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How do you know what size winch you need for a specific boat? I would like to install two additional winches on our boat and these babies are expensive and I don't want to get them overly large but I also don't want them undersized. We have a 1999 Beneteau 352. Thanks for your help.
 

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Check out Lewmar's website. They have a chart in their manual for winches that help you see what winch is recommended for what job (halyard, sheet, etc) and for what boat (good to know your sail dimensions). Harken has something similar. If you are in doubt , go up a size.

Tod
 

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Winches are sized according to load, physical space, size of line, and personal preference. Then there are choices of self tailing, gearing, etc.

It would help if you said what they are to be used for.
 

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The easiest way is to first figure out the maximum amount of force you want to apply to the winch handle, somewhere around 40-50lbs is a good maximum. Then figure out what the maximum sheet will be based upon the sails you have. Divide the max load by the max force you want to apply and that gives you the minimum power ratio you need in a winch.

My advice is to still go up a size from there if it will fit. I have known a lot of people who complain about to small of winches, never that they are too big.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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For me sheet winches can never be too large especially if you are going to be using them a lot. We have Lewmar 65s for primaries and they have made our sailing much, much easier on a boat with a big rig. My wife can handle things comfortably when it is honking and she wants to reef, unreel, whatever. Cost of course is a different matter. Our primaries and secondaries would cost over $12k to replace - glad they were on the boat when we bought it. What do they say, it only hurts once.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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I replaced a pair of chrome plated bronze Barlow 24ST winches on my O'day 35 (12K lbs, 135% Jib) with a pair of Andersen 40 FULL STAINLESS Self Tailing winches.
OLD:

NEW:


It was a dramatic improvement. I believe that the Andersen "Power-Rib" will be easier on the sheets, and is not just marketing BS, and because they are completely made from highly polished stainless steel, the finish will not pit.

The size 40 winch is more powerful, yet smaller than the Barlow 24.

That said, I could have gone up to the Andersen 46 to make line handling even easier. When it comes to winches, bigger is always better - although not for your wallet.
 

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If I was replacing winches on a "late model" boat, I'd go at least one size, if not two sizes up from what the factory installed - they are invariably undersized in my experience.

My old custom Quarter Pounder had primaries the same size as a friends current Hunter 38.
 
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