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  #1  
Old 04-07-2008
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Question Clutch to winch distance

After a few seasons of being frustrated with the old Ronstan rope clutches for the halyard on my 25' Seaward, I bought a Spinlock XAS triple rope clutch. It's got a much larger base than the old Ronstan clutch, and I realize I have to mount it further forward of the halyard winch on the coach roof. Are there any rules of thumb for the distance between the clutch and the winch?
TIA
Mike
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Old 04-07-2008
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Mazzy-

No real rules of thumb...but the line clutch should be mounted where it will lead fair to the winch, yet not get in the way of any other lines needing the same winch. most are mounted between one-to-two feet forward of the winch in question.

If you can, I'd recommend returning the Spinlock XAS clutches and getting the Lewmar clutches instead. The reasons are:

1) the Spinlocks can jam under a high load, which means you'll need to run a rolling hitch to the line and apply pressure before you can release the clutch;

2) the Spinlocks will abrade the line more than the Lewmars--which due to their unique clutch mechanism cause almost no line abrasion, and will mean you have to replace the halyards more often.

These are from my experience and also backed by various Practical Sailor Magazine test results.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-07-2008 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 04-07-2008
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My clutches are less than two feet from the winches. This is a good distance for my six clutch (Lewmar) cluster to ensure a fair lead to the winch (as Sailingdog mentioned). Keep in mind you'll want to be able to wrap the line around the winch and then release or engage the clutch while standing in the same spot.
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As a rule of thumb is to place them at least a winch handle and 1/2 away. Remember you will be cranking the winch with the clutch lever open (up). You do not want to rap your knuckles against the clutch lever. But keep the clutch close enough that you can still reach it, as Vitesse pointed out.
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If your line clutches are mounted high enough that the handles are rapping your knuckles on the winch handle, my guess would be that they're not leading fair to the winch.
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Old 04-07-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Bubb-

If your line clutches are mounted high enough that the handles are rapping your knuckles on the winch handle, my guess would be that they're not leading fair to the winch.
With a smallish winch (#16 or so) the clutch may be nearly as tall as the winch. Add in a handle and I could see it being high enought to hit while winching if too close.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Bubb-

If your line clutches are mounted high enough that the handles are rapping your knuckles on the winch handle, my guess would be that they're not leading fair to the winch.
Dog, Mine are a good foot and 1/2 apart and run fair, but thank you for your concern. I didn't want to see the OP make the same mistake I saw done on a Catalina 22. That skipper, who is a friend of mine, solved his problem by going with a short 8 inch winch handle. But with a 10 inch handle the heal of the handle would catch the top of the clutch lever if it was open.
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Thanks for the great replies. I'll look into Lewmar as suggested. The point of winch handle clearance is one I wouldn't have though of, until I rapped my knuckles.
Now the next question: if I have to "build-up" the coach roof a bit (maybe 1/2" on the outside) to make the clutch block level, could I use a scrap of starboard or teak, or build it up with epoxy or resin and filler?

Mike
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West Epoxy has a good article on building up a base for hardware using thickened epoxy, and it's well worth reading.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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