In a recent thread I announced my first solo sail. Well, I am already thinking about ways to make single handling the boat easier and safer. And I would like some input on these ideas.
Let me start with the convenience aspect first. I have a swing keel boat for which I need to lower the keel for good sailing performance but raise the keel every time I return to dock. The Keel is 4,000 lbs of lead and while it has a multiple purchase system, it eventually leads up to a winch on the cabin roof that I have to operate by hand.
The keel line comes up thru a port in the roof, by the mast, (just to the left of the double pulleys)
passes aft thru a stopper (clutch) and then to the a Harken 44, two speed winch.
With the Dodger up the winch handle cannot go all the way around, but I do have a ratcheting handle so it alternates between the two speeds. But with the multiple purchase system (down below) I end up having to winch in a lot of line ( maybe 20' or more), and it takes quite a bit of effort, especially with no crew to take turns. (Note: the above picture is for visualization purposes only, obviously the line here is not tailed thru the winch)
My thought is to turn the line around and run it forward to the windlass, which has 2 drums (gypsy's) one for chain and one for rope. I am almost always motoring as I enter our creek as the channel is narrow and by this time the sails are down, so it is not an issue to go forward to the windlass (unless the weather is really bad).
My questions are these:
Can I use the existing winch as a pulley to turn the line forward, if I wrap the line around the winch in the counter clockwise direction a half wrap? (Excuse me for not just trying this, but I am not at the boat; boat in NC, me in NJ at the moment). My thinking is that with a half wrap the wrong way the winch will just free spin. Anything wrong with doing this?
The remaining issue is that the existing line is possibly not long enough to reach all the way to the windlass. Should I use a sheet bend to tie on another length of line? Is that the strongest line joining knot? And will it pass around/thru the windlass without issues?
All thoughts or comments welcome (I know that can be dangerous on this forum, but what the heck).