One of the first problems I encountered was retrofitting of the boat's forward deck. As the boat came without a windlass, the manufacturer installed a hawse-pipe to facilitate below-deck storage of the anchor's rode (anchor line). A hawse-pipe is the hole that the rode goes through on its way to the anchor locker. At first, one might think that the windlass will simply cover the hole, but this is not always the case. The other item that will have to be removed is the chain keeper. The chain keeper is shown in the upper right of the photo, and serves to secure the anchor. This particular design is not very workable with a windlass, so it will have to be replaced.
One issue is the location of the winlass. To operate properly, the anchor rode, rather than the windlass must be on the centerline of the boat. Since the rode wraps around the gypsy on the windlass, the windlass itself will be somewhat to the left of the center line. If the windlass were to be centered, the rode would veer to the right, and may not retrieve or pay out properly.
To assist the decision of the windlass to use, I was able to get mounting templates from the manufacturers. The different mounting configurations influence which windlass I would use - i.e. the one that covered more of the hawse pipe hole. Unfortunately, none of the windlasses would completely cover the hole left by the hawse pipe. Even worse - one of the mounting bolts on several of the windlasses is where the hawse pipe hole is. For this reason, I had no choice but to patch the hole.
Since I desired to gel-coat the hole, I had to use polyester resin and fiberglass cloth for the patch. Epoxy resin would not work here, since you cannot use gel-coat over epoxy. Because I basically had to work upside-down, getting the patch started was a chore. However, subsequent layers went in quite easily. When you patch the hole, you must use plenty of fiberglass cloth. If you simply pour the resin in the hole, it will generate too much heat; it will be too weak - and when it completely cure, will shrink and crack. After the hole was filled, I used a Dremel tool to grind the surface down to approximately 1/16in to 1/8in for the gel-coat layer.
Luckily the area to be patched is non-skid, which with my current fiberglassing skills, meant I could make a reasonably good patch. As the gel-coat dried, I simply "tapped" the gel with my forefinger to create the rough surface to match the texture of the non-skid. Although the color is a bit off, my hope is with a bit of rubbing compound and natural fading from the sunlight, it will eventually blend in. On the other hand, at least 95% of the hole will be covered by the windlass, so it should not show much.