March 8, 2014 – A Good Hearty Winch!


Yeah, that’s right.  I did it.  How else do you think I paid for my world-class college education?  The work was hard but the tips were good.  Ok, I’m teasing, but I did do a stint at the ole’ Cracker Barrel that was probably just one notch above ‘wench-dom.’  And, unfortunately, the work was hard and the tips were bad.  But enough about those wenches, let’s get down to these winches!

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Our port side Jenny winch.

If you recall, when our rigger came out to inspect the rigging, he spun each of our winches and told us the shrill bell sound they made was not a good sign.  We also knew the starboard Jenny winch was in need of a little TLC as the winch handle would occasionally spin as we pulled the Jenny sheet through (meaning the shaft inside was sticking).  It was time to do some maintenance on our winches – disassemble, clean, oil and grease their innards and put them back together.

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We’ve got 6 winches total on our boat – 5 in the cockpit, one on the portside and starboard coamings that we use primarily for trimming the Jenny, and three on the coach roof, which we use to raise and lower the main sail, reef the main, and for the spinnaker and cunningham.  We also have another winch on the mast for raising and lowering the Jenny or the spinnaker or, basically, anything we want to raise at the mast.  Much like the bar maids at an old German tavern, the winches are the real workhorses on our boat.  We use them to raise and lower all the sails, trim the sails, raise and lower other heavy items on the boat (the dinghy, for example, as well as raising the first mate (me!) up the mast).  The winches are incredibly useful and vital to the boat.  We definitely wanted, needed them to be in sound working order for our trip to the Keys.  We started with the Jenny winches as they are the largest and strongest on our boat, self-tailing and capable of offering two speeds for cranking and holding the incredible forces exerted by the Jenny. We disassembled each:

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Cleaned the old gunk and grease off of the base and the gears.

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Cleaned the old gunk and grease off of the cover and all the gear teeth.

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And made real good use of a $3.99 Summer Fun! pitcher from Wal-Mart and some old dental tools.

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Umm … I don’t think you’ve been brushing in the back there Bob.  I’m seeing a lot of plaque here.

We cleaned and inspected all of the inner workings, and replaced a few pawl springs that appeared a little bent (or that popped out and went flying about never to be seen again during the cleaning process – always good to have spares!).  We then GREASED the gears with a little Lewmar grease, OILED the pawls and put them all back together again.

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Good as new.  Just a few hours and not too bad a project to knock out on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  We finished up the winches right around sunset and called it a day, finding ourselves suddenly craving dark, hoppy beer and bratwurst for dinner.

And, as an interesting aside, the lovely blonde wench above, while a striking competitor in Germany’s famous ‘Bar Maid’ Oktoberfest contest, did not win the grand prize.   This little sprite did.

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She hauled 6 beers in each hand, with 7 stacked on top, for a total of 19 STEINS, weighing approximately 95 pounds total.  Now that’s what I call a good hearty wench!

Keep ’em coming Hilda!  We’ll all have another round!