Building a Windlass Locker on Duracell

Matt sitting on top of his boat, Durcell.


After a brief break, Matt from The Duracell Project is back with exciting new projects to enhance the legendary ocean racing sailboat, Duracell. This video, is part one of a two-episode series, focusing on creating a windlass locker in the bow, a critical upgrade to ensure efficient and safe anchoring.

A Bit of History

For those new to the channel, Duracell has an interesting backstory. In 1995, John, the previous owner, embarked on a solo circumnavigation. Unfortunately, near the equator south of Mexico, Duracell collided with a cargo ship, resulting in significant damage. Last summer, Matt rebuilt the carbon fiber bowsprit, setting the stage for the current project.

The Windlass Locker Project

This project focuses on the bow, particularly the windlass box and the chain's route down the deck. Matt explains his goal of positioning the windlass and chain as far aft as possible to minimize the boat's pitching moment in rough seas. After extensive planning, Matt decides on the optimal placement for the windlass and chain, which involves integrating them into a large storage locker behind a bulkhead.

Step-by-Step Process

Planning and Measuring: Matt starts by carefully drawing and measuring the channel and windlass box on the deck. He highlights the importance of ensuring structural integrity, consulting with a naval architect to confirm that the cuts won't compromise the boat.

Cutting the Deck: Using a track saw for precision, Matt cuts the deck to create the channel for the chain. He emphasizes the need for accuracy to reuse the cut deck piece as a lid for the box, reducing additional work.

Building the Channel: Matt constructs a U-shaped trough from foam, vacuum bagging it for a strong and smooth finish. This trough will be glued to the underside of the deck, forming the channel through which the chain will run.

Gluing and Laminating: Using TotalBoat’s Thixo thickened epoxy, Matt secures the trough to the deck. He then laminates both the inside and outside of the trough with fiberglass and High Performance Epoxy, ensuring a tight, structural bond that also seals the foam edges.

Final Adjustments: To fit the trough into the confined space, Matt cuts it in half and uses screws to hold it in place while the epoxy cures. Once cured, he laminates the trough to the deck from both sides with High Performance. He plans to make a lid for the trough from the original deck piece, carefully minimizing the width reduction from lamination.

Products Used

By the end of this episode, the windlass locker and chain channel are well underway, with more exciting updates shared in part two!

Make sure to subscribe to Duracell Project on YouTube to follow along on the continuation of this project, where Matt will build the box, install lids, and finalize the windlass setup.

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