Winch covers--are they worth it? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-18-2009
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Winch covers--are they worth it?

Obviously, your winches are one the most important, and expensive pieces of equipment on your boat. Is it worth it to get covers for them? I can see it both ways:

Pro: they sit outside in the elements, all the time. Shouldn't they be protected?

Con: they're designed to be outside. Freshwater rain on them might not be that bad--rinse away the salt and dirt. Additionally, metal usually does better in the elements when exposed to fresh air. Closing it up under a cover could restrict airflow, and promote corrosion.

What do you think?
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Old 09-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soulfinger View Post
Obviously, your winches are one the most important, and expensive pieces of equipment on your boat. Is it worth it to get covers for them? I can see it both ways:

Pro: they sit outside in the elements, all the time. Shouldn't they be protected?

Con: they're designed to be outside. Freshwater rain on them might not be that bad--rinse away the salt and dirt. Additionally, metal usually does better in the elements when exposed to fresh air. Closing it up under a cover could restrict airflow, and promote corrosion.

What do you think?
I to would like too hear some info on this. I was going to make Winch covers to keep them out of the elements, never considered that they might have problems. You're winch covers would only be on while at anchor, so I guess it depends on how much time you spend on the hook?
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Old 09-18-2009
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Self-tailers have plastic parts that don't like UV.

There may be increased grease wash-out, but I doubt it is important with good water proof grease. I've never seen that, even with several years of neglect.

So, rain is good, sun is bad? Certainly the material should not be water proof.

All of the points are good ones and I would like to hear more.
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Old 09-18-2009
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It never occurred to me to cover my winches until today. When I inserted a winch handle and got squirted in the face by the water that had accumulated in the socket during the recent rains.

I have trouble believing that, in 19 years of sailing, this is the first time that every happened to me.
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Old 09-19-2009
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Umm, winch maintenance should be done like reefing your mainsail. When you think it needs to be done it is already too late.
It is not that difficult to clean and re-lube a winch but it takes some time to first figure it out and is best done tied up at a dock or on the hard rather then when it jams in a storm.
I can't weigh in on winch covers as they seem like extra frippery to me, like a chefs hat or a car cover. Waterproof grease and proper maintenance will do the most for extending the life of your winches.
We have some original 42 year old winches on our boat that need a good cleaning and lubricating. The winches tell you when you need to do the maintenance by the sound they make when pulling a line around them. Listen to your boat and it's parts; they are all talking to you.
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Old 09-19-2009
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Pro: you don't need to clean the bird **** off the winch before you go sailing.
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Old 09-19-2009
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Pro: They look pretty when color coordinated with the sail cover and the bimini.

The winches on my 1981 Hunter have never been covered, have sat out in the Bahamas sun for the past 10 years, and still work fine.
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Old 09-19-2009
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In Florida, I had cover on my little 26 Commodore for 7 or more years and never had any problem with them... actually didn't even know they should probably be serviced regularly.

In the Caribbean, on my 36 after 3 years I had one winch that would stick and not lock immediately a couple of times and had a guy show me how to clean it. Only then did I find out I should service them about every year!

I don't see anyone in the Caribbean with covers, well actually maybe twice as I recall but only one seemed to have a full complement. That may be the reason, they can be so easily lost and just something else you have to store and retrieve between sails. I think if I were someplace where lots of dirt or possibly ice could accumulate I would consider them. Until I see some $$$ value to having them in the Caribbean I'll probably pass.
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Old 09-19-2009
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I think winch covers were born back in the days when winches were made of stuff other that stainless steel (Tufnol, et al) and needed protecting from the sun.

Maybe the non-stainless parts of a self-tailer could be protected but my winches are nearly 20 years old, been in the sun all that time and are still good.

The mission of covering, uncovering, stowing covers, fixing covers, making new covers every 2nd season, doesn't have any appeal for me.
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Old 09-19-2009
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They blow off. There's little more useless tham one winch cover...of course you can just switch that one back and forth on even/odd days and.......oh, I'm so confused!!!
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