Floating Winch Handle - Page 3 - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #21 of 28 Old 07-21-2019 Thread Starter
Learning the HARD way...
eherlihy's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Boston / Ft Myers Area
Posts: 6,986
Thanks: 398
Thanked 310 Times in 302 Posts
Rep Power: 14
Re: Floating Winch Handle

Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
I dropped a pocket knife off the dock. I used a powerful magnet to try to fish it back up, and found a child's bicycle instead.
LOL - The fish are clever, but they don't have instructions on HOW to assemble a boat. I suspect that was a failed prototype.
Minnesail likes this.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

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

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
eherlihy is online now  
Sponsored Links
post #22 of 28 Old 07-21-2019
Senior Member
captflood's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North West England Wirral oppersit Liverpool
Posts: 360
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 10
Re: Floating Winch Handle

GREETINGS EARTHLINGS : call me old school but why not drill a small hole in the main arm and put a lanyard on it and that can then get affixed to the winch or the boat but I am a FAN of never leaving it unattended in the winch AS ALWAYS GO SAFE .
eherlihy and Minnesail like this.
captflood is offline  
post #23 of 28 Old 07-21-2019
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,466
Thanks: 12
Thanked 80 Times in 78 Posts
Rep Power: 18
Re: Floating Winch Handle

I know the conventional wisdom is to remove the winch handle when it's not in active use, but I'm a racer and fairly frequent singlehander, and do what is safe and efficient.

I usually leave the winch handle in the winch at all times, except in strong, gusty air when I might have to blow the sheet suddenly. I make small adjustments to sheet tension frequently, and it's inefficient to keep inserting and removing the winch handle every time, especially when singlehanding. Before each tack I put 2-3 wraps on the lazy winch and move the winch handle from the working winch to the lazy winch. By doing those things before the tack, I don't have to do them afterward, when time is limited and I don't have enough hands to do everything. The winch handle usually stays in the winch until the next tack.

AFAIK, if winches are cleaned and lubed, the only way a winch handle would spin wildly would be if all the pawls broke at the same time. If that happened, I'm pretty sure I'd be smart enough to not try to grab it until it stopped spinning.

The winch handle can make it awkward if you need to put an extra wrap on the winch under load, but it can be done if you keep the line taut while you put on the extra wrap. Also, it might be in the way if you have a line override itself, but one handed winch handles can be removed easily, with one hand.

Generally, I think a winch handle should be in a winch if you intend to use it, and in a winch pocket otherwise, but, when I'm racing, it's used frequently.
Minnesail likes this.
Sailormon6 is online now  
post #24 of 28 Old 07-21-2019
Senior Member
SchockT's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: North Vancouver, BC
Posts: 2,188
Thanks: 3
Thanked 53 Times in 50 Posts
Rep Power: 8
Re: Floating Winch Handle

When sailing I keep the winch handle in the active winch so that it is there are ready to go whenever adjustments are needed. When preparing to tack the lazy sheet is loaded onto the windward winch, and the handle transferred to that winch before the tack.

I guess maybe it is a racer habit to always have the handle in the active winch. The only time the handle is in the pocket is when it is not needed because the loads are low enough to muscle the sheets.

For the record I have never seen anyone fall on a winch handle that is in a winch, even in chaotic mark roundings. I suppose it could happen...but highly unlikely. The idea that the winch handle could spin if the pawls break is also highly unlikely. While I have seen winch handles kick back due to sticking pawls, I have never seen it happen when the sheet is cleated, because that just can't happen. I'm not sure if it can even happen on a self tailing winch. A poorly maintained winch is going to start skipping cogs long before it fails completely, giving lots of warning that service is needed.

We had one grinder on one boat I raced on who was notorious for losing winch handles overboard...because he always took them out and put them on the bench beside him. After the 3rd lost harken handle we instituted a new rule...you lose it, you buy it. He was much more careful after that!

Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk
Sailormon6 likes this.

2011 Jeanneau 39i Azura
SchockT is online now  
post #25 of 28 Old 07-21-2019
Senior Member
overbored's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Dana Point, Ca
Posts: 2,740
Thanks: 2
Thanked 206 Times in 203 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Re: Floating Winch Handle

We found the best way to not loose winch handles is to buy a boat that came with electric winches. problem solved
Jeff356 likes this.

overbored is online now  
post #26 of 28 Old 07-22-2019
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 56
Thanks: 6
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 3
Re: Floating Winch Handle

Ever drop a wooden boat hook overboard? They do float, but vertically, with only a couple of inches of the metal hook visible, bobbing up and down in the waves.
wingman10 is offline  
post #27 of 28 Old 07-22-2019
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Muskegon, Mich
Posts: 412
Thanks: 2
Thanked 30 Times in 27 Posts
Rep Power: 7
I always thought the concept of a floating winch handle was pretty stupid. Especially for racers. They're not going back for it, and as the OP's story demonstrates, you're probably not going to recover it if you do. It is good practice for MOB though.
capt jgwinks is offline  
post #28 of 28 Old 07-22-2019
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: The Bahamas
Posts: 4,148
Thanks: 3
Thanked 153 Times in 151 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Re: Floating Winch Handle

I leave the handle in the sheet self tailing winch im using and double back free end of sheet so i can pull and pop it free if needed
RegisteredUser is online now  

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome