The old Vetus windlass on Snow Goose, Onne van der Wal’s 1986 Grand Banks 32, had seen better days, and although there was a 35-pound CQR anchor on the boat, Onne wanted to replace it with a Mantus anchor. He’d used a Mantus on his previous boat and was very happy with it, so he decided to stick with what he knew.

Getting the old Vetus windlass off was simpler than he expected. Access to the bolts was easy since the windlass was mounted on a stand with access ports on both sides. “It was a very straightforward job,” Onne says. “I was lucky that all the old bolts came off easily.”

He drilled new holes for the bolts to mount the new Lofrans windlass, an Italian brand imported by Imtra, and used his hole saw to drill larger holes for the anchor chain to get in and out of the chain locker. He had to drill two holes for the chain, one through the top of the windlass stand, and one through the deck into the chain locker.

Onne used his Suburban to deliver the new anchor chain to the yard, then used the windlass to get it into the locker. 

Onne used his Suburban to deliver the new anchor chain to the yard, then used the windlass to get it into the locker. 

Before he installed the new windlass, Onne sanded the teak and gave it a coat of Semco natural teak sealer.

The wiring was next. The old wiring and solenoid were tired, so he took them all out. Using the Lofrans drawings, Onne made some sketches of his own. In his workshop, he put blue tape on the solenoid and marked where each new wire needed to go. That way he wouldn’t make any mistakes when he’d hook everything up later.

He prepped new wires by crimping terminals on and then heat shrinking them with a heat gun. He decided to solder the larger cable for peace of mind and then installed the new solenoid and wiring under the deck in the bow of the boat.

Topside, he drilled holes at the base of the windlass stand for the foot switches and connected them to the wiring. Once he knew the windlass was working, he turned his attention to the new anchor.

In his driveway, he spray-painted the 5/16-inch, 100-foot chain every 20 feet, attached the 100-foot rode to one end and attached the new Mantus anchor on the other end. Imtra had delivered a pre-spliced 5/8-inch rode, so that made life simple.

Onne put a Mantus stainless swivel between the anchor and the chain to prevent kinks. “I used the swivel before on Snoek and I really liked it. I never had kinks in the chain,” Onne says. “This is a beautiful stainless-steel casting. As long as you put it on correctly, you won’t have a problem.” Onne secured the swivel with stainless wire and then put tape over the wire to protect hands from getting cut by the sharp ends.

The rode, chain and anchor were all loaded from the driveway into the Chevy Suburban. At the boatyard, Onne backed the Suburban up to the boat’s bow and then hauled the whole package up onto the boat with the windlass.

The paint in the master cabin on Snow Goose was next. It was cracking and peeling and needed attention.

He hooked his Festool orbital sander up to the vacuum and gave the walls and bulkheads the 180-grit sandpaper treatment. The vacuum took care of most of the dust, but before painting, he used a small battery-operated vacuum to get the dust out of the corners and TotalBoat’s Dewaxer & Surface Prep Solvent Wash to really get things cleaned up.

Onne did a lot of research to find the right paint for the stateroom. He experimented in his workshop and spoke to the guys at the One Stop Building Supply Center in Newport. “I talk to those old geezers who have been there since 1939,” Onne says fondly about the hardware store and its longtime employees. They turned him onto the Whizz roller system and the premium sponge for ultrasmooth surfaces. “l’ve tried other rollers that would leave fluff in the paint,” Onne says, “and this was the best.”

He painted a couple of test areas inside Snow Goose’s head, including one section without primer, but it didn’t work. Everyone told him to use Zinsser’s B-I-N primer, which he did and he says, “worked like a charm.”

For the topcoat, Onne used Interlux’s Brightside polyurethane paint. “I used it on Snoek and it’s great,” Onne says about the same paint that he used on his 1972 Pearson 36 sailboat. “The finish is superb, and it dries quickly. It’s spot on. I’m so happy with the finish.”

There were lots of small jobs to make Snow Goose look like new again, but there were three big jobs. The first was the installation of the Raymarine electronics, the second was the sanding of the teak decks, and the third, which he saved for last, was the stripping, sanding and varnishing of the sole.

The newly finished cabin sole

The newly finished cabin sole

“I must have worked on it for about four or five days,” Onne says. Fortunately, rather than spend the entire time on his knees in the boat, he was able to take some of the panels to his shop.

The first product Onne used was Total Boat Strip. “It’s sort of the consistency of mayonnaise,” he says. He applied it an eighth-of-an-inch thick with a foam brush and left it on overnight. The next day he used a scraper and a kitchen spatula to remove the majority of the old varnish. “That stuff works like a banshee,” Onne says. He removed the remaining varnish with sandpaper and then cleaned the surface with Total Boat Dewaxer and Surface Prep.

He applied two coats of Total Boat Varnish Sealer, giving them a light sanding in between, then added two layers of Total Boat Lust Gloss and one coat of Total Boat Lust Matte.

Onne decided to go for five coats to finish the job. “When you go through the trouble of stripping something down, why skimp,” he says. “But now you walk in, and it goes, ‘Baboom.’ It jumps right out at you.”

“It was a big job,” Onne says. “But when you see the before and after, it was well worth it.” 

This article was originally published in the August 2021 issue.

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