E38 Windlass Installation


Sustaining Partner
Hello All,
Just about completed the windlass installation on my E38. I subcontracted about 80% of the glass work as I simply did not have the time. The original anchor pan was removed, the top was flange was cut off and bonded to the opening. The existing forward V-berth bulkhead doesn't go all the way to the deck because the anchor pan originally passed over it and intruded into the V-berth space. The forward bulkhead was doubled with a new 1/2" marine ply bulkhead bonded on. The new anchor locker space was given a floor 37" down from the deck, a small triangle of marine ply. The existing anchor locker hatch was cut off @ 12" from the back and this was bonded, tabbed, etc. to the original space it occupied on the deck. The new bulkhead below was tabbed in forward and aft, etc. The forward section of the newly bonded on hatch bit was a bit to flexible so I added a laminated beam from G10 across the front, tabbed into the underside of the deck on each side. I added more tabbing and an extra layer of fiberglass in the locker space. Essentially all the new plywood was completely covered and tabbed in with epoxy and fiberglass in the locker space.

The windlass is a Maxwell RC10-8 unit. That means its setup for 5/8" rode and 5/16 chain. I put 60ft of 5/16HT Acco chain with 200ft of 8-plait rode in the locker. The installation of the windlass required that the unit straddled the new bulkhead. Had I installed the entire windlass in the locker the new locker hatch would have been too small to be useful. So I opted to install the motor/gearbox on the inside of the V-berth. The upside to this is the corrosion on the works should be non-existant. I thought that having the chain/rode discharge essentially right down the front of the new bulkhead may pose a problem but it has not. The chain/rode feeds smoothly in both directions, does not castle up or give any trouble at all.

The wiring is 1/0 Ancor cable to the battery bank, wired through the Maxwell breaker, etc. as per the instructions. Currently I only have a wireless remote setup to operate the windlass. I am deciding whether to add footswitches or simply a wired backup switch. I like the un-cluttered look of the deck without footswitches. The pic of the little clamshell vent is covering the drain hole, a 1" hole drilled at the bottom of the anchor well, and capped with the little vent to push rushing water past. Got the idea from a Bavaria in my club. Obviously I have a little trim work to complete in the V-berth but that is not a problem.

Hope you like it,


Keith Parcells

Sustaining Member
Very impressive, Rob. Excellent job!

I have one question. If you are in a following sea, will the clamshell scoop up water? I wonder if a check valve of some sort could be made to work? Probably not a significant worry, though.

Greg Ross

Not the newest member
I have an un-informed opinion

Pretty much what you'd expect on this Site!
With forward motion thru a following sea is it not more the motion of waves rather than apparent flow of the water. If we could track a single molecule is it not more sloshing back and forth with the wave motion?
My suspicion is that the boats' forward motion is net, greater that the water it is passing through.


Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Looks great, Rob. The motor doesn't really intrude into the V-berth in a serious way, though. It's forward of the aft lip of the old deck hatch? How does it look after you covered it up?

Dan Morehouse

Member III
Dang it Rob, you beat me to the finish line! You might remember me being halfway through my windlass/anchor locker upgrade in January. I'm disgusted to admit I'm still halfway through it.

I love the accessibility of your motor and connections. A nice clean solid installation, and just the sort of thing an E-38 foredeck cries out for!


Member II
That's some intense glass work! I'm looking to do something similar on my 381 but haven't decided on anything official yet. Thanks for the awesome photos and ideas.



Sustaining Partner
Thanks for the comments!

I don't think a following sea will ever be enough of a problem to push water into the anchor locker through that little clamshell. Its only a 1" hole behind it, the flow would have to be continuous and powerful to be problematic. I'm more concerned about it filling up with green water over the bow. I understand a solution to this is to inflate an exercise ball of the appropriate size in the locker when going offshore. This minimizes the space for water to occupy.

The motor/gearbox/wiring only protrudes down an additional two inches and back one inch past the original trim that covered up the anchor pan so there is virtually no loss of space in the V-berth. I have not got to remaking this trim yet. A few other things are higher priority....

Regarding the glass work, it really wasn't that intense. Granted I subcontracted most of it out, the work was not particularly involved, just awkward. There are a few things I would have done differently had I done the whole thing but thats what you get when you pay someone else. My way would have likely been stronger, read overkill, but the fellow who did it has much more experience with this sort of thing than I do so I defer to his judgement on "good enough". If someone wants more detail on how to do this install just ask.



Member II
Finished product looks fantastic

I'm new to sailing, and just purchased a 1980 ericson 38'. The photo of your finished product looks fantastic; and I have a few questions:
Is the finished product what your were expecting?
Since you had a lot of the work done, about how long did it take start to finish?
Does the boat need to be out of the water to do this?


Sustaining Partner
We have a 19month old daughter that has prevented any serious testing of the windlass installation thus far. She is enough of a handful that daysails are mostly what we do now. Is it what I expected? Yes, like any boat there were compromises but these were very minor, so I would do this again in a New York minute. I would guess that the total project time was 40-50 hours. I probably have 30 hours or so into it. That was additional layers of fiberglass and resin where I thought it needed it, pulling the cable, wiring, painting, fitting the hatch, installing the windlass, etc. All the work was done in the water but it would be easier to do on the hard. Dragging materials and tools down the dock is tedious and time consuming. RT

Ronald Tipton

New Member
E38 Windlass Installation.

Thanks a ton for the information. It's just what I have been looking for. I had the overall process in mind, but the details are where the problems lie. Thank you again for the description and pics. Ron Tipto


Member II
Rob? Are you still around? The kids are getting to be the correct age for slave-labor crew now! I have a question about your winch installation if you can cast your mind back.