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Re: Winch safety
Its been 30 years since I did my basic keel boat course, the winch technique was different compared with the video regarding adding the wraps on the winch.
First, always wear gloves.
Hold the line with your right hand with your left hand at least 6 inches behind the winch with palm up. The reason for the distance behind the winch is so your fingers can't be jerked into the winch.
Put the line over the finger tips forming a loop back over the winch.
Pull the line back with your right hand while dropping the loop with your left hand.
Repeat the loop over the left hand again, loop over the winch and pull with the right hand while dropping with the left hand.
Then with two wraps on the winch, haul by hand as far as possible.
As the winch loads up, add extra wraps using the loop in the left hand clear of the winch and pulling the loop over the winch with the right hand while dropping the loop from the left hand.
Once the winch had enough wraps then put the handle in and grind.
Remove the handle.
Easing the line was done by feeding the tail back onto the winch.
Removing wraps from the winch was done with the right hand over the winch spinning the tail in a spiral pulling the wraps off the winch.
I've raced in pretty severe conditions on small keel boats and that technique worked well over the years and kept my fingers and hands safe, even with gear failures and some severe line whips.
The only rope injury I received was my own fault when I started a cruise and left my gloves off. the rope burn I received from the main sheet taught me to wear gloves at all times while the sails are up.
The gloves also keep the sun off your hands which can't hurt in our climate where skin cancer is a real hazard.
I have used a second line and another winch to take load off a line on a winch with a tangle.
Also have a sharp knife available to cut lines free, you may not have time to untangle a winch if there is someone trapped by a line or there is a gear failure.
Never put crew or limbs inside spinnaker lines where they run aft to turning blocks unless absolutely necessary.
Always handle lines as if the gear might fail at anytime, hence always keep the tails clear of your feet and drop them away from your body. When racing, I would drop the jib sheets forward on the cockpit floor where they would fly cleanly during a tack.
I had a similar habit of dropping the spinnaker or jib halyard down the hatch so it would be free with little or no chance of tangle.
Never leave the line wrapped on the winch when letting the line fly with no tension, they have a habit of getting tangled on the winch.
Also learn to cross winch (if the cockpit is set up for it), its easier to use the leeward jib sheet winch as a turning block (one wrap) then wrap and grind on the windward winch. All assuming your cockpit is free of people wanting to use the area between the two winches.
Last edited by INMA; 03-12-2012 at 01:33 PM.