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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Winch safety
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Thread: Winch safety Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-15-2012 02:52 PM
sailordave
Re: Winch safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by dongreerps View Post
The above posts focus on hands, which is statistically far and away the area of most concern. However there is another very rare situation which can occur. That is getting something caught in the rapidly running line being cast off, or getting caught in the sheet being winched in which gets away from control. There is a lot of force there, and can be a lot of speed. If a pair of sunglasses dangling from a neck cord gets caught in a loop of line, it could get interesting. Similarly the dangling tail of a jacket or shirt could get caught between line and drum. Barquito was jesting, but a long hank of beautiful hair is at risk of being caught. Before OSHA there were rare, but regular reports of ladies hair being caught in a spinning lathe. The result was often a scalping.
+1


And IIRC a young lady from YALE was killed that way a year or so ago.
Ah,LINK.
03-15-2012 02:25 PM
dongreerps
Re: Winch safety

The above posts focus on hands, which is statistically far and away the area of most concern. However there is another very rare situation which can occur. That is getting something caught in the rapidly running line being cast off, or getting caught in the sheet being winched in which gets away from control. There is a lot of force there, and can be a lot of speed. If a pair of sunglasses dangling from a neck cord gets caught in a loop of line, it could get interesting. Similarly the dangling tail of a jacket or shirt could get caught between line and drum. Barquito was jesting, but a long hank of beautiful hair is at risk of being caught. Before OSHA there were rare, but regular reports of ladies hair being caught in a spinning lathe. The result was often a scalping.
03-15-2012 01:46 PM
Barquito
Re: Winch safety

Quote:
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.
When you are on a stbd tack the sheet going around the winch on the port side would be sheeting in with the winch stopped. When on a port tack, the leeward winch would work better as a turning block, b/c is will turn freely when sheeting in, no?
03-12-2012 01:18 PM
INMA
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.
03-02-2012 09:11 PM
Barquito
Quote:
And never wrap a line around your hand.
Oh, man... I thought for a moment you said, 'and never wrap a line around your HEAD'. Maybe that is why I am a slow learner
03-02-2012 01:45 PM
jackdale And never wrap a line around your hand.
03-02-2012 01:43 PM
dongreerps I always teach the two wraps, pinky down technique as others have advocated. We go one step further. I will not allow them to "grab" the sheet in their fist. Instead they MUST hold the sheet in finger tips. If for some reason the sheet gets away, holding it in fingertips will result in the line getting snatched away from the hand. If the sheet is held in the fist, either the hand/fingers will get pulled into the drum, or a rope burn will result. It is a PITA to learn, and remember, but it does work.
03-02-2012 01:30 PM
jackdale In each of the standards that I teach, the removal of overrides using the rolling hitch is a part of the course. I will intentionally override a winch to the teach the concept.

I used the running backstay method on our last tack into the Hardwicke Island finish of the 2007 Van Isle 360 after we had an override on a genoa sheet.

I would recommend a few practice tries before you really need to do it. On those long tacks it might give you something to do.
03-02-2012 01:29 PM
sailingfool
Quote:
Originally Posted by delite View Post
....
Unlike Jack I prefer to get my wraps in while there is no load on the winch. I think it is dangerous and unnecessary to risk my fingers by adding additional wraps once I have a load on the winch.
Not sure what you mean...if you are hand -over-handing a sheet with four or five turns on the drum, you'll get an override everytime...
03-02-2012 01:24 PM
jackdale [QUOTE=delite;839290]
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Unlike Jack I prefer to get my wraps in while there is no load on the winch. I think it is dangerous and unnecessary to risk my fingers by adding additional wraps once I have a load on the winch.
In my experience:

- starting with a full winch leads to overrides.
- with 2 wraps I can hold the line to ad additional wraps.
- wrapping a winch with one hand, with pinkies toward to the winch, is safe.
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