If you want that new windlass on your Beneteau sail boat to last more than a few seasons then following a few basic maintenance tasks is good insurance.
The windlass is in the most exposed of all locations and has to tolerate serious saltwater over it, although Beneteau sail boat and others are know protecting them in a good well. If that nice boat has covers on everything chances are the owner also cares and mantains everything.
I always have a canvas cover made and keep it covered at all times to reduce the effects of weather, so much damage gets done on a passage with water constantly over the bows.
Always wash the unit down in fresh water to reduce corrosion. Where there is an oil sump, check it for correct level, and also check oil for water contamination.
Where there are grease points pump in some grease and expel the old. Try and run the anchor down and up a few times so that the motor warms up, as windings may absorb moisture.
Mechanical problems are common, mainly it is caused by the chain jamming in the gypsy, or a poor angle or offset causing the chain not to lead in properly. Bow rollers are also a problem, and they should be checked for jamming also. More than once has a chain stopper been left engaged and power applied, severely stressing the fitting.
Another common area is where the chain is not coming off the gypsy and falling down the hawse pipe, the chain heaps up and when tension comes off the chain the slack chain also jams.
One of the first things that doesn't work after coming off the boat-for-sale list to yourself is the windlass, it sits up front in the weather with little maintenance. If that prospective new boat windlass has problems check it out, most owners say "its been alright before!" Right!
If the windlass on your Beneteau-sail-boat or sailing-yacht does not operate always check the obvious, such as the circuit breaker or isolator switched off, or a slow blow fuse failure. Another problem area is the foot switch, and connections should be checked. Switches full of water are also a common fault, so open and check it.
The next most common faults are solenoid connections, or solenoid control fuse failures. Loose motor connections are a common cause of problems as well as motor faults, and checking for corrosion and degradation of terminals is important. Another point to check on that boat for sale you want to buy.
If the windlass operates slowly or stalls under load, it is generally due to excessive load, or a low battery voltage. If that fails to remedy things then check the battery connections or motor connections, if they are loose or corroded a high resistance will drop the voltage. The other cause can be a motor fault, and motor brushes sticking is not uncommon in some motors. Again with second hand boats that have been on the for-sale list such as that lovely Beneteau sail boat for awhile, the batteries and windlass may be well due for some care.
If the slow blow fuse or circuit breaker has failed, check the windlass is not jammed or seized, and check it by turning over by hand. If the fuse or circuit breaker failure is instantaneous, this usually indicates a short circuit in the motor or terminals. Failure after several seconds indicates overload conditions that may be due to motor or windlass seizure or jamming. Take the chain off the gypsy, and try it without chain. After you buy that nice Beneteau sail boat chances are the windlass needs servicing, Be sure to purchase a discount price copy of my books from Amazon, all you need to know about this and all other boat systems is there, your perfect and practical onboard reference manual. More about a Beneteau sail boat and boat systems