deck. This metal plate should help dividing the efforts of the windlass.
The windlass was finally fixed on this thick epoxied plywood piece and everything was assembled together with a significant quantity of marine sealant.
The U-bolt which appears at the back of the chain locker wasn’t removed. Firstly, we believed we had to take it off. But when we tried the windlass with the chain on, we realised that everything was running smoothly.
One of the advantages of this type of windlass is that you can also use it with rope in case you have a mixed chain & rope anchor line.
At last, we could spare our backs !
This small piece of plywood is another mock up for the AIS antenna.
Nothing really extravagant. Just a little bracket to hold the base of the antenna around the aluminium tube of the solar panel support.
The antenna base was later fixed on a stainless steel plate.
The original teak grating of the boat was one of those things we never bothered with. We were thinking to order a new one, but after a closer look, it appeared that the wood was still in very good condition.
Some areas had to be disassembled and glued again together. We used polyurethane expanding glue which is good enough in marine environment.
After sanding and a bit of elbow grease, the result was quite impressive.