28 September 2012

Project: The Egoist Winch

in the front: The Egoist Winch

Our boat has eight winches. And we use and need them all. For non sailors, you use them to handle the lines (sheets or halyards). If you get a lot of wind you cannot hold the lines anymore - a winch gives you the power to reel in lines even if you have a lot of pressure on them.

The only thing we missed was a winch for reefing our big genoa. We always had to change the lines, which meant the sail was flaking in the wind and having a lot of pressure on the line while doing so. Don't get me wrong - it was doable. But when sailing at night and in particular during Rahel's watch she had to wake me up to give her a hand. Since I did not like that very much it was time to mount a little winch for that purpose. Rahel calls that now the "Egoist winch". I can live with that.

Winches are coming in different sizes and types. The best ones are self tailing, means they are holding the lines themselves and some others have even different gears for handeling higher pressure with a slower but more powerful gear. Of course, there are also electric winches, but that's a whole different class. The reason why we've chosen the smallest one possible is the fact that this little, nice looking drums cost a fortune. The bigger winches you see in the pics have two gears and weigh over 12kg a piece! You could easily spend a few thousand bucks for one of them!

Mounting a winch is pretty straight forward - you need five screws, a drill, a bit of rubber seal and voilĂ . Of course that's naked theory. In fact you need to choose a spot where you can freely spin the winch handle without breaking your fingers on the bimini holders. But most important is to know that even a little winch holds the whole pressure of the line - and that can be several hundred kilograms - proper mounting is therefore inevitable. So the screws must be "through bolted" means you need access from below, not always easy on a boat where all the technical stuff runs below deck. It would be a bad thing if the winch was ripped out in a storm and 3kg of iron were flying towards your head! So finding the spot where you can properly counter support the screws with big fender washers or even a stainless plate from below deck is crucial.

In fact, mounting the winch took us roughly an hour. Discussing the best spot, measuring, counter measure from above and below and then ensure again that all is accurate with templates before we drilled holes through the deck took us almost a day. I admit, thats mainly because I'm turning into a wimpy when I have to drill holes into beloved Habibi......

"naked" winch - only one gear

phew - we didn't hit any wires!

additional chafe protection mounted

big and small winch

Yes, I love my little "Egoist winch", it does not just make sailing more comfortable and safer - it may also give me some hours of additional sleep!

1 comment:

  1. I need to add these as well. Nice job on the install. It has to be difficult deciding on the position. Good spot.