Before you invest a g-zillion bucks in electric
or hydraulic winches, I'd suggest you consider a couple of things.
1. Absolutely, bigger is better, as most have said. BTW, it's not true
at all that bigger winches mean slower trimming. Quite the opposite. They derive their power both from gearing and from diameter
2. Self-tailing winches are the only way to go. Make it much, much easier for a single-hander or a couple to handle.
3. Given proper winch
size and setup, a reasonably strong person can easily handle a 500-600 sq ft genoa
. I'm gettin' up there in years, but can handle my 600 sq ft #2 genoa
just fine with my Barient
32ST's, while the smaller Barient
28ST's are just OK for the 100% jib
(485 sq ft). When it blows up, you really need the larger 32's.
4. Very important: you can sail your cruising boat without any winches! You can even tack her upwind without winches. But, you need to be very experienced and quick with helsmanship and with sail handling. By timing the speed at which your bow passes through the wind
, and sheeting in promptly, you can trim your headsail pretty well by hand, requiring just a touchup with the winches. And, you can always head
up a bit briefly to help with sheeting in.
While it might seem with a cutter
that you need extra hands, when tacking upwind in a narrow channel you can just sheet the staysail midships and forget it. Just trim the genoa when you tack.
I'm not against electric
or hydraulic winches. I actually have one...a Lewmar
which I found was necessary to handle my Leisure-furl roller-furling main. But they do add complexity and expense, and may not be necessary at all, depending on your abilities and your cruising intentions.