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Old 09-02-2012
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Winch handles in or out?

Our boat always runs offshore races with a jib winch handle always on the drum for trimming.
We also have a "double German" mainsheet system so there are 2 more handles on the winch drums for quick adjustment.

Had a guest sail with us a few weeks ago who said it was bad form to leave the handles in. Not sure why. Maybe they catch on lines.

What do others think/do?
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: Winch handles in or out?

If the pawls should break or somehow disengage,not likely, but still possible, the load would spin the handle with a great deal of force.

I remove the handle almost all the time, but if it is such that the winch is lightly loaded and frequent trimming is needed-- say, spin sheet with light wind--I might leave the handle in.
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: Winch handles in or out?

When racing winch handles tend to be left in as they are needed and a used more often. When cruising winch handles are removed as they can be easily dropped overboard and they represent a a tripping hazard.
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Old 09-02-2012
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Winch handles in or out?

I agree with jackdale. But when in and not actively being used, we position the handle so it's outboard in case someone falls into it. That's not perfect but lessens the chance of being impaled. But when cruising , handles usually come out.
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: Winch handles in or out?

Back in the dark ages winch handles didn't all lock and were VERY heavy (chromed steel), handles left in were gonna get knocked off to ding the boat (or a foot) and go overboard.
Seems like it's the Captain's call nowadays and might be considered bad form for a guest to remark upon.
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: Winch handles in or out?

Racing or cruising we always leave tge handle in the active winch. They are all locking handles of course. While it is true that a worn or damaged winch can kick back and cause injury, that is only going to happen when the sheet is un cleated, and the handle being used anyway. When we are cruising and I want to make an adjustment to the sail I just want to reach down and give it a grind, not grab the handle, put it in the winch, make my adjustment, remove the handle, and put it back in the pocket!
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: Winch handles in or out?

On the mast the handle is out and away, but the jib winch stays in.
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Re: Winch handles in or out?

On an electric winch the handle should not be left in. Some do not have a lock out for the handle. If you hit the switch with the handle in you are in for a nasty shock. It spins like crazy and do grievious injury.
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Re: Winch handles in or out?

I tend to leave the handle in the active winch. Sure back in the days when handles didn't lock in it was unwise to do so but I'm thinking time moves on.

Exception would be when on a longish leg coastal or offshore. Then I'll slip it into the pocket if the wind is steady but really that is simply being tidy. Bit like slipping sheet ends into bags. Gives you something to do and makes you feel boat proud.
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