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OK so I got a great deal on some self-tailing Harken winches and decided to replace my jib sheet winches. My previous winch was a Lewmar, not self-tailing. I removed the old winch and now I have questions:

The holes don't align so I guess I have to fill them and drill new ones. What is the best way to fill the holes? Fiberglass or is there another product I could/should use?

The winch was mounted directly to the deck. The deck is made out of fiberglass with plywood inside (Tartan 3000 1982, I can see the plywood from underneath). I read some of the old posts on this board and they mention using a mounting plate. Do I need to do that? Should I reinforce the base in any way?

Thanks,
Kim
 

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One of None
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Kim put tape on the bottom of the holes and fill with epoxy, thick mix. Then drill new holes. a backing plate should be made out of metal but my guess is you never had one for the original winches. where,how did you find a great deal on st winches?? I've never found even a hint of a good deal on STers. good luck and congrats on your good deal!
 

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By using the search function on this site for terms like "deck core repair", "drill and fill" and "backing plates", you will get all the information you need.

If that fails, get Don Casey's illustrated guide. Use circular 1/4 aluminum backing plates to spread the load and try to keep the area dry until the fibreglass and fill "donut" has set up. The key is to keep water from just sitting down those bolt holes, so put caulking around the threads until it squishes a bit when the winch base is finger-tight. Wait 24 hours for the caulk to firm up, then tighten it down as per the suggested torque.

If you service your winches during the installation (and you should), get spare pawls and springs for that winch model and get a plastic dish pan with a winch base sized hole in the middle. Put this plastic pan over the base and THEN try the routine of getting the winch over its gears and seated on the pawls.

You can thank me for this idea later!
 

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If you service your winches during the installation (and you should), get spare pawls and springs for that winch model and get a plastic dish pan with a winch base sized hole in the middle.
You can thank me for this idea later!
Valiente - interesting point you make about servicing new winches during installation. Why do you recommend this?
 

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I'm not expert.. but I have used marine ply for backing plates.
I cut the marine ply, drill pilot holes, and then paint the marine
ply with clear expoxy [west] .. probably not as good as metal,
but easier to cut, drill. With the epoxy painted on, I think that
helps.. tell me if I am doing something wrong..
 

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My guess is that Tartan went and replaced the balsa core with marine plywood to act as a backing plate for the winch installation, since marine plywood has a much higher compressive strength compared to foam or balsa.

I would highly recommend you fill the holes with thickened epoxy and then drill the new holes, pot them properly and then add a fiberglass backing plate underneath the deck.
 
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