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Releasing tension on a winched line
Well, the easiest solution is for you to mount those cam cleats in front of the winch. The line runs thru, you crank the winch, lock the cam down and then you can remove the line from the winch if you want.
When releasing, most have a feature to let you ease off the tension incrementally.
If you don''t want to mount one of these locking cam cleats, then if you have a standard cleat aft of the winch, then take the tail of the line and do a half-wrap around one of the horns of the cleat and when you pull tight, it will release the line from the self-tailer without losing much, if any tension. Make sure you always have at least 3 turns on the winch and then you shouldn''t have problems with the line getting away from you.