I guess if you have all roller furling that removes a lot of objections. I used to have wire winches on a boat years ago and once I learned to respect them they functioned ok, but I much prefer rope winches.--- I can't understand why the are not coming back into use. After all, it's not like we are putting our sails up and down very often (once or twice a year perhaps, to check things, for us) ---
I've documented my work on my mast and rigging for my Ericson 25 on the links provided below. When I bought the boat, it had a wire-to-rope halyard that had caused some serious scoring of my mast winch. Unpleased with this set-up, I converted to an all-rope halyard.I am in the process of servicing my main halyard winch for the first time. I have broken it completely down and all of the parts including pawls, springs, gears and brake ring appear to be in fine condition. I suspect that (as with many other aspects of operating a good-sized boat) the relative safety of this device is more dependent on the user rather than just being "worthless" or "crap" as I have seen them described in other forums. This winch has been used many times to haul personnel (myself included) to the masthead with zero mishaps. I have replaced the halyard with a new length of 1/4" Krypton-D line and it seems thus far to be quite reliable. True, you gotta crank the sail all the way up but it only takes a few minutes and there are no line management issues. BTW the new line is very smooth and quiet rolling through the sheaves.
We have the same winch for our board as well. I'm not at all interested in trying to service it as I agree that parts are probably not available. I lubricate it periodically with PB Blaster and that seems to keep it working well. I do not believe it has a brake, only the reduction gear. Our board is somewhere around 2500# and the winch holds it fine in every condition we have so far encounteredI am interested in this discussion as I have a wire halyard winch on my centerboard.
I have yet to service it but it is a worry as I have no clue as to how it comes apart and am sure that spares are not available.
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