Custom Anchor Pulpit and Windlass Install - 1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer

Discussion in 'Modifications/Customizations' started by utdeja, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. utdeja

    utdeja New Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 13, 2016
    1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer
    Merc 5.7L, Bravo III
    Hi All,

    This is my first post on here so I hope its informative and helpful for anyone else who might take on a project like this.

    I know the 240 is a rather small cruiser, but I am often on the boat by myself and wanted to be able to control the ground tackle as well as the helm at the same time. Also, since the front cleats on the boat are slightly back from the very front when I would tie off the anchor the boat would sit slightly sideways in the wind. So I set out to fix these two issues.

    Before I started this project I searched all over the internet trying to find anyone else who had advice or had done something like this before. I came across some articles about other models of boats, but not a '97 240 Sundancer.

    I had a few challenges I knew I would have to figure out early on. This boat originally did not have a bow roller, or a nice flat spot on the bow in which to mount one. The boat also did not have much room in front of the anchor locker lid to mount a windlass.

    I saw some older boats with wood pulpits on them and newer boats with fiberglass/gel coated pulpits on them. This boat did not really have much other wood on it to speak of, but the colors on the striping, biminis, covers, etc were brown. So I figured if I made this out of wood it could still still look ok on this boat if done correctly.

    I knew I was going to have to take off the locker lid and use that space to mount the windlass. I also wanted to make sure that whatever I did to the boat was easily removable and had a way for me to be able to get access to service inside the locker. Since this model sea ray does not have access to the anchor locker from inside the cabin like other boats (some bayliners for example) I needed to be able to service the chain and rode from the top if needed.

    So here goes:

    1) Here is a before pic of the boat.


    2) I needed to install the electrical for the windlass. This was a little tricky as I am pretty meticulous about cleanliness of wiring and connections AND hiding it out of sight. I had to get power from the batteries, which I pulled off the dual battery switch. I installed the circuit breaker just above the battery switch in the compartment back by the transom door. I ran the + and - up to the helm where I installed the contactor/relay. Everything is soldered with heat shrink tubing.

    IMG_0882.jpg IMG_0888.jpg IMG_0886.jpg IMG_0936.jpg IMG_0935.jpg

    3) I cut a small hole in the cluster panel and mounted the helm up/down control right next to the blower switch so as to keep all the switches together and not have to cut any holes in the fiberglass. This also gave it a semi-factory look. I also wanted to have foot switches to be able to control the windless from the bow, so I needed to build a wire harness for the contactor that would allow me to connect both the helm switch and the bow foot switches.

    IMG_0944.jpg View attachment 47391 IMG_0946.jpg

    4) I needed to get the electrical from the helm up to the bow. To do this I choose to run it behind the existing interior trim pieces where some other wiring was already located. It took a little bit of work to get them off without damaging the fabric or backing, but it was worth it. This allowed to to get the wiring up to the bow with minimal effort and without cutting any holes.

    IMG_0879.jpg IMG_0878.jpg IMG_0881.jpg IMG_0880.jpg

    5) I needed to figure out how to create a pulpit that would cover the existing lid opening, which was recessed into the boat. I also needed the pulpit to stick out over the bow so I could put the bow roller on it. I solved this by creating two separate pieces and bonding/screwing them together. I built a base out of wood that sits down inside the recessed opening where the old hatch lid sat. I then built my pulpit out of 3 x 1.25" Mahogany pieces jointed and glued together. Once it was setup I planed it down to the 1.18"(ish) overall thickness I wanted to end up with and cut out my rough shape. I bonded the base and pulpit together with screws and more glue. I then routed out around the edges and sanded to give it a nice curve and feel around the entire assembly.

    Once I was this far, I test fit it on the boat to make sure I was headed where I wanted to be. Notice in the pics that the assembly sits on top of the nav light? More on that a little bit later, but I knew it would not be good to have something sitting on top of the nav light.

    IMG_0963.jpg IMG_0962.jpg

    6) Once I knew that it was a good fit, I set out to layout my holes for the Access Hole, Windlass, Foot switches, Bow Roller, and Cleat.

    IMG_0976.jpg IMG_0993.jpg IMG_0974.jpg IMG_0972.jpg

    7) Now I set it back up on the boat and measured out and drilled my mounting holes. (That lip was very thick and strong, so it was more than sturdy enough to support this stress and it gave me a clean look. If I ever decided to take this off for whatever reason I would be able to easily fill in those holes would not have a lot of fiberglass work to do. Putting the old hatch lid back on would cover those back up.)

    IMG_0977.jpg IMG_0982.jpg

    Back to that nav light situation. I needed to move the light so it was properly visible once I installed the pulpit AND I wanted to use that spot as another place to support the front of the pulpit. Since this pulpit was a little long from front to back I was a little worried that with only the mounting bolts around hatch hole in back I would get some flex on the front end of it if I got a lot of downward force out where the anchor roller was.

    I fabricated a bracket out of 3/16" stainless steel and drilled a 1/2" hole through it. I used a 1/2" x 4" stainless carriage bolt to go down through the pulpit, the bracket and deck. I put a stainless backing plate and lock nut on it from underneath once I did the final installation.

    This gave the front end of the pulpit a incredible amount of stability and strength.

    You can see the bracket test fit in where the nav light used to be.


    9) Now that I had the mechanics of it all figured out it was time to oil the wood. I choose Tung Oil for this step. There are other ways to do it I'm sure, but this worked well for me in the past on other projects. This really brightened up the wood and highlighted the wood grains. It was still fairly wet in the next two pics, so it appears a little more shiny and red than the finished product will be.

    IMG_0995.JPG IMG_0996.jpg

    10) It was finally time to install the parts onto the pulpit. The bow roller I chose is the easy self launching variety with a hinged section. This allows the anchor to tip forward and come out of the roller once the tension on the chain is taken away. Works wonderful. I also mounted the Lewmar V-700 windlass, up/down foot switches, navigation lights, cleat, and 6" access door on the pulpit.

    IMG_1004.jpg IMG_0999.JPG

    11) Once I had all the parts mounted I built the electrical harness. Again, I wanted to be able to easily remove this from the boat if needed for servicing, etc so I put quick connects on the electrical. For the windlass power cables I used an ATV winch disconnect. For the foot switches I used Weather Pack connections from amazon.

    Bonus: I wanted to be able to see into the anchor locker at night if I need to untangle a knot or something without trying to hold a flashlight and work with my hands at the same time. I put a small, but bright, sealed LED light on the underneath side, just inside the opening so I could pull off the access cover and reach in with my hand and turn on the switch. Nice little feature.

    In these pics you can see closer how the base was built that fits into the hatch opening.

    IMG_1005.jpg IMG_1008.jpg

    12) Time for final installation and testing. It worked EXACTLY as planned.

    The chose carriage bolts (1/4" stainless) because I wanted a nice clean look on top.

    On the underneath side I made backing plates/strips for the bolts using the 1" wide strips of 3/16"stainless (sorry I don't have pics of these). Doing the final tightening was a little tedious because once the pulpit was sitting on the boat the only access I had to the bottom side of the bolts was through the 6" access hole. I just reached my arm through and was able to get around everywhere I needed. It wasn't too bad.

    For the safety lanyard I got a stainless spring hook and a short 3/8" dock line. I clip the hook on the anchor eye and tie the rope off to the cleat while cruising or towing to make sure that if the windlass let go of the chain for some reason the anchor stayed put.

    IMG_1014.jpg IMG_1018.jpg IMG_1020.jpg IMG_1011.jpg

    13) Last thing to do is put my fender holders back on and take it to the lake.

    IMG_1021.jpg IMG_1022.jpg

    That was a long post. Thanks for hangin in there with me. I would love to see your comments on this project, or if you have any questions feel free to ask and I will answer them the best I can.

    Happy boating ya'll.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  2. Bridog

    Bridog Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Oct 4, 2006
    Gulf Shores AL / Brick NJ
    2016 19SPX OB
    Mercury 150 4S OB
    Great post and upgrade but your pictures are difficult to see this way. ( maybe it's just me) However for a small donation you can upload all the pictures right here and it will make it so much easier for everyone trying to view them. From the few I was able to see it really looks good! Welcome to CSR
  3. Quint4

    Quint4 Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    S.W. Ohio
    330 Sport Bridge
    5.7 MPI 350 Merc Bluewaters
    Wow...great first post....welcome to CSR.

  4. Bridog

    Bridog Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Oct 4, 2006
    Gulf Shores AL / Brick NJ
    2016 19SPX OB
    Mercury 150 4S OB
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  5. utdeja

    utdeja New Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 13, 2016
    1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer
    Merc 5.7L, Bravo III

    Thanks for the tip and information. Last night when I was posting this I was wondering why it would not let me upload pics directly to the site.

    I made the donation and uploaded the pics to the original post.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  6. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    That looks really nice, Utah. I like the extra steps you took along the way to make it not just look nice from the outside, but also the areas that one doesn't normally see. I added the same windlass to my 260DA.

    Just a couple thoughts to throw out...

    -- The wood looks very nice and it would be a shame for it to get scratched up as the anchor line is deployed and retrieved. You might consider installing some type of wear plate between the anchor roller and the windlass. It doesn't have to cover the entire distance, and really only needs to be about 4" wide. But a strip of 1/4" starboard (white, grey, whatever) would do the job.

    -- Generally speaking, soldering is not advisable on boats (lot's more vibration than cars). It can be done, but "most" people use too much and it ends up creating a weak point where the solder stops. Regardless, any solder connections need to be supported on either side of the joint so it doesn't flex. I only looked at a few of the pictures and I did notice that you were using wire clamps to keep the wires secured, so that's good - and maybe you've already covered this. But if you happen to have any connections that aren't supported like I mentioned, it would be good to add more support/clamps.

    -- Consider adding a master turn off switch inline with your main "up/down" switch (easy to do). It's best to have a master on/off that has to be turned on before the switches are live. It helps to prevent accidental deployment (especially if you have kids!). You could use the breaker, if you wanted, but generally it's best not to use a breaker over and over. Although, it would probably take a long, long time for that breaker to wear out.

    But that being said, VERY nice! Good job! I think the wood pulpit adds a nice touch, too.
  7. H2ONUT

    H2ONUT Active Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    Shelton, CT
    2000 215EC
    5.0 EFI Mercruiser Alpha
    That looks awesome!! I want to add a windlass to my 215, now I have an idea of what to do.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. Clam Bake

    Clam Bake Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 29, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    1997 250 Sundancer
    7.4l w/ Bravo III drive
    Looks great!
  9. alwhite00

    alwhite00 Active Member

    May 31, 2010
    1997 250 Sundancer
    5.7 EFI/ BIII
    Looks great, Awesome execution and well planned out.
  10. endless seas

    endless seas Member SILVER Sponsor

    Feb 13, 2008
    1997 450 DA
    Cat 420
    Looks great!
  11. Pyrojodge

    Pyrojodge Active Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2011
    Lake Erie Ohio
    1989 Sea Ray 340 DA
    twin 454 Mercs
    Your install looks great...

    Question... I see under the front of your pulpit you didn't put any brace to help support the weight hanging on the nose. Are you worried that over time you well get a downward bow? With the grains running along the length and no cross grain or support I would worry about a gonzo nose situation after a short time?
  12. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Well that certainly looks like a first class piece of work. Well thought out, well designed, well made and it looks like a factory installation.

    Nicely done, and welcome to CSR.
  13. CharlieN

    CharlieN Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 15, 2006
    1989 Sundancer 268
    2001 Dodge Diesel
    502 Mercruiser w/ Bravo 1
    Nice job on the winch install. I am in the middle of a similar project on my 268. The same winch but replacing a Good unit that would not take up chain. I decided to replace the wood pulpit that was already there with birch plywood with fiberglass covering for protection. Looking at your setup makes me think the cleat is a good idea. Might need one of those as the old winch had a Tee post I used to tie off. I like the idea of the self launch feature on the bow roller too as the old one will not self launch. More stuff to buy - sigh

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  14. cmmetcalf

    cmmetcalf New Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 30, 2010
    Little River, SC
    2000 Weekender 245 Bravo3 w/Hill Marine 4x4 Props Garmin Chirp73cv w/GX1700 VHF
    5.0L w/4bbl conversion (CompCams Roller Rockers) with Bravo III
    Great article and great work. I am attempting a similar project on my 2000 Weekender 245. Is it possible to get all the pictures in one file? I own an ftp server that you upload them to if you would rather go that way. Please let me know

    Mickey M
    2000 Weeekender245
    Bravo 2 - with 305 converted to 4bbl.
  15. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    Wow. Nicely done (and documented)!

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