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  • Capt. Eric

Air Conditioner is Clogged: New Boom Winches Needed.

As often, the chain of events isn't exactly straight forward: It all started when I noticed the bow AC running too long, but not heating. I switched things off and went to investigate. It seemed obvious that seawater wasn't flowing properly through the AC unit, so I went down in the bow to check the raw water intake.


Sure enough, within 20 seconds I could see that no water was coming in through the strainer. Even with the through hull valve fully opened and the strainer uncapped, no water could flow.


I did what I could from inside to try and unclog the intake. The harbor was full of long floating herbs, and one must have found a way in the intake. Blowing compressed air, or trying to fish the obstruction away just wouldn't work.



First test of the boom winch. Finishes touches still need doing. That's also about how things looked when the winch failed

After trying to clean it with a long broom from the deck, I decided I needed to get down close to the intake to clean it manually.


So I prepared the tender and lowered it. 3 minutes later I had cleared the obstruction. Water was now flowing easily, and the AC was once again working its magic, nicely warming the boat up.


Let's stow the tender, clean everything up and be done with this adventure I thought.


Of course, that's not at all what happened: As I was raising the tender back on board, the top winch, the one that raises and lowers the boom decided it had had enough and gave up.


I didn't have a spare on board, and having nothing to lose, I decided to dismantle the motor and clean it. It got messy, but I got it done. Unfortunately the motor's problem was terminal and my hope to get it going just long enough to get the tender back on deck was deflated.


Luckily I'm an ex sailor, and I have extra "ropes and pulleys", so slowly and patiently I managed to get the tender back on. Of course this kind of setup wouldn't work at sea, where absolute control of the heavy tender is needed.



New one above. Old one below. Old one is now spare

I didn't want to lose my incredibly good weather window, with my plans taking me towards Eureka the next day. So I reached out to the incredible Nordhavn 40 community and asked them an urgent question: Did they know of any new winches that could replace the old ones without doing extensive preparation or modifications. I also had questions about the type of line to use. In particular I didn't want to either have to drill new holes in the boom or run new heavy amps wires to the winches.


The next morning, I had 5 replies from other Nordhavn 40 owners with detailed instructions on how to upgrade the winches, how much and what kind of wire rope to use. All in place, no new holes or wires needed.


2 phone calls later, one to Eureka marina and its adjacent Englund ship store, and I had a place to dock Enfin, receive new winches and order/fabricated wire ropes.


Staying in Eureka for 3 days to wait for the winches had me abandon the great weather pattern I had been traveling with for a while now, but everything went exactly as planned.



Brand new winches and wire rope. New stainless steel bolts and rubber boots as well

Soon I had 2 brand new boom winches and full assembly.


Things worked first go too, because when you're properly prepared you have better chances they will.



The weight ball, often called the headache for obvious reason. Repainted and new foam protection. We'll see if the foam lasts

Some additional anti-corrosion measures. Some fresh coats of paint, and next thing you know Enfin should have solid winches for the foreseeable future. The old still functioning one will remain as a spare too, so we will be less dependent on a future failure.





Job well done, especially considering the next leg includes a possible anchor overnight in Shelter Cove if weather allows.


In honor of the new winches, being able to resume my navigation and the all important 14th July (Bastille Day), I grabbed some very French cheese, bread and pate at our local co-op.


On we go towards San Francisco.



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