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Old 02-09-2012, 16:11   #1
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Electrical Winch or Windlass For Winching?

I have planned to install an electrical winch together with the other manual ones, to use for example to get the main sail up, and more.

I then wonder what the major difference is between using a regular electric self tailing winch, or instead use a windlass with capstan head for rope?
One major difference I immediately see is that the electrc winch is twice or more expensive compared with the windlass.

If anyone of you any has the knowledge or experience in this, it would be very nice.

Rolf
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Old 02-09-2012, 16:23   #2
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Re: Electrical winch or windlass for winching?

I have heard of people using a windlass to haul up the sails, but it does add complication. You would need to have a very strong turning block at the base of the mast and then a clutch to prevent the haliard from loosening. All doable, but it cuts into some of the savings. Also, as far as I know, most windlasses are not self-tailing, so that is a bit of disadvantage, though I have never had self-tailing haliard winches anyway. By the way, ever since I had a turning block explode under load and the sheeve flew by my head at probably 100 mph missing my ear by 1/2 inch, I have never liked turning blocks that have a vector pointing the sheeve towards the crew.
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Old 02-09-2012, 16:39   #3
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Re: Electrical winch or windlass for winching?

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I have heard of people using a windlass to haul up the sails, but it does add complication. You would need to have a very strong turning block at the base of the mast and then a clutch to prevent the haliard from loosening. All doable, but it cuts into some of the savings. Also, as far as I know, most windlasses are not self-tailing, so that is a bit of disadvantage, though I have never had self-tailing haliard winches anyway. By the way, ever since I had a turning block explode under load and the sheeve flew by my head at probably 100 mph missing my ear by 1/2 inch, I have never liked turning blocks that have a vector pointing the sheeve towards the crew.
Every boat that has the halyards lead aft to the cockpit(and that is pretty common these days) has the same loads on the turning blocks as one utilizing a capstan as described. Haven't heard of too many block explosions, but one would certainly want to size that bit correctly.

Cheers,

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Old 02-09-2012, 16:56   #4
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Re: Electrical winch or windlass for winching?

I raise the mainsail on my ketch with a mast 55' above the waterline with no mechanical advantage, just hand over hand hoisting, until I tighten the last foot with a hand winch on the mast. Mistakes are made with the loss of mechanical advantage by too much bending and leading of lines for "convenience". It's simple physics.- don't expend too much engergy!
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Old 02-09-2012, 17:16   #5
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Re: Electrical Winch or Windlass For Winching?

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Every boat that has the halyards lead aft to the cockpit(and that is pretty common these days) has the same loads on the turning blocks as one utilizing a capstan as described.
That's one reason I don't like to lead haliards aft to the cockpit too! I've also had a rope clutch explode under load sending shrapnel in all directions, but again, luckily, nobody was hurt. One issue I could see with using a windlass to haul up your sails is what would you do when reefing? It would be hard, on a pitching foredeck, to run the windlass while someone was at the mast tending to the reef.
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Old 02-09-2012, 18:38   #6
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Re: Electrical Winch or Windlass For Winching?

One major problem is that a mechanised winch will give you little feel of what's going on. It would be easy to have a foul up and ruin gear before you know it.
Maybe a slip clutch or an overload switch could take care of this.
Regards,
Richard.
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Old 04-09-2012, 13:35   #7
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Re: Electrical Winch or Windlass For Winching?

I'd start with reducing friction. I've had clients that thought they needed a powered winch and when we got done a 9 year old could hoist the main most of the way.

What kind of boat is it?
What type of main (fully battened, partial full battens, leech battens)?
What type of sail track (internal or external)?
Are you hoisting from cockpit or mast?
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