There is no discussion of gear used on a sailing boat without mentioning the winch. Before winches became widely used, a reasonable amount of body strength was needed for sailing, among other skills. There are so many sheets, lines and ropes on board that have to be pulled or ‘trimmed’ at a certain time and with a certain tension.
Therefore, the maintenance of sails and other gear required a certain body strength. After winches became widely used, the amount of body strength was lowered, but the need for well trimming is still present. Winches help trimmers to trim the line much faster than before while using less strength.
The most important thing to know about winches is that they all rotate clockwise and clockwise only. They are most commonly accompanied by the ‘handle‘. Most problems with using the handle arise from determining to which side the winch rotates. The handle can be rotated in both directions, but the winch always rotates clockwise. The moment the trimmer reaches the point when turning the handle becomes too hard, it changes sides and the tension to the handle is reduced.
Luxury sailing boats along with motor yachts are increasingly equipped with electric winches. On the luxury sailing yachts, they are commonly used for lifting the mainsails, which are larger and heavier than the ones on standard sailing boats. Since sails are not used on the motor yachts and speedboats, electric winches serve their purpose when using mooring ropes and lines.
The system of cog wheels forms the core of every winch and, in a case of malfunction, its repairing requires the knowledge of an authorized expert.
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!