Monday, July 5, 2021

Installing New Winches on Catalina 34 Pt.1

 Replacing the Cabin Top Winches on our Catalina 34

We have two winches mounted on the cabin top beneath the dodger. The port side winch is used to adjust the Jib Halyard, Topping Lift and if required, the 1st and 2nd Reef Downhaul lines. The starboard side winch is used for the Main halyard, Mainsheet and if required, the 1st and 2nd Reef Outhaul lines.

Both are Lewmar 30 winches but only the Stbd winch is self tailing, so the port winch has to be changed out. West Marine had a BOGO offer a few months ago so I purchased two new Lewmar 30 Winches.

I'll be posting the old winches on Craigs List, someone will get a bargain.

Inspecting the mounting of both winches indicated that the Port Winch should be an easy change out as the bolt pattern on the inside of the cabin roof, inside of the Head compartment, match those of the new winch. However, the Stbd winch bolt pattern show that the bolts are not perpendicular and so the bolts do not form a regular pattern where they protrude through the cabin roof in the Aft Berth.

The change out of the port side winch should be really easy. Just dismantle the old winch and remove the nuts from beneath the cabin roof, then lever up the winch. Clean the area, apply Butyl tape to waterproof the holes. The new winch will need to be dismantled, easily done, no tools required, then mount the new winch, tighten up the nuts and rebuild the dismantled winch - all done.

The starboard winch is a little more complex. Initially the same process. Dismantle the winch, remove the nuts from the underside of the cabin roof, lever up the winch and clean up the area. 

Now the tricky bit. This winch takes the load of the Main Halyard! No weakness tolerated, so I have to fix the holes in the cabin roof rather than just use the old, misaligned holes.

The process is to clear out the area where the holes are misaligned, fill them with epoxy and filler, let it cure, then redrill the correct size holes. I asked the guys on the C34 forum and they suggested that the process described is good, but when I remove the old starboard winch I may find that all is well. 

Update July 3rd 2021

Well, that didn't go as planned! 

It turns out that the bolt hole pattern in the new winches are not the same as the old. At best only 3 of the 5 holes can be aligned. So that means I have to fill the existing holes, drill new ones before fitting the new winches.

The pic shows the underside of the old port side winch, it looks cruddy, but it's actually in pretty good shape.

Not only do the new winch bolt holes not align with the old but the old holes were badly drilled as can be recognized by the 5 bent bolts that held the winch down to the cabin top.

A secondary problem is that the existing bolt ends are visible i the Head on the underside of the cabin top.

I really don't want to have the old and new holes visible, it will be ugly. So my plan it to place a plate (Stainless Steel, Wood or Starboard) such that it covers the holes. That way the new bolt holes will extend through the Winch, cabin Top and the plate, which should result in a nice clean finish.

Of course, I don't have any epoxy resin to fill the holes, back to the store!

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