Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: CT/ Long Island Sound
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Self-tailing winches are different, not necessarily better in and of themselves. They enable you to leave the sheet in the jaws and crank it in with just one hand. This can be useful if you are trying to steer at the same time and only have one hand available. Since the jaws hold the sheet, you don't need to uncleat it before pulling it in. Releasing can also be a one-handed operation if you are careful about the eased sheet getting an override on the winch drum. If you think this is better, then it is. Be aware that the mounting bolts for new winches may not be in the same positions as your old ones. You may need to fill in the old holes and drill new ones. We have standard winches for our genoa and self-tailers for our spinnaker sheets. The one-handed feature is great for spinnaker sets when there is plenty for everyone to do and never enough hands in the cockpit.