Winch handles (where)? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-14-2008
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Winch handles (where)?

We have the standard two winches for the jib and one for the main sheet. Catalina 30. I'm a big fan of using the handle then putting it back in the holder on the pedestal. Some crew like to leave it where they last left it.

My theory is that:
1. releasing a line fast is a safety issue that stopping to remove a handle slows down.
2. Looking around for the winch handle slows things down more often than having the handle where you left it last is helpfull.

What is your policy?
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Old 12-14-2008
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David, normally I leave the handles in the sheet in service, (normally for constant trim), and off the not in service winches.

Therefore, I leave them on the low side winches. (note my main is sheeted in either from port or starboard).

See photo bellow

Once someone is handling the sheets its up to them how they prefer..either in the pockets or on..but generally they stay on all times.

If you are sailing along in a relaxed manner, leaving them off is good, but all depends on your habits..even cruising I leave them on.

In an emergency the removal is quite fast.


Last edited by Giulietta; 12-14-2008 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 12-14-2008
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We do as Giu -- leave it locked in place on the leeward side for ease of trimming/tweeking. It gets moved to the opposite winch just prior to tacking.
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Old 12-14-2008
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I'll guess I'll have to get over my obsessive behavior.
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Old 12-14-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I'll guess I'll have to get over my obsessive behavior.
Nah, just do it whatever way makes you happy. No right or wrong, we all have our preferences...
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Old 12-14-2008
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One other question:
How many of you have spare winch handles on board for when Mr/Mis Butterfingers try to use it and it goes over the side??
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I have 6 handles on use and two spares in a box
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Old 12-14-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giulietta View Post
I have 6 handles on use and two spares in a box
Good for you.
I charter a lot, often with inexperienced crew.
Usually only two handles are on board with some old spare (non locking is standard for spare).
Often the locking spring is broke (due to mishandling), so my normal policy is: handle goes in the pocket after use.
But the policy is not strict and we often leave them in the working winch if the locking mechanism works - specially those one-hand-release models, which are great.
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Old 12-15-2008
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I have about four on each boat. My spare ones are the floating kind...they aren't great winch handles, in my opinion, but I'll be damned if I'll lose the last ones!

My habit, such as it is, is to leave only one winch handle in use in the weather-side winch. I will keep a spare in a pocket or otherwise secured in the cockpit. I also prefer to raise halyards from the mast and will keep a winch handle in a pocket there.

As part of tacking with a crew, I will ask for the winch handle to be handed up to "the high side", and I make sure the winch is still "pre-loaded" with two to four wraps (depending on the winds and the ultimate point of sail). Then I say "ready about", put the helm down and release the now lee sheet just as the sail is crossing the centerline. By this point, the crew is grinding and I start to haul in. This can mean I am handling both sheets at once: letting the lee sheet run out in a controlled fashion as I am hauling in the weather sheet. I will haul in the weather sheet one-handed for the first little bit and then two-handed as needed. Obviously, this works best on a boat with a smaller cockpit and a tiller, as I can steer with my knees!

My reason for not just throwing off the lee sheet is speed and the reduction of wear on the foresail due to flogging...I want the wind and not the sheets to move the sail to the new side, and if I essentially keep a bit of tension on the clew as I tack, the sail doesn't flog, and the likelihood of needing to skirt a big genoa is, I find, reduced. Anyway, this works for me.

Even though we cruise, we like to handle sails and tack and gybe as if we were racing, primarily because we like to sail efficiently, and also because so much of the boat's power is based in inertia of all that keel weigh moving forward. If you can efficiently tack and gybe, you keep boat speed up and can keep the sails drawing. This is also why I tend to "over-tack" slightly, to get the sails pulling nicely and steering to a close-hauled angle as we are grinding the sheet in. All these methods I learned from racing, although in club racing, it is rare to see them all on the same boat, or being done smoothly. Backwinding the genoa or jib slightly mid-tack is something I only see on smaller boats, (and it doesn't work that well in light airs), but it's a good method. As Alex is often saying in his videos: try it, experiment, see if you like it.

About the only thing I would change in my current set-up is to switch to those one-handed locking winch handles. My wife has smallish hands and my son is seven: being able to remove a winch handle one-handed as I can usually do would be a big advantage to them because they could keep one hand free for the boat or to better hand the tailer the sheet for a nice, fast sheeting in.

Last edited by Valiente; 12-15-2008 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 12-15-2008
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I have a handle in a pocket on the mast for halyards and one in a pocket in the cockpit for sheets. I have three spare handles in the cockpit locker.

I absolutely concur with Valiente's comments on tacking. When I raced regularly we discovered that slowing down the tack a bit (helm less aggressively put down) we could get the foresail across and sheeted in with minimum grinding and consequently were trimmed faster. When cruising, my goal is to tack as slowly as I can without losing all boat speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
About the only thing I would change in my current set-up is to switch to those one-handed locking winch handles.


These are now my primary winch handles (I got the regular grip). They are absolutely great and have essentially eliminated all fumbles.
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