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Old 25-01-2008, 10:50   #1
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Determining adequate winch size

Am looking at a boat that will does not have self tailing winches, and I would definitely replace. Is there a rule of thumb or formula to guide me? There is a significant cost difference between a Lewmar 44 and a Lewmar 56, so I don't want to over do it if a 56 is not necessary.
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Old 25-01-2008, 10:56   #2
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There is a significant cost difference between a Lewmar 44 and a Lewmar 56, so I don't want to over do it if a 56 is not necessary.
You need to outline the uses for any winches you plan to add. They can always be a size bigger but there is a price to consider. Jib sheets obviously take bigger winches. How many sq ft are your head sails? I would say you would go with a 2 speed before going too much bigger but it sort of depends where you atrt as far as sail area. I've had 2 speed self tailing winches on two boats now and I wouldn't want anything else.
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Old 25-01-2008, 11:43   #3
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Try Harken's "Compuspec" utlility online here: Harken Compu Spec

It can help you choose appropriately sized winches for your application.

If in any doubt, go bigger!
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Old 25-01-2008, 13:41   #4
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Catamount's right, and so is Paul. Don't be under-gunned with winches- if you sail for fun! The Harken guide's a goody, but consider what you've got on already- if it's too naff/hairdressy for the job, upsize by all means, and look at other brands. But if it works, get the same size ST version URGENTLY. Andersen do, say, a 46ST, which is a lot like a 48 to work. And also look around for specials. There have been winch-wars of late, and most of the mainline producers have cut each others' throats pricewise.
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Old 25-01-2008, 15:18   #5
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It really depends, imho, where and how you sail.
If you are a fair weather sailor in the tropics who doesnt go out above 25 kts of puts the donk on, or plans routs for downwind sailing then get whatever you can afford easily.
There will be few occasions you need to wind hard

If you sail upwind, high latitudes, Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania, NZ, USA Pacific north, Canada, USA North east, UK etc, Argentina - south; and when the wind comes up you keep sailing, if 'voyaging' is part of cruising; if 40kts means you have shortened sail but still happy to plug into it, then shake the bank manager by the ear and get winches the next step up from what you think you need.

If I was told 44 or 56 I would sell some pots, pans, and Nicolle till I could get the 56. Other thing thats handy is a long (check length to stanchions) double handed winch handle
Here
Other thing that can make it more difficult to turn is the angle of the wind when the boat is healed well over - on some boats you can be kneeling with your face 6 inches from the water with no purchase at all. However there are some weird handles bent to help.


Or as someone said the other day one of those right handed drills.


Mark
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Old 25-01-2008, 16:34   #6
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I asked a few cruisers what the best suggestion was when I was rebuilding our CL41. The first thing they told me was "get the biggest winches you can afford". After sailing for a season,Take their suggestion, you won't regret it. I haven't. We have Lewmar 52's for our jib, I would not want anything smaller unless it was powered by a motor.
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Old 25-01-2008, 17:15   #7
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Just to put it into perspective. With a two speed winch and a lot of wind I can not use the fast speed for the final adjustment maybe almost 2/3's of the way. My wife maybe a third to a half and she is three time slower than I am. Only slow speed takes too long at the beginning of a tack. As you get big enough the triple speeds start to matter on a tack but more in racing on larger boats than normal cruisers. At 50 ft boats the power winches with older sailors is maybe what you really want.

We have friends 70 years old doing Atlantic crossings and they use power winches. It can make the difference between staying home and going cruising.

You need a winch to cover both sailors in heavy conditions. Mostly my wife has trouble with the wheel when it blows hard or is choppy so she really needs a winch she can operate. Sometimes I pull the last few inches.

Comparing what we use now I would say the Lewmar sizing web application is close. It puts you in two winches (Ocean series) . The low one is OK and you could go with it, but the higher one is better if you have any sort of problem. If you want to fly 155's in a strong breeze then the bigger one is the better choice hands sown. For cruising in open ocean on a smaller Genoa then the smaller may be OK (you don't always pick the wind you get).
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Old 25-01-2008, 18:17   #8
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"I asked a few cruisers what the best suggestion was when I was rebuilding our CL41. The first thing they told me was "get the biggest winches you can afford". After sailing for a season,Take their suggestion, you won't regret it. I haven't. We have Lewmar 52's for our jib, I would not want anything smaller unless it was powered by a motor."

I agree with this size but be aware that older Lewmar 52s are larger than newer so if you buy an older one from eBay or a store that has had them in stock for a bit they might be larger and even better.

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JohnL
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Old 30-01-2008, 19:26   #9
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As always, your comments are greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-05-2008, 13:30   #10
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Primary Winches

Since first posting for information on winch size, I bought the boat in question and have sailed it in some relatively challengin weather. I am away from the boat for the next few days, and I forgot to get the exact size of the Lewmar's currently on it. Suffice to say that they are 35 years old, they are huge, they turn freely without a load - but they nearly broke my back when sailing to weather. They are not self tailing. After my first few weeks on the boat, I am very concerned about double handed sailing with my wife. There is no way she can manage these winches. It is hard for me, and having an extra hand to tail them is a big chore.

The couple that owned the boat prior to me circumnavigated with these winches. I cannot imagine how they did it - I have a great deal of respect for them!

Now I am seriously considering Pblais' advice to look into electric winches. This is an incredible boat, but currently, she is a real chore to sail. She is a cutter rig. The headsail is approx. 550 ft. sq. and the main is probably 500 ft. sq.

Lewmar seems to have the better prices in the electric winches, however the Anderson winches now have a new more compact motor design in which the motor is contained in the base of the winch housing. Not sure how they did that! Man, I can't believe I am considering electric winches - but the success of our liveaboard adventure will depend on reducing the physical effort currently required to operate this big boat (46 ft.).

Is it possible that the newer manual self tailing winches would provide more power? The winches on the boat are huge - they have about a 1 to 6 ratio in one gear and a 1 to 12 ratio in the second gear. As soon as I can post the actual size I will.
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Old 03-05-2008, 14:40   #11
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The large Lewmar 2 speeds or even a three speed manual should handle that load. You can also use a high quality 24 volt right angle drill with a winch bit without going to electric winches. I would think you are looking for something above a lewmar 44.

Were the winch self tailing it would be a lot easier too.
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Old 03-05-2008, 15:16   #12
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I have a catamaran with a 530 sq ft genoa. Primarys are Anderson ST46's. I'm a fit 42 year old, and use a double handled 10" handle. It's all I can do to sheet in the sail when it's blowing. I think a winch upgrade may be in your future.
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Old 03-05-2008, 16:26   #13
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Determining adequate wench size
I would say 44B .
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Old 03-05-2008, 18:00   #14
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We have ST48's on a genoa around 530sq.ft (maybe as much as 550 - I have not measured it accurately) and I can manage that with a double handed winch handle but I would not like to go any smaller. I am 58 years but reasonably fit, but my wife has no hope with that sized winch - she burns out energy wise winding in where she has the strength to do so if tries to maintain a reasonable sheeting speed, and then as the sheet load increases runs into a shortage of strength to wind.

I would be wary of simple recommendations to go with the biggest winch you can - it is not just as easy as that. The bigger the winch the slower you will be able to sheet in and the more energy you will burn in doing so - so just like the gears on a bike where it is easier to pedal in a low gear but in a low gear can burn yourself out because of the pedalling speed. The key thing is the force you are capable of applying to the handle, the stamina with which you can apply it over the required sheeting time, and the required sheeting time (obviously less on a cruising sail boat than a race one).

Furthermore, many winches in a range will on high speed have the same reduction - for example through the Lewmar 40 sizes and 50 sizes that one may consider for genoas around the size talked about the fast speed is approximately the same for all. This means that whichever winch of these sizes you use you will only be able to get to the same sheeting point on fast speed (which in my experience is not very far unless one luffs up to unload the sail or are very strong ), then have to revert to the slow speed and the bigger the winch the slower that will be. I find our 48's plenty slow enough on slow speed (and also find that tiring stamina wise - similarly to burning yourself up in too lower a gear on a mountain bike) but one needs to have the strength to be able to apply the applied force to the handle for the winching period (again, just like on the pedals of a bike). A 48 requires quite a bit of strength.

I would suggest talking to a good rigger or the supplier of the winch range you are interested in as to their experience with others of similar strength and stamina as yourselves. As suggested by another electric winches may turn out to be the best solution if budget allows. Whatever, to buy the wrong ones would be an expensive mistake.
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:03   #15
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Have a look here first:
Harken: Genoa System Loading
Once you've calculated the theoretical sheetloads, multiply the value by at least 130% for "comfort value" (CV)
Take the CV, and divide it by the number of the winch. Most of the leading manufacturers use the function of mechanical power of the mechanism vs a standard 10" winchhandle to calculate the theoretical handle-load on the winch on low-speed.
If you've got a 46 hauling 500 corrected kg's of sheetload (CV), there'll be just under 11kg force required on the handle, and that much effort won't make sailing a pleasure!
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