Anchor winch turning itself on!


Joerg Esdorn
 

A cautionary tale.  Yesterday, one of my two Quick anchor winches came on without my pressing a button!  I was sailing and the port winch started pulling the port anchor in - i.e. the motor was turning against the slipping clutch, cranking the anchor against the bow structure.  The noise was incredible and it took me a while to get the winch turned off.  The wireless remote and the switch at the helm station didn‘t work.  I knew the switch labeled „cockpit controls“ turns off the winch but that also turns off everything else in the cockpit.  So I decided to turn off the switch in the forepeak.  

What happened?  I investigated today and found that the remote control had some water on the circuit board.  That water was enough to short out the on/off button and the „up“ button for the port winch.  After drying it and applying some Corrosion X, all was good again.  I am replacing the remote, though, since the elaborate gasket is failing in a number of places which may be the reason for the water.  But it could have been condensation as well.  I‘m also going to check out the port winch to make sure the clutch survived the ordeal.   

I have long had a rule to turn the „cockpit controls“ button off when I leave the boat at anchor.  My concern is that the anchor winch might turn on miraculously and pull up the anchor!  Turns out that‘s not just a theoretical concern!    

Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53 Kincsem
Currently cruising Brittany


John Clanton
 

Good lesson for the rest of us. Thanks much!


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The information contained in this communication from the sender is confidential. It is intended solely for use by the recipient and others authorized to receive it. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, retransmission, dissemination, distribution, copying or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon this information is strictly prohibited.


Dimitris Krasopoulos
 

An Amel 55 with Quick wind lass unbelievable. Check again it should be Lewmar

On Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 8:31 PM, Joerg Esdorn via groups.io <jhe1313=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
A cautionary tale.  Yesterday, one of my two Quick anchor winches came on without my pressing a button!  I was sailing and the port winch started pulling the port anchor in - i.e. the motor was turning against the slipping clutch, cranking the anchor against the bow structure.  The noise was incredible and it took me a while to get the winch turned off.  The wireless remote and the switch at the helm station didn‘t work.  I knew the switch labeled „cockpit controls“ turns off the winch but that also turns off everything else in the cockpit.  So I decided to turn off the switch in the forepeak.  

What happened?  I investigated today and found that the remote control had some water on the circuit board.  That water was enough to short out the on/off button and the „up“ button for the port winch.  After drying it and applying some Corrosion X, all was good again.  I am replacing the remote, though, since the elaborate gasket is failing in a number of places which may be the reason for the water.  But it could have been condensation as well.  I‘m also going to check out the port winch to make sure the clutch survived the ordeal.   

I have long had a rule to turn the „cockpit controls“ button off when I leave the boat at anchor.  My concern is that the anchor winch might turn on miraculously and pull up the anchor!  Turns out that‘s not just a theoretical concern!    

Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53 Kincsem
Currently cruising Brittany

--
Best Regards

Dimitris Krasopoulos
Dubai Mob: +971 564602575
Greek Mob:+306944302318


Marcel Tromp
 

To many gadgets, no simplicity!


On Tue, 21 Sep 2021 at 3:50, Dimitris Krasopoulos
<dkrasopoulos@...> wrote:
An Amel 55 with Quick wind lass unbelievable. Check again it should be Lewmar

On Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 8:31 PM, Joerg Esdorn via groups.io <jhe1313=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
A cautionary tale.  Yesterday, one of my two Quick anchor winches came on without my pressing a button!  I was sailing and the port winch started pulling the port anchor in - i.e. the motor was turning against the slipping clutch, cranking the anchor against the bow structure.  The noise was incredible and it took me a while to get the winch turned off.  The wireless remote and the switch at the helm station didn‘t work.  I knew the switch labeled „cockpit controls“ turns off the winch but that also turns off everything else in the cockpit.  So I decided to turn off the switch in the forepeak.  

What happened?  I investigated today and found that the remote control had some water on the circuit board.  That water was enough to short out the on/off button and the „up“ button for the port winch.  After drying it and applying some Corrosion X, all was good again.  I am replacing the remote, though, since the elaborate gasket is failing in a number of places which may be the reason for the water.  But it could have been condensation as well.  I‘m also going to check out the port winch to make sure the clutch survived the ordeal.   

I have long had a rule to turn the „cockpit controls“ button off when I leave the boat at anchor.  My concern is that the anchor winch might turn on miraculously and pull up the anchor!  Turns out that‘s not just a theoretical concern!    

Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53 Kincsem
Currently cruising Brittany

--
Best Regards

Dimitris Krasopoulos
Dubai Mob: +971 564602575
Greek Mob:+306944302318


John Clanton
 

I may very well have misinterpreted this message string, so pardon my comments if wrong, but:

Quick is the maker of the chain counter and helm anchor control device, the hoisting hardware is Lewmar.

The notion that an anchor windlass, a chain counter, or a remote to active the windlass is a “gadget” or “lacking simplicity” is ridiculous.

I think this is an informative report and I very much appreciate the insight.

John W. Clanton
A55, No. 65
Currently in Antibes, France


Disclaimer

The information contained in this communication from the sender is confidential. It is intended solely for use by the recipient and others authorized to receive it. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, retransmission, dissemination, distribution, copying or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon this information is strictly prohibited.


Joerg Esdorn
 

Wow, quite a reaction.  Yes, indeed, the anchor winches on my 55 are made by Quick.  They are excellent winches in my experience, having hauled various mooring anchors, rocks and other stuff in many places in the Med, in addition to my 55kg anchor and 100 m of chain!  They are not gadgets, they are serious pieces of equipment.   I appreciate the redundancy a second windlass provides.  What happened to me had nothing to do with Quick.  The remote is very well designed from an engineering perspective but it‘s been heavily used and opened many times to remove batteries in the fall and reinstall them in the spring.   So what happened to me is not a reason to point fingers at Quick or Amel.   It can happen to anyone with any make of windlass.  

Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53 Kincsem
Currently cruising Britany 


 

Let me add a note that will happen to any SM, 54, 55, or 50 owners, sooner or later.

The windlass Control box is a black plastic box that has 2 solenoids inside the box, 1 for UP, and 1 for DOWN. The contact points on these solenoids will burn and possibly stick sooner with those owners who operate any brand Windlass and put the motor under strain. You know what this is. You can hear the motor straining. It happens much later to those owners who do not put the motor under strain.

This is a typical A54, A55, A50 bow compartment electrical box, containing the windlass control boxes:
image.png
This is a later model SM Windlass Control Box (earlier models had 2 exposed solenoids:
image.png

This is an opened windlass control box with burned contacts that stuck in the DOWN position causing a windlass ran-away.
image.png
Lesson Learned #1: When you hear your windlass motor straining, pause momentarily and the windlass control box will last a very long time.

Lesson Learned #2: Always tie your anchor chain to prevent anchor deployment and only untie it when you are ready to anchor, or you are maneuvering in close quarters like a marina. You never know when you may lose all engine propulsion and need to drop the anchor.

Bill

CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar

On Tue, Sep 21, 2021 at 2:40 AM Joerg Esdorn via groups.io <jhe1313=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Wow, quite a reaction.  Yes, indeed, the anchor winches on my 55 are made by Quick.  They are excellent winches in my experience, having hauled various mooring anchors, rocks and other stuff in many places in the Med, in addition to my 55kg anchor and 100 m of chain!  They are not gadgets, they are serious pieces of equipment.   I appreciate the redundancy a second windlass provides.  What happened to me had nothing to do with Quick.  The remote is very well designed from an engineering perspective but it‘s been heavily used and opened many times to remove batteries in the fall and reinstall them in the spring.   So what happened to me is not a reason to point fingers at Quick or Amel.   It can happen to anyone with any make of windlass.  

Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53 Kincsem
Currently cruising Britany 


Bernd Spanner
 

I always open the circuit breaker when sailing i.o. to avoid unwanted windlass movement. Imagine it dropps the hook when sailing with 8 knots in waters not deeper then the chains length or even in shallow waters.
The only time I want to have the windlass ready is when I want to drop anchor or as a backup when entering a harbor in case of engine or rudder failure.
--
Bernd
SN 119 / Cascais, Portugal


JB Duler
 

It is recommended to leave the circuit breaker off until you are about to drop anchor.

A friend was delivering a 60/70' motor yacht from San Francisco to Seattle, as you may know beating against the nasty waves and the wind of the  Pacific Ocean. Very cold so everybody was inside.
The windlass turned itself on, probably a lose connection after pounding the waves for one thousand miles. They probably did not notice for hours (pounding the waves on a motor yacht is noisy).

The ensuing fire melted the GRP bow.

They were able to put the fire off and barely made it to a safe harbor.
--
John Bernard "JB" Duler
San Francisco
Meltem # 19, Western Med


Nick Newington
 

Not  an Amel story but I had a close call many years ago. My wife and I were running a charter yacht in the West indies. We had just had a full day to windward sailing from St Barts. I can not remember where exactly but we anchored off a fancy resort, maybe St Kitts or Nevis, the guests wanted to invite us to dinner ashore. We were tired and felt like a night in, so declined their kind invitation. They took the dinghy we went to bed. The crew cabin was right in the bow. It was blowing a solid trade wind offshore and at about 11pm the windlass started to haul up the anchor, we had not put on a snubber. We realised pretty quick and turned off the breaker. The anchor chain would self stow on that boat!

Turned out to be salt water in the foot switch.

The guests came back well after midnight! The boat would have been well out to sea.

Never again.

Nick

Amelia Aml 54-019
Leros

On 21 Sep 2021, at 16:23, JB Duler <jbduler@...> wrote:

It is recommended to leave the circuit breaker off until you are about to drop anchor.

A friend was delivering a 60/70' motor yacht from San Francisco to Seattle, as you may know beating against the nasty waves and the wind of the  Pacific Ocean. Very cold so everybody was inside.
The windlass turned itself on, probably a lose connection after pounding the waves for one thousand miles. They probably did not notice for hours (pounding the waves on a motor yacht is noisy).

The ensuing fire melted the GRP bow.

They were able to put the fire off and barely made it to a safe harbor.
--
John Bernard "JB" Duler
San Francisco
Meltem # 19, Western Med


Michael & Robyn
 

Greetings!
We were underway last year from Chesapeake Bay to Antigua. When at 2:30 AM LT the windlass turned on and wanted to let chain out.
Our anchor pin was in so it prevented the anchor to drop and a little chain pile built up under the gypsy and stopped the turning. The clutch made the typical clicking noises. but it took a few moments to recognize what was going on.
As an immediate mitigation we turned off the cockpit controls on the 24V panel. Later we turned off the windlass switch in the front cabin port side most forward cabinet. It is recommended in the AMEL Handbook to turn the switch off while underway. From other stories I learn it to be done at anchor too. I think only later SMs have the extra switch.
After arriving in Antigua St. John's I investigated the windlass and it turned out the "Down" push-button-switch on the windlass gave contact.
We were sailing close hauled for days and had gotten salt water in through the rubber cover that had failed after 5 years of Florida UV sunlight exposure. These switches are AMEL original gadget additions to the Lofrans Tiger Windlass. The switches are too short to be directly installed on the aluminum housing. So AMEL used black plastic donuts to reduce the thickness. But the donuts are just glued into the housing with marine sealant. I don't know what make the rubber covers are.
I am working on a better solution with waterproof (IP67) stainless steel push button switches. I will add pictures when I have found a reliably solution. 
The switches are useful when installing the snubber, or after anchor up, when washing the dirt of letting the anchor dangle in the water while moving with idle speed.
-
Michael & Robyn

SY RIPPLE SM2K # 417
currently Brunswick Landing Marina GA


Joerg Esdorn
 

On the 55, there are two separate feeds for the anchor winches: one controlled from the dashboard in the cockpit, which has separate switches for the port and starboard winches. The other is controlled from the wireless remote, which itself has an on/off button.  The problem I encountered was that the on/off button on the remote was shortened out, in addition to the up button for the port winch.  To turn of both feeds, you can turn off cockpit controls, which however also turns off all other winches on deck, including the furling motors and the davits, for example.  If you don’t want to or cannot do that, you have to turn off the fuses in the bow locker.  


Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53 Kincsem
Currently cruising Brittany


Mike Longcor (SV Trilogy)
 

We once had the windlass kick on all by itself shortly after anchoring. Replacing those rubber switch covers or "boots" proactively is the key. If you can't source the boots, an inexpensive push button switch may be worth buying just for the rubber cover. We recently renewed the sealant between the plastic "donuts", which were in good shape, and the windlass motor cover using 3M 4000. Keeping a cover over the windlass helps preserve those switches and the windlass in general. Also some corrosionX and/or dialectric grease on inside isn't a bad idea. But again, replacing those rubber covers before they fail is the key.

Cheers,
Mike Longcor
SV Trilogy SM23
NZ


On Wed, Sep 22, 2021, 2:21 PM Michael & Robyn <SY_RIPPLE@...> wrote:
Greetings!
We were underway last year from Chesapeake Bay to Antigua. When at 2:30 AM LT the windlass turned on and wanted to let chain out.
Our anchor pin was in so it prevented the anchor to drop and a little chain pile built up under the gypsy and stopped the turning. The clutch made the typical clicking noises. but it took a few moments to recognize what was going on.
As an immediate mitigation we turned off the cockpit controls on the 24V panel. Later we turned off the windlass switch in the front cabin port side most forward cabinet. It is recommended in the AMEL Handbook to turn the switch off while underway. From other stories I learn it to be done at anchor too. I think only later SMs have the extra switch.
After arriving in Antigua St. John's I investigated the windlass and it turned out the "Down" push-button-switch on the windlass gave contact.
We were sailing close hauled for days and had gotten salt water in through the rubber cover that had failed after 5 years of Florida UV sunlight exposure. These switches are AMEL original gadget additions to the Lofrans Tiger Windlass. The switches are too short to be directly installed on the aluminum housing. So AMEL used black plastic donuts to reduce the thickness. But the donuts are just glued into the housing with marine sealant. I don't know what make the rubber covers are.
I am working on a better solution with waterproof (IP67) stainless steel push button switches. I will add pictures when I have found a reliably solution. 
The switches are useful when installing the snubber, or after anchor up, when washing the dirt of letting the anchor dangle in the water while moving with idle speed.
-
Michael & Robyn

SY RIPPLE SM2K # 417
currently Brunswick Landing Marina GA