pesky windlass

haven’t been on the boat for awhile but managed to get down in prep for the coming adventure to the bahamas in march. Bronze windlass is seized, sprayed with PT blaster and WD 40, no luck. It would be great to turn it upside down and get at it properly, looking for a quick and nasty fix without disembowelling it, by tearing off the deck, turning it upside down to access it more easily. Advice???

What type of bronze windlass? How is it seized? Knowing no details try toilet bowl cleaner. The nasty acid stuff (no Clorox in it). Works wonders on bronze. But be careful what else you get it on.

Good luck and give us some details.

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Sorry to say it my friend but the time has to to do a rebuild. I completely disassembled my 25 year old ABI in an hour. It was too large for my fc and is now on my friends Hess 26 Once stripped down and cleaned it was like a brand new windlass, zero signs of wear. I hated to see the old girl go but my FC is a racer cruiser voyager and she love having it and all that chain gone :slight_smile:

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Way to go barefoot! Bet you saw a huge difference beating to weather.

I did, I love when I sail past larger “faster” boats and they call out “do you have an electric engine?”

its an abi or knock off I like the idea of the toilet bowl cleaner… wont get at it for a while, I’ll keep everyone posted as and when.

Have you got your ABI windlass working yet? If so, what was the procedure? Did it require taking it all apart? How do you keep it lubricated? My friend Bill has the same problem you had. I think his and yours are the ABI 1000 and are based on the bronze Plath windlass. ABI also made a bronze copy of the aluminum SL555 that runs in an grease bath.

I always enjoy looking at your blog covering the construction of Stravaigin. The beauty of the woodwork is probably unmatched. If forum readers haven’t discovered your blog, here’s a link:
Dan Shaula

I had my ABI knockoff of the SL555 serviced at Plath, new seals, springs and filled with gear oil. It had been packed with grease previously after initially being filled with oil. My thought is that the gear oil will more readily lubricate as it won’t need the time to warm up to flow as the grease would. Anyway it works great. The springs are available through SL spares as are the O-rings if needed.

Terrier #31

Wow, the information shared at this forum is worth 14 cents per day for a year.

Thanks Tom,


That’s very interesting. When I had my used SL555 overhauled in Australia, the country-wide agent for the windlass told me to use trailer axel grease. The original lubricant was grease, not oil. Although it has worked fine for many years (14??) since,it has seemed a bit noisy and I’ve wondered if a heavy oil would have been better and quieter?
Dan Shaula

IF the boat is in a cold climate,Before you break out the solvents or remove it, try heat, like an electric blanket for 24 hours, get it all good and warn. then use the solvents and see if they seep in.

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I have been remiss in not keeping in touch,sorry everyone! In truth have been sailing in the Bahamas on stravaigin . what fun! These boats of ours are a joy only down side was the ten days I spent varnishing it. Really the first time in five years so it held up well.
The windlass was removed and of note when it was set originally on the deck the drain holes were blocked by sealant. So the bottom shaft and gears were sitting in water, dah!
The windlass was gently persuaded to function and is now refitted. We shall see how it holds up. Thanks for all the advice folks.