My first look in the space under the windlass itself didn't reveal and knocked off wires or other damage. I was thinking maybe something got tossed around in there on our rough ride and knocked a wire off, all looked good.
It took a little digging around to find the relay box, but it looked in great shape. I know the relay itself works because the other control stations work. It's just the forward buttons.
Then, after verifying the relay was all good, I checked again under the windlass, and inside one of the split looms I found three splice connections, one of which looked like hell. Here are the three connectors after I cut them out.
|Non-waterproof connectors used in wet location. The middle one had completely failed.|
It can get wet under there since the chain pipe (the guide pipe that feeds the anchor chain through to the chain locker. If we are taking spray and water over the bow, which we were big time, water gets in there. Inside the loom was soaked.
Because it's wet in there, these connections should have been made with heat shrink, waterproof connectors. The connectors in the picture definitely are not water proof. In fact, one of the wires had broken right off from corrosion.
I replace all three with heat shrink butt splices, then put another length of heat shrink tubing over the butt and wires for a little added protection in the future. Now the forward buttons are working again!