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Old 12-20-2012
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Size Numbering on Winches

I have always been in the dark about exactly what the numbers on winches mean. They seem to vary from brand to brand but also era to era. I found an explanation on another board here Winch Sizes are they all the same? [Archive] - Yachting and Boating World Forums that says the number is a multiplier of the force delivered to a standard winch handle. That sounds like a plausible explanation until they begin arguing whether Lewmar 54s are beefy enough for a 40' ketch's genoa sheets. I have a 51' sloop with nearly a 800ft2 genoa and I have Barient 36 primary winches. Now, they are from 1982 and the Lewmars in question are new but it seems to me that, somehow, these numbers do not line up or I am stronger than I think because my Barient 36s are more than enough to handle the load.

Can anyone shed light on the matter?
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Old 12-20-2012
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

They usually refer to the power ratio, so a Lewmar 40 would have a 40:1 power ratio in 2nd gear. I believe Barient deviates from that, and I am not sure what their numbers are based on. but it might be the 1st gear power ratio. A barient 37 has a power ratio of 87 in 2nd gear.

If you are retrofitting you should be looking at drum diameter and base diameter. I would think that those Lewmar 54s would be much smaller and less powerful than what you have now.
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Last edited by SchockT; 12-20-2012 at 04:05 AM.
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Old 12-20-2012
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

They are age related.
I have Lewmar 50's as primaries, but i should have 53's cos thats how old i am, but i feel like getting 70's or 80's
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

There really is no consistent naming convention for winch sizes. Some manufacturers tie it to power, others to drum size, some I have no idea what they are referencing. Generally winches with the same drum size have roughly the same power, but not always.
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Old 12-21-2012
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

Schock,

That would make sense for the high/low gearing. Once you drop into that low gear it seems like you could rip the sail in half.

After 30 years, and nearly 100,000nm the gears/pawls/etc. in the Barient 36s show no signs of wear and tear, I am just trying to satisfy my own curiosity--the only thing I replaced was one needle bearing that I dropped while cleaning and lubing a few years back. Every time I break one apart I am amazed at the ruggedness and ingenuity contained inside these (and all) winches! Thanks for the replies.
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Old 12-21-2012
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

I always thought it was the number of stitches it would take to sew you up if you fell on it face first.
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Old 12-21-2012
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

For what it's worth, the correct answer is "It Depends"

No standards were used across makers and years.
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Old 12-21-2012
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

Here I thought it was the total number opf springs and pawls you could lose overboard when servicing them.

Great explainations

Dave
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Old 12-22-2012
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

When I ordered springs and pawls from Lewmar, the guy on the phone suggested cutting a hole the size of the winch base in a cardboard box and slipping it over the winch before dismantling, to contain the tiny bits.
Thought it was a good idea and I'll pass it along.
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Old 12-23-2012
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Re: Size Numbering on Winches

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
When I ordered springs and pawls from Lewmar, the guy on the phone suggested cutting a hole the size of the winch base in a cardboard box and slipping it over the winch before dismantling, to contain the tiny bits.
Thought it was a good idea and I'll pass it along.
Thats exactley how I do it. I save my cutout, but sometime the springs are related to Murphy
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