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post #10 of Old 07-19-2019 Thread Starter
Learning the HARD way...
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Hey, free stuff in the Bay!! Just kidding, I'd PM in the unlikely event I ran across it.

Found two things curious. First, that you thought it surprising that something you paid $38 for thirteen years ago would appreciate to $50 today. That about 2% per year.

Secondly, why bother with floating? They don't seem recoverable, at least by their original owner.

I've never had a floating handle. Are there other advantages with weight, etc? Intuitively, I would think them to be less sturdy, but floating boat hooks are just as good, I suppose. I have recovered the floating boat hook, more than once. The wife has a habit of hiking them link a football, after she retrieves a mooring pennant.
Yes, I suppose that it isn't a tremendous increase. My surprise is because the handle design is unchanged since 2006.

The floating handle gives you a chance at (tempts you with) recovery. Twice, I have had students knock the heavy metal Lewmar winch handles overboard. We did not even look for them. You would be surprised at how strong these plastic (fiber reinforced nylon I think) handles are.

Most of the reason I posted the story above is that I was ashamed at how stupid I was in trying to recover the damn handle while single handed. I like to think that my judgement is better than this. I hope that others learn from my mistake. It simply wasn't worth risking my boat (possibly my life - I used to be a good swimmer but I don't know about swimming half a mile in a cross current) over a $40, easily replaced handle (the replacement was ordered before I left the boat - and I had TWO 10-inch spares). Because I have taught so many MOB drills, I was over confident in my ability to recover the handle, and I neglected to don my PFD which was sitting on the deck under the dodger.

My point is this; if you drop something overboard on a cruising boat (high freeboard - not a daysailer), before you jump into MOB rescue mode take a moment to consider: 1 how you are going to retrieve the damn thing (I eventually grabbed a fish net from down below but this is how I lost sight of the handle), and 2 consider the consequences of your falling in while attempting recovery. If I were on one of the Colgate 26s that I have taught on, recovery would have been easy. Reach over (on the leeward side) and retrieve it. If I had a second person that could have taken the wheel (not Otto Helm), the consequences of my falling in would have been that I needed a towel. However, with 3+ feet of freeboard, and as a single hander, I should have either initially tried to recover with the net (I don't think that a boat hook would have worked), or simply left it there.

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USCG Licensed OUPV Captain, US/Sailing BKB and ASA 101/103/104/105/106/114/118 Instructor - Also ABYC certified in Marine Electrical Systems,

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Last edited by eherlihy; 07-19-2019 at 11:35 AM. Reason: typo
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