Our Alan Atkins cutter, Mico was built in 1980 and to the best of our knowledge, the anchor winch that is currently aboard is the original or pretty close to it.
An original model Pro Series 1000 vertical winch it has served previous owners and ourselves without a hiccup.
So when a major spindle sheared off a few weeks ago in northern Vanuatu we figured - fair suck of the sauce bottle - it's had a good run we'll try and get a spare part. A call to the distributors back in Oz saw a new spindle air bagged to us within a few days and it dropped into place without a problem. $120 seemed like a pretty good fix.
3 anchor retrievals later it sheared again and these last weeks have found us reverting to pulling the anchor up by hand. Back in Port Villa we called the distributors again and went to order another 2 replacements figuring that it sheared due to the chain jamming in the locker. Live n learn as we say.
The guy on the phone asked us to confirm the serial number and then said that Lewmar would send us out another at no charge. He did say that we would need to pay for the airfreight which seemed reasonable but then he said it might be a little expensive considering we were looking at a 9 Kilo package
Since when does a spindle that fits neatly in the palm of your hand weigh 9 kilo I asked?
Imagine our surprise when he said 'no, no, we are sending you a complete new winch'
Apparently the original series winches had a design fault that left the drive spindle undersized and Lewmar have a policy of replacing the full winch with an updated model at no charge - no matter when or where it was purchased.
So here it sits all shiny and new in its box in our cockpit while we pour ourselves a healthy Gin & Tonic and raise our glasses to those wonderful people at Lewmar and what we believe is one of the best after sales service experiences we have ever come across. 3 cheers!
Back at home we have an ancient Toyota Corolla - you dont suppose Toyota might.......