Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 23-01-2016, 13:50   #31
Registered User
 
MBWhite's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Illinois
Boat: Hurley Alacrity
Posts: 370
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

I wish I hadn't read those sad stories.

I haven't used many power winches on boats but have been around a couple on the ground that did not turn off when supposed to. For me all it took was the first time it happened and from then on there is always at least a "plan B".

Ideally the plan is how to kill all power to the winch, as one of the times was when the directional solenoid simply stuck on. Fortunately a good whack with a nearby pry bar got the contacts unlocked but if you cannot get to the breaker quickly a hatchet or axe and a 2X4 can be used to see if you can knock some sense into the switches and if not to where the motor starts loading up you can at least chop the main wire.

Kinda like a cheating girlfriend or a brand new car that decides to turn off for no reason at 2 in the morning in the middle of nowhere, once it happens to you once it is always in the back of your mind that it might happen again.
__________________

__________________
MBWhite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 13:55   #32
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Boat in Turkey, Beach cat in Israel
Boat: Lagoon 400 & Nacra 6.0 beach cat
Posts: 627
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Quote:
Originally Posted by timbenner View Post
Why not self tail it for obvious reasons?? I self tail the halyard in the electric winch when winching someone up the mast to insure it doesn't slip and use the rope clutch as well. Just curious? I understand that you can't self tail it when bringing them down.
We have 3 electric winches.
Never used in self tailing mode for any purpose.
Self tail used only if winch is operated in manual mode
The reason is the danger of the winch being stuck in operation without being able to stop it. Just imagine hoisting someone up and the button gets stuck in on position.
__________________

__________________
meirriba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 14:35   #33
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 256
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

A lot of words about switches, procedures, etc. and not one person addressed the basic question: why the heck would you have an electric winch on your boat at all? Or a jib furler? Or a steering wheel? Or, for God's sake, a television or air conditioner?

Simple is cheaper.
Simple is reliable.
Simple is safer.
Simple is better.

KISS.

Paul
__________________
Paul J. Nolan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 14:43   #34
Registered User
 
MBWhite's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Illinois
Boat: Hurley Alacrity
Posts: 370
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul J. Nolan View Post
A lot of words about switches, procedures, etc. and not one person addressed the basic question: why the heck would you have an electric winch on your boat at all? Or a jib furler? Or a steering wheel? Or, for God's sake, a television or air conditioner?

Simple is cheaper.
Simple is reliable.
Simple is safer.
Simple is better.

KISS.

Paul
I am assuming you are being serious and not simply trolling, at least somewhat.

The issue is not simplicity, the issue in all of these situations is that an item was not being used properly, or was designed/installed improperly.
__________________
MBWhite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 15:25   #35
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 256
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Perhaps you're right...it's not about simplicity. It's about judgement. How many stories about lost fingers must one hear before thinking, "Gosh...maybe having an electric winch on board isn't a good idea?"

Paul
__________________
Paul J. Nolan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 15:36   #36
Bailing as fast as I can.
 
GILow's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Boat: Swanson 42
Posts: 3,585
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

As much as I agree about the KISS principle, I keep meeting boats that just so big they need power assisted winches for a human to sail them. Fortunately this is not a dilemma for me to mange as our boat requires no great strength to sail.

I was looking at a 50 tonner at our club the other day and all the winches are hydraulic! Furlers too! As long as all that stuff keeps working I would think the boat could be sailed solo.

Matt


Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
Very funny Scotty, now beam down my clothes.
http://www.swansonsailor.id.au
GILow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 15:44   #37
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 11,461
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul J. Nolan View Post
A lot of words about switches, procedures, etc. and not one person addressed the basic question: why the heck would you have an electric winch on your boat at all? Or a jib furler? Or a steering wheel? Or, for God's sake, a television or air conditioner?

Simple is cheaper.
Simple is reliable.
Simple is safer.
Simple is better.

KISS.

Paul
This sort of comment usually comes from folks with little or no experience with sailing larger boats. Paul J. hasn't blessed us with info on his boat(s) or background, so this may not apply to him, but for cruisers on boats of larger size, most of the items that he decries are somewhere between essential and just very useful to have. (I exclude the TV and A/C from that statement).

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Port Cygnet, Tasmania once again
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 15:48   #38
Senior Cruiser
 
StuM's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Port Moresby,Papua New Guinea
Boat: FP Belize Maestro 43
Posts: 6,713
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Why electric? So that the missus can hoist the main without complaining
__________________
StuM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 16:11   #39
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 11,461
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Why electric? So that the missus can hoist the main without complaining
That is certainly one reason, Stu!

We have no electric winches, but did succumb to a Milwaukee drill wincher. Our real reason for this wasn't mast climbing or sheet winching or mainsail hoisting, but rather furling the genoa. With our Solent rig, we must furl the genoa for tacking or gybing. In any significant wind strength, this requires winching the furling line (and please, don't bother with telling this is bad practice!). It isn't so hard to do, but it is pretty damn slow. With the Milwaukee, it is a lot faster (and effortless, which saves our aging bodies). When short tacking, we really appreciate the device. All t hose other activites are made easier as well, but mostly we still do them by manual means.

BTW, using the Milwaukee is inherently safer than a directly powered winch. There are no remote switches, relays or other things to fail. Should it somehow stick "on", one can simply pull it out of the winch or let go of it. And since one still is manually absorbing the reaction torque via the drill, overloading the sail (or whatever) is no more likely than when cranking a winch handle. We are quite fond of Millie!

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Port Cygnet, Tasmania once again
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 16:32   #40
Registered User
 
Reefmagnet's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: puɐןsuǝǝnb 'ʎɐʞɔɐɯ
Boat: Nantucket Island 33
Posts: 2,737
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
That is certainly one reason, Stu!

We have no electric winches, but did succumb to a Milwaukee drill wincher. Our real reason for this wasn't mast climbing or sheet winching or mainsail hoisting, but rather furling the genoa. With our Solent rig, we must furl the genoa for tacking or gybing. In any significant wind strength, this requires winching the furling line (and please, don't bother with telling this is bad practice!). It isn't so hard to do, but it is pretty damn slow. With the Milwaukee, it is a lot faster (and effortless, which saves our aging bodies). When short tacking, we really appreciate the device. All t hose other activites are made easier as well, but mostly we still do them by manual means.

BTW, using the Milwaukee is inherently safer than a directly powered winch. There are no remote switches, relays or other things to fail. Should it somehow stick "on", one can simply pull it out of the winch or let go of it. And since one still is manually absorbing the reaction torque via the drill, overloading the sail (or whatever) is no more likely than when cranking a winch handle. We are quite fond of Millie!

Jim
If I needed electric winches, one of them cordless adaptors would be my preference. Sea water and electricals do not mix and this thread seems to reinforce that. Unfortunately, it seems winches have gone the way of car window regulators in that the latest models of even moderate size now seem to come equipped with electric winches. Even "worse", is a trend to use a single electric primary and a bunch of rope clutches.
__________________
Reefmagnet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 16:43   #41
Registered User
 
MBWhite's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Illinois
Boat: Hurley Alacrity
Posts: 370
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul J. Nolan View Post
Perhaps you're right...it's not about simplicity. It's about judgement. How many stories about lost fingers must one hear before thinking, "Gosh...maybe having an electric winch on board isn't a good idea?"

Paul
Paul I think think actual issue is slightly different, the actual thought should be "Gosh...maybe having an electric winch on board and using it for this particular issue without thinking every outcome through isn't a good idea?"

I'd even say that winching someone up a mast would be perfectly fine and completely safe if the person at the winch has a fail safe method of instantly killing the power should the windlass misbehave. The fail safe method can even be an 8 year old at the breaker ready to pull it on command. And in keeping with everything else do about 10 dry runs with the 8 year old at the panel and the wincher at the windlass who yells "EMERGENCY STOP!" or something similar that the 8 year old knows is the command to trip the breaker. Once the young crewmember does it a half dozen times or so without a hitch I'd say it's safe to go aloft.

What you do not want to do is be in a situation that requires decisions that you have not thought about nor made preparations for.
__________________
MBWhite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 17:14   #42
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 256
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
This sort of comment usually comes from folks with little or no experience with sailing larger boats. Paul J. hasn't blessed us with info on his boat(s) or background...

Jim
Most of the big boat sailing was on half, three quarter, and one tonners (I realize I'm dating myself!) although I spent a season on a 56 footer. She was steered by tiller, her headsails were hanked on, and all winches were powered by muscle, not electrons. We never felt burdened by the lack of whizbang gimcrackery that adorn modern boats. And we never had a steering failure, a headsail that refused to come down, or lost a finger.

But, now that you mention it, I do think a boat can be too big for her crew. And, it seems to me, a lot of folks here have boats that I would regard as too big for me even if I were still young and strong. Maybe I'm just too old (and too grumpy!)

Paul
__________________
Paul J. Nolan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 21:49   #43
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 11,461
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul J. Nolan View Post
Most of the big boat sailing was on half, three quarter, and one tonners (I realize I'm dating myself!) although I spent a season on a 56 footer. She was steered by tiller, her headsails were hanked on, and all winches were powered by muscle, not electrons. We never felt burdened by the lack of whizbang gimcrackery that adorn modern boats. And we never had a steering failure, a headsail that refused to come down, or lost a finger.

But, now that you mention it, I do think a boat can be too big for her crew. And, it seems to me, a lot of folks here have boats that I would regard as too big for me even if I were still young and strong. Maybe I'm just too old (and too grumpy!)

Paul
Paul, you ain't dating yourself by MY standards... my earlier boats were influenced by the CCA rule. It was only when we started out cruising that we "updated" to an IOR one tonner!

But I reckon that you can see the difference between a 56 foot race boat, manned by I suppose around 8 stalwart testosterone units, and a couple or family cruising on the now typical 40-45 foot yacht. Of course you had no problems with headsail changes... you had about 5 willing and strong guys to do the job, and you likely practiced frequently.

There was a time when jib furlers were not terribly reliable, but nowadays the gear is pretty sound. We changed from a K-Z headfoil to a furler in about 1995, and have done a lot of miles since then. We've never been unable to furl or unfurl when we wanted to. We've had wheel steering since 1986, and so far never had a failure. Of course, a long time ago, I broke the tiller on my Catalina 22... but that was due to ignorance about trimming to avoid weather helm, sailing in biggish winds on SF bay. And FWIW, our current boat started out with tiller steering. The PO (who built the boat) decided that the steering loads were too big and switched to a wheel (and made changes in the keel to alleviate the helm problem at the same time). So we now have both a wheel and a permanently mounted tiller, and feather light steering to boot!

My observations are that most of the equipment failures we hear about are due to poor maintenance or practice. Those factors can defeat any system, even the simple ones. We had a thread on CF a while back about a tiller head failure, for instance. Routine inspection would have disclosed the fault before failure... so some effort must be expended no matter how simple the boat is. And if that effort is directed at furlers and wheel steering, they are pretty damn reliable IMO.

I do agree that many modern boats are terribly complicated, especially with respect to linked electronic systems. There are few cruisers who even understand how they are hooked up, let alone how to troubleshoot them when they crap out. But those systems are not usually mission critical like steering and sail handling are, so I don't worry about that sort of complication too much... and I avoid it myself. Electric winches? Well, sure,they have an additional failure mode, but of course, they work in manual mode, too. They can be dangerous, as shown upthread, but I've heard of folks getting injured by manual winches, too, usually when there is one person cranking and one tailing as we used to do racing.

So, my point in all this blather is that eschewing some of the better mod cons in the name of simplicity makes little sense to me. Some restraint at West Marine is a good thing, but you needn't avoid the place altogether!

OH... we've sailed in the tropics for years and never even considered A/C, and I've not owned a TV set since I was divorced from my first wife in 1973. Sure don't want one on my boat!

Cheers, and happy sailing in your simple boat. I'm happy in my somewhat complicated boat!

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Port Cygnet, Tasmania once again
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 23:04   #44
Senior Cruiser
 
44'cruisingcat's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7,456
Images: 69
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Thanks for the story. Going to get into the habit of opening the circuit breaker on the anchor windlass from now on.
__________________
"You CANNOT be serious!"


John McEnroe
44'cruisingcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-01-2016, 23:23   #45
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Oakland CA
Boat: Morgan 46 ketch
Posts: 241
Re: The hidden dangers of power winches

Some very sad stories here. I'm not sure why the need for electric winches on most of our boats.


I am well into retirement age but I don't feel any need for electric winches of any kind except for the anchor windlass on my 46 footer. Foretriangle on our boat is quite large and it takes me one heck of a long time to get the jib sheeted in properly but if I was in a hurry I would have a powerboat. Besides, the workout is great for the heart!


I don't think you have to be a body builder (I am not) to sail a 46 footer with only muscle power. But if I had a medical problem or when I get too weak with age and can't winch in the jib I will get a young crew or a smaller boat.


But thanks for the admonition to not use power for hoisting anyone up the mast. We used to do that with my 8 yr old daughter working the button and my wife tailing the anchor windlass, but I definitely won't do that anymore. My 8 yr old grew up and decided that guys were more fun than Dad's boat, so I bought a mast ladder and ascenders for the mast work.
__________________

__________________
waterman46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
danger, winch

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dangers at Sea, Dangers on Land letsgetsailing3 Health, Safety & Related Gear 145 26-06-2014 14:42
Power strip dangers GLtrawler Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 24 19-04-2013 18:42
The Hidden Dangers of Cruising svpattyd Liveaboard's Forum 79 18-04-2012 15:22
Dangers in Electronic Charting Pelagic Navigation 59 22-05-2008 08:58



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:08.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.