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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 10-05-2008
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Proper winch use

I was watching the Annapolis book of Seamanship Video on heavy weather sailing and the instructor kept using the winch in a back-and-forth manner, like one would use a jack. I was taught that technique would wear the winches and strickly an all the way round motion was better. Any thoughts?
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I can't see what harm it can cause. I often crank the 2speeds using partial turns back-and-forth whenever an obstruction or my body position makes full turns inconvenient. Whatever works....works.
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Last edited by sailingfool; 10-05-2008 at 09:37 AM.
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Agreed, thats' why a winch ratchets. Sometime's you just aren't in a position for a full revolution.

Ken.
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Whoever told you that you'd wear the winch out quickly doing that is an idiot...

Most larger winches are two-speed and turning the handle in one direction will give you more leverage, due to a greater gear ratio, and move less line, but there is nothing in the design of a modern winch that would make it wear more because you alternated the directions of the winch handle.

In many cases, it is far easier to "pump" the winch handle, since you can often use the small segment of arc where you have the greatest strength—where doing the complete circle with the winch handle would be much more difficult. It also allows your muscles to rest a bit as you're using both the low and high gear ratios on the winch...
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Originally Posted by GreatWhite View Post
I was watching the Annapolis book of Seamanship Video on heavy weather sailing and the instructor kept using the winch in a back-and-forth manner, like one would use a jack. I was taught that technique would wear the winches and strickly an all the way round motion was better. Any thoughts?
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Great white,

yes it does wear them out, but it is at such low rate of wear that probably you will not need to replace anything within 10 years, and with modern winches even more.

This is what happens:


Two speed winches or single speed winches have these little tangs, often callew PAWS, that are inside these slots are forced out my means of a little spring.

These paws are inside these sprockets that have teeth on the outside and notches on the inside. When you rotate the wich one way, (say for example in low speed), the paw in the low speed gear stick out and leans against the slot wall that is at 90 degrees to the paw and engages the sprocket..when you roatate the other way around, the paw is now rotating with the sprocket, but the notch is sloped so it just doesn't allow the paw to engage.

When you rotate the other way, now it's ther high speed sprocket that rotataes, because it has a similar mechanism, but with notrches in the opposite direction.

The wear on the outside of the gears and sprockets will be the same no matter how you turn them, because thrust is allways in the same direction, as the winch only rotates one way...so no wear there..they harden the side of thrust, normally anticipating that fact.

However...you do get wear, yes, inside the sprockets, where the paws are, but normally the solution is a cheap fix..they harden the notches and make the paws softer being the sacrificial component..

My say...don't worry...it's a cheap fix...

Now..I am a big fan of Lewmar winches, that to me are far better than HArken. The reason is I've had Harkes strip for no apparent reason...
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.... these little tangs, often callew PAWS, that are inside these slots are forced out my means of a little spring....
Alex,

just a minor technical correction. Dogs have PAWS, that's the part of the leg at the bottom. Winches contain PAWLS..which while spelt very similarly to paws, are a very different animal.

Ditto for the appreciation of Lewmar, I am happy to have nine of those suckers on board that have always operated flawlessly...I am careful to keep the toenails on the paws clipped.
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Last edited by sailingfool; 10-05-2008 at 09:46 AM.
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What's this back and forth stuff about...I only have one button?
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What's this back and forth stuff about...I only have one button?
Sorry Cam...you're right....

we're talking about sail, and sailboats....you wouldn't know about it..sorry...

Just ignore this thread, and jump straight to the politics ans power boat ones...


Tom...I swear I do my best...I really really thought they were called paws, because they "grip"..thanks for the correction.
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Tom...he understands hooves...not paws!
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