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S&S Swan General - Windlass Cover to stop water
18 May 2022 - 15:14
Join Date: 17 May 2022
Posts: 8

Windlass Cover to stop water


We have just taken on the S&S 38 'Jackobite' hull 96.  

We are starting our learning curve with this beautiful boat and I am sure we will have many questions to ask you all!

While we know that the windlass chain hole drains into the chain looker and chain locker in to the bilge, when we set off in 25knot in large Biscay seas upwind, i was surprised how much water comes in. (Not that surprised after thinking about how much time the bow spent slicing through the waves effortlessly and the pressure that would create!) 

Have other owners devised a ‘cover’ or solution to stop the water ingress while sailing?  Currently we have a plastic bag, duck tape and sponge solution that works but isn’t pretty!!

Any suggestions?

Many thanks in advance

Ben Duke

Windlass cover

18 May 2022 - 15:24
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Hi Ben,

a tight Sunbrella cover will stop water  (attached is a photo of the one I have now on 47/069 Vanessa, and I had the same on 38/067 Only You), never had a single drop of water coming in.

Will try to get better pics in a couple of weeks.

Fair winds,

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

18 May 2022 - 21:07
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 88

This is a solution Gary Stevens, a friend of mine, came up with: The plug is made from 5200 sealant and a small (just the right size) paper cup is used as the mold. The 5200 is viscous enough so that it stays in the cup when the cup is around the chain.  I have used this for at least 15 years and the plug is still good after many anchorings. It actually surprised me. 

Plug out

Plug in and watertight

19 May 2022 - 10:32
Join Date: 17 May 2022
Posts: 8


28 May 2022 - 08:41
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Friends,

Peter's solution is simple and fantastic! Bravo!

In my case, of course the shape of the windlass helps preventing water to come in!

Fair winds,

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

30 May 2022 - 04:15
Join Date: 03 March 2007
Posts: 241

HI All,


I took an alternate approach.  I glassed a pipe into the deck (flush to the deck on the deck and extending below the deck 5 cm) in the hole the chain goes down.  I have a cap/plug at the end of the pipe under the deck which completely seals the hole.  The chain  is only on deck when we are doing to anchor.  This also makes the deck easier to work on as there is less to trip on.   When I  want to deploy the anchor I just drain the pipe into a small bucket and feed the chain up to someone on deck. I keep a short piece of line on the end of the chain so it is easy to find in the chain locker and easy to give to the person on deck. .. Boat is dry!!


Many ways to skin a cat...


Mike from Storm Svale





20 June 2022 - 18:36
Join Date: 31 January 2007
Posts: 46

Hi, I had a sailmaker in Las Palmas make a cover which is screwed to the deck and open/closes with I zipper, see the enclosed pic. I had it made back in 2013 and it still keeps the bilge (relatively) dry.

all the best, Terje.

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