Last Wednesday while racing we had one of the winches fail. The finger/guide for the self tailer on the winch bent into the grip for the ST and actually started to peel off the grip before we stopped grinding (jib sheet). The owner of the boat talked to his maintence guy who said it may have been caused by not having enough wraps around the winch. He said you should have at least three if not four wraps on the winch to take the strain or this will happen, we had two at the time. It was blowing about 15 knts wind. I'd never heard this before. Earlier this year we had the same thing happen with the other side where the finger started to pinch in. I had thought that the metal was starting to get fatigued but, this failure was spectacular. The finger deflected a good half inch backwards and inwards. The boat is 38 years old I don't know how old the winches are. The winches are 2 speed Lewmars (don't know the model number). I find that at four wraps and sometimes three the rope tends to ride up on itself. I haven't had a problem with the rope slipping on the winch so I've just gone with two wraps on his boat and I tend to do the same on mine.
1. So should I always go with three wraps?
2. I don't see how an extra wrap would ease the strain on the finger?
3. What is the proper term for what I'm calling the finger on a ST winch?
4. Anybody else heard / had this sort of thing happen?
From the Lewmar site:
Winches are designed to generate very high loads and this is stored as
energy you cannot see. Always release the load by easing off turns on the
rope drum with great care.
Always place three or more turns of rope on to drum to ensure easy and
safe handling of winch.
For very high loading add extra turns for safety.