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These are probably old resin-kind of winches that were meant to act as friction brakes only rather than provide cranking power. The same material can be found in older padeyes, turning blocks and early cam cleats.
If they have slots in the top (or bottom) then they may accomodate a flat handle, unlike the typical 8 pointed winch handles popular nowadays. In that case you can crank on some trim. Those winches are also often found made of bronze.
If you plan to fly a spinnaker it would probably be worthwhile to cruise Craigslist and replace them with newer more efficient winches.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)