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Old 11-10-2006
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Changing Winch Location

Hi I am new to the group and we just bought a 34' Columbia sailboat and are in the process of refinishing the topsides and deck. We are wondering about relocating the winches. Right now they are foward of the wheel, so to trim the genoa you have to lock the wheel go fwd and trim the sails, if sailing single handed. We are wanting some input on moving the winchs back next to the wheel. Here is a picture what we are thinking, any input would be great thanks.

Scott

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Have you tried mocking it up...do the genoa sheets lead fair or do they rub against the coaming?

Have you tried it with the genoa fairleads in the different positions to see if it will lead fair if you have the genoa reefed??

If it does, is the coaming strong enough to handle the loads from the genoa sheets?

Can you get behind the coaming and install proper backing plates?


If you can answer these questions and the sheets will lead fair, and the coaming is strong enough to handle the load, and you can install a proper backing plate... then go for it.

BTW, what about the main sheet? How is that connected to the boom and where is the traveler and main sheet located? Will the new winch location cause a problem with the main sheet at all??
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Lots of good questions, to answer most of them, by saying we have never sailed this boat before so I can't tell you first hand if you mean, set the pully on the genoa track all the way fwd and all the way back with the winch in the new location and see if it rubs I can do that. As far as access, yes I can get into put backing plates in (which it already has). As far as set up the genoa is on a roller furling and the main is controlled by a cabin top traveler just fwd of the companion way, with the line coming along the right side of the slider to the cockpit. Thanks.

Scott
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I would be very leery of changing anything until you had some time to sail the boat. Additional winches might be nice but I would not move any unless I had a really good reason. If you only have winches behind the wheel only the helmsman can trim the jib.
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Also, if you have to go forward to trim the main, going forward to trim the genoa sheets doesn't strike me as a problem. Right now, none of the sheets are far enough aft to be used by the helmsman AFAICT. Same with the mainsheet traveler.
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Where ever you locate your winches you need to insure that the sheets will feed properly onto the winch or you'll get overrides, or it'll wrap around the base instead of the drum. As an example see http://www.harken.com/pdf/40.2st_06.pdf regarding "sheet entry angle". Angles for your winches may vary. You need to consider angles for the lead positions from the big and small jibs, or install a turning block at the back of the coaming to provide a constant angle. Good luck on figuring angles for doing that! Sometimes you'll see winches on pads to provide the proper entry angle.

As commented above, I would not locate the winches aft of the wheel. You've got the keep any crew busy or they'll be subject to mutiny, you know "idle minds...". I would try a location just forward of the wheel, where you can work the winch from behind the wheel by kneeling on the seat, but a crew person can also acess the winch. Finally you did not mention whether you have self-tailers. If not, upgrading to self-tailers would be a big boost for singlehanding - as you then only need one hand...

Last edited by sailingfool; 11-10-2006 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 03-20-2010
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A resource which *might* be of help is a book titled "The Optimum Sailboat" by Ronald Florence. It's out of print (1986 Harper & Roe) but I found one from an Amazon affiliate for a very modest price.

And I do agree that you should sail your boat for a while before making too many changes to the running rigging. There are a lot of ways to do things and it's hard to resist changing stuff. For instance, I was keen on redoing my reefing setup and it took several iterations before I got it where I wanted it. Fortunately, I wasn't drilling holes in the deck and subsequently repairing them.

Hope this helps.
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