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Just because Katana is “on the hard” certainly does not mean that work on her has ceased. We have yet to install our nice, new, electric anchor windlass and although we won’t be completing the job until the spring, we figured we could get some preparatory work done over the winter. As the deck where the windlass is going to be installed is not perfectly flat, we think we will need to build it up with a pad of some sort to make a level mounting surface. Our mechanically-minded friend Chris is going to help us with this project and so he visited our boat with us yesterday to work out the shape of this pad. We have still yet to decide on a material for it though. I have seen (on the internet) some installations done with a wooden pad. Instead of this we were thinking of using some high-tec plastic. Plastic is not really the correct term as Chris is quick to point out. The materials we have been discussing are High Density Polyethylene or Delrin (they both look like plastic to me). The questions in our minds are whether these materials will be too brittle for the task and how will they handle the constant exposure to the sun.


  1. Strangely I can find very little information on the construction of a base pad for a windlass. We can’t be the only ones who’s deck is not perfectly flat and horizontal?

    As for the Delrin vs. HDPE, I sent this info to my friend:

    Comparison table for Plastics (see, I told you they were plastic!):

    Delrin vs. the Sun:

    Over time, exposure to ultraviolet light adversely  affects the tensile strength of plastics. Weather-  resistant compositions of Delrin acetal resin have  been developed to withstand such exposure.  For outdoor applications involving either inter-  mittent exposure or a service life of 1 to 2 years,  colors of Delrin acetal resin are generally suitable  based on property retention. For increased resis-  tance to surface dulling and chalking and better  tensile property retention, specially formulated  colors containing a UV stabilizer provide signifi-  cantly better performance. However, even with  UV-stabilized color compositions, surface dulling  and chalking begin in about 6 to 8 months of ex-  posure in Florida. The chalk may be removed by  hand polishing in the early stages of development.  If removal is delayed, the chalk layer hardens with  time and becomes more difficult to remove.  For applications that require outdoor exposure  todirect sunlight and much more than 2 years of  useful life, the carbon black-filled UV-resistant  resin should be used. 
    Delrin 507 BK601 compositions have shown  excellent retention of strength properties after  20years of outdoor exposure in Arizona, Florida,  and Michigan. Over this period, essentially no loss  of tensile strength occurred, but elongation was  reduced to about 40% of the initial test value, with  the greatest change in elongation occurring during  the first 6 months of exposure. These performance  data are shown in Table 10. 


    We’ll see if that means anything to him!

  2. For leveling off the base of your windlass I would use an epoxy resin with a thickener mixed in.. But thats just me. I would build a dam or mould, line the walls and bottom of the dam/mould with wax paper, rough up the deck where the base is going to sit and pour in the resin. Take note that the resin will duplicate any and all imperfections in your dam/mould. I just started using resin last year and believe it is a cure all for everything, Just remember to have lots of acetone on hand to clean up…..Allan

  3. I was thinking along the line of Allan except to make a wooden wedge the size you want and then cover with resin cloth and then the epoxy resin. The result will be strong but need some sanding for aesthetics.

    • I second Dad’s suggestion. The plastic will create a level surface but likely won’t strengthen the high load deck area under the windlass as well as marine plywood covered with fiberglass. Plus, you can paint the fiberglass to match the rest of your deck. Just make sure that you epoxy the bolt holes so that the wood does not rot.

      My only experience with marine-grade plastics is Starboard (not sure how it compares the ones you are looking at), and I have come to regret having used it in almost every application for which I have employed it. It definitely lacks the rigidity of wood and I would not recommend it for any structural applications.

      • 1. I am not sure that the windlass needs to be dead level, just maintain a fair lead to and from although confirm with the mfg.
        2. Just from a quick google of the PDQ’s I saw several photos of others with windlasses installed. Can’t tell their plate arrangements but you should be able to track down another owner who can pass along their arrangement.
        3. You might look into the Maxingout website. Dave had a stainless steel fairlead plate made to accomodate his sea anchor. If that is something you think may be necessary for your boat you might be able to incorporate a windlass mount into the design. Money though.
        4. I agree that Starboard should only be used as a spacer where caulk will not suffice; teak might do over glass encased plywood after weighing the cost vs. aesthetics.
        5. Caution, many windlasses have been factory mounted on plates of dissimilar metal resulting in an electrolysis problem. Know the metals involved. Fasteners too. Look into Tef-gel. You will probably need to take it apart some day without destroying it. A good spacer between such plate joints is a gasket of plastic milk jug side and you get to keep some out of the landfill:-).
        6. Maybe you could change out the chain locker lid to allow for the mount, if applicable.
        7. If you haven’t purchased the windlass yet, maybe look at the models by Quick.
        Good luck!

        • Hi Kirk
          Thanks for all of the suggestions!
          I agree that it may not need to be perfectly level (is the boat ever perfectly level anyway?). The hull is narrow though and where the hawsepipe is currently located somewhat dictates where the windlass needs to sit. This area unfortunately starts to curve higher near the back of the windlass, hence the necessity (in my mind) of the plate. We have already purchased a windlass, a Lewmar Profish 1000, but I did also buy a wireless Quick handheld controller for it. I will be sure to check on the metals involved. The tip on using the milk-jug plastic as a gasket is a good one!

          I did also post this same question on the PDQ forum but have yet to receive a reply on it.

      • Thanks for the insight, Eric!

    • Dad: Maybe you should come down for a visit and we’ll put you to work? Mom could always swab the decks while you’re busy with the windlass pad! 😉

    • I actually agree with “Dad” on that one, a simpler solution. Wish I thought of it, but hey, I only started doing this stuff 2 years ago…..Allan

  4. Mike,

    Make sure to put the weight issue into your consideration as to which hull to install your windlass or I should say the anchor chain. I now wish I had installed mine on the port side, but it is too late.


    • Good suggestion!
      I am pretty much committed to the starboard bow for two reasons.
      1. We just installed our new anchor roller their to deal with our Rocna
      2. The port side locker is also the propane locker so I think keeping electrical items out of there is wise.
      I do think from a weight perspective that the starboard side would be at least as good as port, as the port side is where the galley, fridge, etc. are.

  5. Mike, don’t you know that parents are always right? 🙂

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