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Old 12-09-2009, 22:48   #1
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Barlow Winch w/ Brake? What's This For?

Hello Pirates,
I was down at the used boat stuff shop today and notice a nice large winch for sale for $90.

Its a Barlow (which has sold out or gone under) but its in like new condition and it has a brake on it...
I have never seen a brake on a winch and wondered what this winch might be used for... It says Barlow 6 on top.

I'm currently working on my little atkins Gaff cutter and was considering a large winch for getting the yard up... hmm a brake on the winch maybe???

Any input would be appreciated, heres a few pics

..Kev
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Old 12-09-2009, 23:42   #2
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That's a winch for steel wire. Those are responsible for more finger amputations on board than anything else. It's not a question if it happen, but when it happens. Brr...

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 12-09-2009, 23:46   #3
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I was just watching Captain Ron tonight for the first time (great movie by the way) and they have those wire halyard winches on that boat. They don't look like any fun. I didn't see a break on them though. How does the break function? Is there a catch for the line like on a self tailing winch?
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Old 13-09-2009, 00:52   #4
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The wire wraps around them and stays on the spool...I've only seen them used for halyard winches.
There is a general feeling as Nick mentioned that they aren’t finger happy.....I'm not sure why that’s the case...is the concern getting barbs on the wire...or the brake failing...or what...I have on my boat and after 31 years no ones been hurt by them yet.
I would be very interested in understanding exactly what about them is the problem.
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Old 13-09-2009, 05:38   #5
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Don't know about finger amputations, but if you release the brake with the winch handle in the winch you can break bones when the handle starts spinning. Most say never release the brake with the winch handle in. If I wanted to do a controlled lower for a reef I would put in the handle, apply tension on the halyard like I was going to raise it more, then release the brake. That way I knew I was pulling the right way on the handle and since I had already tensioned the handle before releasing the brake there was no surprise load on the handle. Around 30 years sailing my friends Cal 34, nobody got hurt, everyone got a lesson on how to use the winch.


John
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Old 13-09-2009, 06:18   #6
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Nick,

So will sticking your fingers in the v-belts on the engine. Been sailing with wire halyard winches for 50 years and can still count to ten. Just like not holding the running end of a 2-part fall while releasing it, you have to know the correct procedure.
I do agree that modern high strength synthetics have rendered this technology redundant, not necessarily obsolete. This IMHO is driven more by modern marketing and the racing crowd than bytechnical necessity.
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Old 13-09-2009, 11:24   #7
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so this might work well for my Gaff???

OK well, I was sorta hoping that I could use this type winch to raise and lower or reef my mainsail with the yard arm.

Its abit heavy and it would be nice to have that brake there to lock it in place and maybe as stated before ,.. for reefing,

Never thought of having wire halyards though... is this still used today with all the synthetic lines available???

$90 seems like a really good price for this winch if it will do what I want..Kev
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Old 13-09-2009, 11:49   #8
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I would say that $90 is an exceptional price.
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Old 13-09-2009, 13:37   #9
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The price is good since it probably cost over a $1,000 1970 dollars when new. May work with synthetic if synthetic line diameter is the same as wire it replaces. If synthetic needs to be larger, may not be enough capacity on spool. You'll have to figure out whether it will work with line diameter that you'll need. Also check out how the line would be attached to the drum/spool. If it has sharp corners or otherwise could cut the line, wouldn't work well.
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Old 13-09-2009, 15:42   #10
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1st night out in the 1985 Sydney to Hobart race, I was onboard a 1970s style 40 somethng racing boat (Balandra). A big southerly came through early morning and we had to reef the main. In the dark, one of the crew released the brake and was hit in the head by the rapidly rotating handle that was left in.... We were 60 miles offshore and had to head for Ulladulla for urgent medical assistance. He was pretty lucky and ended up only with a cut and bad headache and after a few hours were rejoined the race.

These winches are pretty much a glorified trailer winch except they have no ractchet... The only reedeming feature is that it is a neat way of storing the halyard tail... Go for a self tailer IMHO.
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Old 13-09-2009, 16:22   #11
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I stick to my opinion that these winches are the best way to increase risk of injury aboard. Getting rid of them is what I would do. I can somehow understand others that keep them (lots of money to replace them) but I can't understand someone buying and installing this on their boat instead of a self tailing winch. Think again and think hard, there's a reason it's so cheap: nobody wants it. Imagine your loved one or a visitor screwing up with it with all the consequences etc.

I do not agree at all with the comparison with V-belts on engines as given earlier in this thread, so I will rewrite it: nobody sane would stick his fingers close to the v-belt when the engine is running while the boat is being pummeled by high winds, gusts and big waves, with water flying around your head, wearing your harness and safety line etc. But under these same conditions you would do that with this winch which is, as we obviously agree, just as unsafe to handle? It's beyond me, the risk people take for nothing.

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Old 13-09-2009, 16:54   #12
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Nick,

My point was that the very nature of our interest in sailing might put any of us under extreme and risky condition at any time. While I am on deck reducing sail with that winch, under the conditions you describe, clawing off a lee shore under motor-sail set-up, you might be below near the engine securing a loose battery, or clearing a clogged bilge pump strainer to stay ahead of the incoming ocean.

It may be a moot point anyway, because the reference is to the gaff on an Atkins Cutter. My Friendship sloop, and a Tahiti ketch I sailed both required peak and throat halyards to set the gaff. That winch would be in-appropriate in this situation
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Old 13-09-2009, 17:21   #13
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Reel Halyard Winches are OK if you are the one operating them and know what you are doing. The problem is when you take others sailing who are not used to them and they want to "help" raise/lower the sail. After a couple scary events I replaced the two RHW's on my 1966 Alberg 30 with all sta-setX line halyards and ST winches. Was a good move for my nerves.
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Old 13-09-2009, 20:46   #14
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RedCobra: good call, that is exactly what I mean.

Blue Stocking: just because sailing isn't as safe as sleeping in your bed, doesn't mean you must increase the risk for serious injury. It is exactly the opposite: you must try to make it as safe as possible. If you do not take that attitude and follow the general carelessness about safety that you describe ("it's dangerous anyway, who cares if we add one more unsafe thing"), it is going to catch up with you one day.

Use modern self tailing winches, maintain them, don't grease the pawls but oil them, show guests how to use them and explain the danger so they know how to avoid it. Keeping the crew safe is your duty as the skipper.

cheers,
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Old 14-09-2009, 04:59   #15
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
... just because sailing isn't as safe as sleeping in your bed ...
Thanks Nick, I wasn't aware of that. Can you direct me to the supporting evidence?

The odds of dying - NSC
Odds of Dying - NSC

FWIW: According to the National Safety Council (above), an American is more likely to die from execution than lightning.

Why death is more likely to strike while you sleep
Why death is more likely to strike while you sleep - Times Online

Signs of death, or strong indications that a person is no longer alive are:
* Ceasing respiration, the body no longer metabolises
* Pallor mortis, paleness which happens almost instantaneously (in the 15–120 minutes after the death)
* Livor mortis, a settling of the blood in the lower (dependent) portion of the body
* Algor mortis, the reduction in body temperature following death. This is generally a steady decline until matching ambient temperature
* Rigor mortis, the limbs of the corpse become stiff (Latin rigor) and difficult to move or manipulate
* Decomposition, the reduction into simpler forms of matter
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