Owning a boat gives me a never ending list of expensive projects. I’ve had the rig for about a year and I’ve done most of the repairs and upgrades myself to save a few bucks. But I called in some back-up when I blew out the winch tower.
It only took one summer of fishing and a full duck season to leave the already rusting tower twisted and useless.
It was put out of it’s misery on the way home from the final duck hunt of the 2010 season. I didn’t know that it broke on the highway until I got home. Got to love the new gouges in the hull of my 16′ Lowe SemiVee.
I removed that rusted hunk of crap and dragged it into two trailer shops and a West Marine. My inquiries into a replacement piece where met with nothing but confused glances from each person behind the counter. Plan B was to look for some options on the web. I found a suitable replacement but with shipping I was looking at almost $200! Plan C: Do what any boat owner would do. Bitch about it to your buddy.
I emailed some pics to Dustin who immediately had an answer. He crafted a new tower by welding two 1/4″ pieces of steel plate on either side of a section of C-channel. It’s not pretty. But it’s strong enough to winch my truck out of the mud. Honestly, I don’t really care what it looks like. The price was right (free!) and I’ve always found something sexy about function over form.
I picked up some primer and paint at The Home Depot. Both products are made by Rustoleum. The primer was $14/quart which I rolled on with a trim roller. For the top coat I used High Performance Enamel at about $7/can. Three coats of each made Dustin’s creation look downright professional.
Sliding the new tower onto the tongue of the trailer was tough. One of the sides had cinched in a bit when Dustin welded them together. I didn’t want to scratch the new paint job by hammering it into place. So I sprayed the trailer with WD40 and it slid on with little effort. I tightened down the four carriage bolts for a rock solid stand for the bow stop and winch.
The winch needed a new strap which was easy to do. I took the winch wheel out of it’s metal housing by loosening a few bolts. I unspooled the old strap and removed the center pin which goes through a loop at the end of the strap. I put the pin through the loop in the new strap and reassembled the winch. I didn’t wind the new strap into the winch until I installed it on the tower. Pulling the strap with one hand while reeling with the other gave it the tension it needed to sit tight up against the winch spool. Sort of like winding new line onto a baitcasting reel.
The final step was replacing the bow stop. I’m still searching for a stop made specifically a SemiVee. In the meantime I’m using this stop for a V-hull that I modified with my miter saw.
This entire project cost a total of $60. Thanks to Arthur at Ponderosa Millwright Services for the materials and tools to create this perfect piece of heaven. Your generousity saved me at least $100.
Which I’ve since invested in a new axle. Damn it.