Blue Opal’s windlass has two simple foot switches at the bow, which put voltage on to a relay box in the master cabin, which in turn enables high current flow to the windlass motor. Since I single-hand, it’d be nice to have the ability to raise and lower the anchor without running back and forth along the length of the boat.

Dad and I came up with the plan of a simple momentary Contura-style switch installed at the helm, and a length of three-core wire run from the pedestal to the three terminals on the relay control box in the master cabin. Since the relays need a bit of oomph to run, we settled on some moderately heavy cable (12 AWG / 2 mm2) to do the near 10 metre run.

Out came the multi-tool, which made quick work of the console plastic. I’m really not bothered by the label being destroyed; I’ll probably take the rest of it off some day. Then it was a matter of trying to get the cable pushed down the pedestal leg, so that I could route it past the engine, and up the port side of the boat. Alas, the damn wire just wouldn’t go, and kept stopping right at the bottom of the leg. This called for an exploration from below.

The cockpit lockers on a Victoria 34 are pretty big – my port locker houses the calorifier, breaker box, emergency bilge pump, and a few other hoses, and I still fit in the hole. It’s a bit of a “suck up that gut!” moment to get through the opening, but once my chest is in, I can fold my legs through the opening to the engine bay and get deep inside.

I can’t get into the engine bay; I’m too tall and broad to do that, but I can reach a lot of things from the locker.

Feeling around, and poking my head under, and it’s clear that the wires come down the pedestal and go every which way, making it impossible to push a wire through the leg.

We tried the Morse control leg instead, but that’s actually a free-floating part of the pedestal. There’s the leg up from the cockpit sole, carrying the Morse cables, the Morse fitting, and then the compass base is screwed in to the top of the Morse. There’s no hole through the Morse, and running a power cable through it seems like a pretty bad idea.

This idea is now shelved until I can get someone really small to go in the hole and help me get a gap in the wiring loom to feed the windlass control wires.

Momentary toggle switch in place – even says winch!
Attempting to wire up console windlass control
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