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LWinters 07-18-2007 05:20 PM

Non self tailing winches: A cheap fix?
Has anyone had any experience with the Wincher?

Watski Winchers

I've already replaced my primary winches, but still have standard winches for main and genoa halyards. Just wondering if these things have any real benefit or not? Anyone have personal experience?

sailingdog 07-18-2007 05:33 PM


I've used them... they work for the most part... but don't work with as large a range of line sizes as a true self-tailing winch. Also, don't rely on the winchers to hold the line under a load... you still need to cleat the line off properly.

jrd22 07-18-2007 05:56 PM

We have used them for over 10 years (replaced them a couple of times) and they work great. The only time we cleat them off is if we are in a hard blow, (20+kts) but even then I don't think they would ever let go if you put several wraps on them. They are a poor mans self-tailer, but I'd never go without them again with standard winches. We keep thinking that the original winches (78') will fall apart so we can get new ST's, but they keep going, and going.... My father tried to use them on his 1970 Contest 30, but the top lip of the winch was too thick, most standard winches work though. Good luck.

Chelsea 07-19-2007 03:34 AM

I have used them for the last few years on Barlow 26 winches and have found them to work very well. They do not exactly self tail, you need to strip the tail from the winch, but they sure do help and are better than just a stanard winch

Jotun 07-19-2007 08:56 AM

I think there is a company in the US that makes them also....

knotaloud 07-19-2007 09:45 AM

So how do they work? Can you pre wrap the sheet in the Wincher thing before tacking, and still rapidly haul in the sheet by hand before cranking the winch? Or do you haul in the slack first and then wrap the Wincher, prior to winching?

1970Columbia34 07-20-2007 08:49 AM

anyone know the US company that makes them or where we can buy them?

jrd22 07-20-2007 09:43 AM

They are available at West Marine and probably other marine stores(SailNet?).

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=800 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top align=left width=503 colSpan=2>Wincher Self-Tailers
</TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=center align=left width=503 colSpan=2>Shopper Rating:
Read/Write </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=center align=left width=503 colSpan=2 height=15> </TD></TR><TR><TD><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=200 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2> </TD></TR><!--//************************************************** **************************** //* Modification Log //* Date Author Description //* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- //* 8-Feb-2007 DDC1 Added code for Site Performance //************************************************** ****************************/--><!--FileName=endeca_search_filter.jsp--><!-- BEGIN DDC1 <Title> <Release> Sumit AnandVariables are set to Null<!-- END DDC1 <Title> <Release> <author> --><!--//************************************************** **************************** //* Modification Log //* Date Author Description //* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- //* 15-Feb-2007 DDC1 Added code for Site Performance //************************************************** ****************************/--><!-- FileName=product_body.jsp --><!-- syed_wm --><!-- syed_wm_end --><TR><TD colSpan=2><TABLE cellSpacing=2 cellPadding=2 width=501 border=0><TBODY><TR class=blue><TD>Manufacturer</TD><TD align=middle>Style</TD></TR><TR class=gray><TD>WATSKI - </TD><TD align=middle>002_070_004_503 </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2> </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>Description</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#1c56a0><TD colSpan=2><SPACER height="1" type="block" width="1"></TD></TR><TR><TD height=30></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=475 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=15></TD></TR><TR><TD height=15>Winchers are rubber disks that fit over the top of your non-self-tailing winches to make them perform like self-tailers. Loading up the winch drums until the line contacts the underside of the Wincher creates friction which allows the line to self-tail. A rope groove holds line reasonably securely around the top of the winch. Practical Sailor Magazine suggests Winchers for halyard winches, but not sheet winches, although we have many comments from customers who swear by them.
  • Sizes are by drum diameter
  • Sold in pairs
We don't run the sheet in the wincher until we've taken in the slack. I think the term "self tailers" is inappropriate for the Winchers, they are more of a "self gripper". Once you have a couple of turns on the drum and a little tension on the sheet or halyard you just take a turn around the Wincher and it will hold it. As you crank the winch with one hand you just feed the tail out with your other hand, but you don't need to pull any tension on it. When you have it set, we take a couple extra turns on the drum and run it through the Wincher again. Works extremely well for the difference in cost between these and new winches, but they are only a compromise, not an equal to true self tailing winches.

jonlgauthier 09-17-2007 11:09 AM

"Expensive" self-tailing upgrade
Sorry to revive an old thread, but has had any experience with Winchmates? Unlike Winchers, these are true self-tailing add-ons with line guide/stripper.

We have two non self-tailing Barlow winches on the main mast, and while Winchmates are expensive at $US500 list each, it's cheaper than the $750-1200 for new Lewmar/Harken/Andersen ~40-46 self-tailers. Factor in having to re-drill the winchpads, and the Winchmates start to look more reasonable. But then again, the Barlows are old, and there's no telling how long spares will be available from Hutton-Arco in Australia.

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