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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Proper winch technique?
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Thread: Proper winch technique? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-07-2014 07:00 PM
jeremiahblatz
Re: Proper winch technique?

For avoiding the twists, I find it helps to keep a little tension on the sheet as it pulls through my hand as it eases. This tends to straighten out the line before it runs through the fairlead. As for the stiff lines, they may have a lot of salt in them. A soak in fresh water might soften them up a bit.
05-07-2014 05:46 PM
Uricanejack
Re: Proper winch technique?

I tend to agree with Jackdale about winch technique. Though I add in lean over the winch as you put the wrap on and keep your hand about a foot away from the drum.

Stand above and pull straight up. as said by med sailor.

Never found a coiled sheet to be a problem.
Lines wet which have dried can be stiff. if they are a bit kinked chuck the tail over and two for a while it will remove any kinks
05-04-2014 07:30 PM
Mycroft
Re: Proper winch technique?

I've noticed that jams are caused more often by stiff rope. Is there a preferred (easy?) way to remove the stiffness from jib sheets? The rope "remembers" the curl after removing it from the winch, which causes it to jam in the block.
05-04-2014 02:30 PM
MedSailor
Re: Proper winch technique?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bristol299bob View Post
How do you avoid, or cope with, twists in the sheet that form when you unwrap? These twists tend to jam in the jib car as the jib moves across.

You can see the twists I mean in the video at about 2:20. I single hand so rather than "let it fly" and pull in on the new leeward side I let it fly ... Then pull in, then back to the windward side and un-jam ... Then haul in on the leeward ... Then back to windward to un-jam, then back to leeward for the final adjustment. Very inelegant, maddening at times.

Is it technique, or perhaps I need a more slippery jib sheet?
Great question. It's not a matter of a more slippery jib sheet, as you want it to be as grippy as possible for both you and the winch.

Before you even get ready to start un-cleating or unwrapping anything, make sure the tail of your sheet is free to run and you're not standing on it, and it is not kinked or self-knotted on the cockpit floor.

The best way to release, without fouling, is to first take a couple wraps off the winch so that you have the minimum number of wraps on the winch before releasing. In heavy air, if you take 2 wraps out of the original 4 you may not be able to hold the sheet, so maybe you only take one off. In light air, you can take all but the last wrap off and still maintain the jib trim where it is in preparation for release and tacking.

Once you have taken as many wraps as you can off of the winch, stand over the winch, and look down at it from above. Imaging looking straight down the winch hole. Now when you release, you don't toss the line to the side, you PULL UP towards the point you are viewing from. Or put another way, pull the line swiftly straight up and off the winch. This requires a quick tug and let go technique and the line quickly frees itself and tries to run away.

On non-self tailing winches this technique works best as there is little at the top of the winch drum to get in the way of a swift unraveling. This type of unraveling of the winch from above is also how fishing line flies off of a spin-cast reel.


If the winch is a self tailing winch, the self tailing tab/guide at the top can get in the way. On these type of winches I still pull from above, but instead of a perfectly in-line upward pull, I "flip" the line around in an counter-clockwise fashion as I'm pulling up. It's almost the same arm and hand motion as working the winch handle, but you are pulling the line up and away from the winch at the same time.

Give it a go, and happy tacking!

MedSailor
05-04-2014 02:25 PM
jackdale
Re: Proper winch technique?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bristol299bob View Post
How do you avoid, or cope with, twists in the sheet that form when you unwrap? These twists tend to jam in the jib car as the jib moves across.

You can see the twists I mean in the video at about 2:20. I single hand so rather than "let it fly" and pull in on the new leeward side I let it fly ... Then pull in, then back to the windward side and un-jam ... Then haul in on the leeward ... Then back to windward to un-jam, then back to leeward for the final adjustment. Very inelegant, maddening at times.

Is it technique, or perhaps I need a more slippery jib sheet?
I flake the sheets rather than coil. (Actually I flake rather than coil in almost all instances.) That seems to help avoiding jams.

As well single-handing - you can take the lazy sheet across the cockpit with you. A quick tug should release the jam.
05-04-2014 02:18 PM
bristol299bob
Re: Proper winch technique?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
1) Too many wraps on the winch to start. You really only need two (maybe three to start. This one will have 5 when finished. That is a clear invitation to an override.

2) The line should be held with the thumbs away from the winch, it is easier to pull on the line that way. And easier to let go if needed.

3) The other hand should never be used loop lines onto the winch. Having your hand inside the bight could result in that hand being jammed into the winch if the line starts to run.

This is a good video.



I teach three the standards for 4 different organizations. They all agree on this approach to winch safety.
How do you avoid, or cope with, twists in the sheet that form when you unwrap? These twists tend to jam in the jib car as the jib moves across.

You can see the twists I mean in the video at about 2:20. I single hand so rather than "let it fly" and pull in on the new leeward side I let it fly ... Then pull in, then back to the windward side and un-jam ... Then haul in on the leeward ... Then back to windward to un-jam, then back to leeward for the final adjustment. Very inelegant, maddening at times.

Is it technique, or perhaps I need a more slippery jib sheet?
05-04-2014 09:39 AM
killarney_sailor
Re: Proper winch technique?

I thought you said 'proper wench technique' … never mind.
05-03-2014 11:11 PM
jackdale
Re: Proper winch technique?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlzO View Post
I'm curious if the picture was originally reversed in the article and was recently fixed, or if though the magic of interwebs, it seems to just end up that way on the threads on here and other forums when posted

(The ASA video... I keep expecting to hear "Inconceivable!"...)
The original image has been fixed.

I still insist that the photo is poor winch technique.
05-03-2014 09:34 PM
CharlzO
Re: Proper winch technique?

I'm curious if the picture was originally reversed in the article and was recently fixed, or if though the magic of interwebs, it seems to just end up that way on the threads on here and other forums when posted

(The ASA video... I keep expecting to hear "Inconceivable!"...)
05-03-2014 08:23 PM
jackdale
Re: Proper winch technique?

1) Too many wraps on the winch to start. You really only need two (maybe three to start. This one will have 5 when finished. That is a clear invitation to an override.

2) The line should be held with the thumbs away from the winch, it is easier to pull on the line that way. And easier to let go if needed.

3) The other hand should never be used loop lines onto the winch. Having your hand inside the bight could result in that hand being jammed into the winch if the line starts to run.

This is a good video.



I teach three the standards for 4 different organizations. They all agree on this approach to winch safety.
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