SV Seamlessly anchored by Treasure Cay, Bahamas
We will update this blog post as things progress — stay tuned.

The Incident | Background | Analysis of the Cause | Temporary Fix | Evaluating Lewmar

The Incident

We woke up early in the morning, anchored in Thompson Bay, Bahamas, and got the boat ready for our sail up North to Calabash Bay. Thompson Bay is about 316 nautical miles North-East of Fort Lauderdale. We were lifting the anchor, making sure the anchor chain was not piling up below our Lofrans Falkon windlass, when the gypsy caught the chain stripper, nearly tearing out the chain pipe and ripping up the fiberglass along the way.

We used the main halyard and the electric winch on our mast to pull up the rest of the anchor — 2 feet at a time. We then decided it would be best to change our plan of going to Calabash Bay and instead head back to Georgetown.

Getting into Elizabeth Harbor was quite the nailbiter because, with a fairly strong easterly wind, the swell was quite large. We made it through the cut, running out engines at nearly full throttle to get through as quickly as possible and trying to maintain steerage.

Lofrans Flakon
The windlass (grey) spins the gypsy (blue), which pulls up the chain. The chain stripper (red) ensures the chain comes off the gypsy. The chain pipe (yellow) holds the chain stripper. When the gypsy (blue) and the chain stripper (red) collide, bad things happen!
Lofrans Flakon
The gypsy caught the chain stripper and ripped the rear bolt of the chain pipe out.
Holes are patched with fiberglass
The soft base allowed the rear bolt to rip through the base — a base that was fairly soft from water intrusion.



In February 2019, only 12 months prior, we were cruising in Eleuthera, which is also in the Bahamas, when our windlass jammed, causing the chain stripper to get caught in the gypsy (Deja-Vous). At that time, it was the windlass that nearly tore out of the base. We headed right back to Fort Lauderdale and hired MultiTech Marine Services to fix the damage.

MultiTech Marine Services removed the windlass, repaired the fiberglass, filled the holes, and re-installed the windlass and the chain pipe (to which the chain stripper is attached) in April 2019. Departing from Florida on December 12, 2019, we only got 74 days of use from the time MultiTech Marine Services re-installed the windlass. Or, more precisely, 16 anchorings (is that even a word?).

Analysis of the Cause

When MultiTech Marina Services installed the windlass again, they did not protect the fiberglass core from moisture. They also did not prepare the base sufficiently in addition to using fairing material — which is a soft material.

From the time we departed Fort Lauderdale on December 12, 2019, to the time of “the incident” on February 24, 2020, the windlass sunk into the fairing material, causing the chain stripper to come closer to the gypsy. The last bit of movement, which caused the gypsy to collide with the chain stripper, was caused by the rotting base — water seeped into the core of the base, where MultiTech Marine Services did not seal it, causing the base to become softer.

Windlass base sanded down and prepared for repairs

The base was sanded down by MultiTech technicians in preparation for fiberglass work.

Holes are patched with fiberglass
The holes were patched and fiberglassed by MultiTech.
Fairing material applied before paint
Fairing material was applied over the repair area in preparation for paint.
Chain pipe is placed and positioned.
The base was painted, and the chain pipe and chain stripper are being installed.
Chain pipe is placed and positioned.
Picture from below, showing that the bottom was not repaired correctly and that the core material is exposed. The wire for the chain counter was also pinched between the washer and fiberglass.

Temporary Fix

We used our Dremel, and the Dremel stand to machine a temporary chain stripper out of Starboard. The temporary chain stripper should allow us to raise the anchor a couple of times until we make it back to Florida.


The Lofrans Falkon windlass has a fundamental design flaw: the chain stripper and chain pipe are not attached to the windlass itself. It is up to the installer to ensure the chain pipe is mounted in the correct place (4 mm away from the gypsy). The base also needs to be solid, preventing any movement of the chain pipe or windlass — keeping the chain stripper away from the gypsy. Other windlass designs we’ve seen have the chain pipe and the chain stripper being part of the base.

We are considering two options right now:

Repair the damage caused by the incorrect installation of the Windlass by MutliTech Marine Services and re-install our Lofrans Flakon windlass.

Replace our Lofrans Falkon windlass and change the setup of our windlass base accordingly.

Evaluating Lewmar

We reached out to Lewmar, and their UK team has been very responsive — much better than our interactions with the Lofrans team. The Lewmar US team has been much less helpful, and we are still waiting for some initial pricing for a Lewmar V6 windlass.
Template for Lewmar V6
We used blue tape to show the modifications needed, should we choose the Lewmar V6. Raising the platform by about 7 inches is one of the required modifications.
Cut out space for the Lewmar V6 motor
We would also need to make space for the motor and gearbox of the Lewmar V6, which would sit below the gypsy.