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How to reduce winch maintenance

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What is the issue?
Winches are expensive, have a hard life and are often subjected to very heavy loads when they are needed most. They collect grime and receive a regular dousing with seawater that needs to be attended to by regular servicing. Winches maintenance is not overly onerous, and is fairly infrequent but nevertheless a time-consuming task when it comes around.

Why address this?
A faulty winch is not only inefficient and cumbersome to use but a winch in poor condition is prone to premature failure or at least a reduced service life. Although they may look just fine on the outside, poor maintenance results in friction and inefficiency and allows corrosion to set in. Dirt and metal grind down surfaces every time the winch is used and it may even lead to a serious accident. If the winch is under strain with the winch handle in place and the pawls stick, the winch can spin backwards potentially breaking an arm or worse. So it is important to keep them in good condition and it pays to look after them. However, any means for reducing the environmental wear and extending the time in-between requisite services is welcome.

How to address this?
Make a set of winch hoods and place them over each winch when they are not in service. This helps keep the grime and salt out of the winches as much as possible, dramatically extending the periods between servicing.

Winch hoods made from old sails
Photo: Michael Harpur

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

How to Make a Winch Cover for you Boat

Modern wince service

Traditional wince service

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