Rainy day winch surgey

13 Jul

As much as we might try to delude ourselves, there’s no getting around the weather on a sailboat, not even when it’s resting soundly on two inches of gravel. I’ve run out of in-the-boat jobs (for launching, that is) and am down to one epoxy job I can do in the shop for 20 minutes at a time. The rest of the items on the launch list are on the topsides where they have been intermittently soaked for the past week and a half. This, I suppose, is the natural compliment to the artificial lake that has been flowing under my boat for the same week and a half. And I’m supposed to be in the eleventh hour of launch…

Still, things have been happening, as they’ll continue to tomorrow, as long as I get at least enough sun for a fair shot at biking out to the boat without getting dumped on. I’ve found this a good indicator of when I’ll be able to at least get a little work done in between squalls.

I took the two speed genoa winches apart yesterday. Though it doesn’t show up well under my shop lighting, they are quite beautiful in their simplicity and craftsmanship.

A single bolt is the only fastener in the winch
Then out come the guts

These two whistle-shaped pawls spring into notches in the top of the winch shell as it rotates around on its cone bearings (the tall skinny bits poking up in the outside ring- they normally sit lower on the winch body than in this photo)
The shell, with notches for the pawls to drop into
In one direction the spring-loaded pawls can slide over the notches while in the other they catch so that the shell is unable to spin back and unfurl the line. Two sets of pawls = two speeds.

 Without any self-tailing bits to complicate things these winches are so simple that it took less than a half hour per for the surgery. Things were in such good shape that I did little more than add a bit of oil here (to stop the pawls from sticking) and a little grease there (to smooth everything up, and keep water out) before putting them back together. Now they’re smooth and silent but I have one less task left to fill up my involuntary shop time.

Here’s to hoping for sunny days sometime this week…

This article was syndicated from Safe At Harbour But Meant For The Sea: DIY Sailing with Paul Calder


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