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Old 15-01-2021, 20:17   #1
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Considering a new or moved winch to the mast...

Hello everyone.

I am considering putting a new (to me, I cannot afford the cost of BRAND new without the Admiral looking more closely at the OPTAR funding expenditure gap) winch pair on the mast. There is already a box hanging on both sides of the stick with a plate on each side, already drilled and tapped for mounting them. The vessel is my 78 Hunter 27, so it does not make great sense to use brand new winches anyway.

There are already a few on board, but they are all situated around the cockpit (someone led lines aft before I came into the picture). They are two Lewmar 6 and 2 Lewmar 7 winches I think. They are situated on the coamings (6's) either side of the cockpit and on the coach roof close to the cockpit (7's).

The reason I am considering one more (or a pair) is because as things stand I think I am ok for sailing, but if I want to use a halyard to lift something like my old SB-8, a dingy, or an outboard (I did that manually and that was not even close to a good time) and the deck mounted winches are really not so great for that I think because they rely on the deck-mounted blocks that I am also considering replacing if I could find some that handle the new lines. None of my current winches are self-tailing either, so I am considering putting one on the mast on one of the plates so I get use of a halyard as a lifting assist rather than using my back. All the friction from the deck-mounted blocks seems like it would be counterproductive for heavier lifts as well.

The question I am really asking I guess, or the commentary I want to consider anyway, is whether a mast-mounted winch is that helpful for lifting me or one of the various items (or overboard passengers) enough that it makes sense to install it.

The holes on the plate suggest there were originally two winches there before someone led lines aft anyway, so I am thinking they pulled the ones off the mast and moved them aft.

Alternatively, if it is better to leave the other winches as they currently are (not on the mast), what size would be good to install on the mast for use in lifting things or to trim sails at the mast should I have issues with the ones on deck (the last time I cleaned the starboard number 6, I nearly dropped several internals over the side, and I may have even done so, I recall most of the event, but my cognitive damage sort-of scrambled some of the memory immediately around that time (it happened just after I got the boat), and I do recall that when I bought the boat, the PO had several spares of most everything on board so maybe I replaced the pawl at that time). I managed to flip some of the hank rings over the bow about then too in fact. I need to work that out but that is for another thread..

I keep seeing used winches on eBay, and am sorely tempted to purchase a pair. I don't know that self-tailing would be worthwhile, unless I am being hoisted up and use that winch (an idea of yet another reason to make it a direct connection rather than counting on the deck mounted blocks!) but as that is partially what I am considering, I am open to suggestions on that style as well, and also again, size recommendations. I weigh in at a shade over 300 lbs (6' 2" tall), and the mast is measured by me (it is down at the moment while we finish the wiring and corrosion removal work) at 33 feet tall. I cannot imagine how..exciting...it would be to drop a few feet should one of those deck-mounted blocks fail mid-lift, especially if the Admiral had line in hand when it happened. I kindof like the reputation of self tailing winches on one hand, but also have heard a few negative issues as well (likely people were misusing them).

Thoughts?
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Old 23-01-2021, 19:46   #2
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Re: Considering a new or moved winch to the mast...

Self-tailing winches are not for holding people up at the top of the mast. Cleat the line off and make sure the line tender stays away from the mast. (You might drop something, or if you fall, it could kill both of you.) To make sure the line tender stays away from the mast, use the cockpit winches to hoist the mast climber. The holes in your mast plates will probably not line up with whatever winches you get.
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Old 24-01-2021, 16:48   #3
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Re: Considering a new or moved winch to the mast...

Non Self Tailing winches are a drag on the market and available basically for the scrap value. Find used replacements and put them on the mast if you feel you need them. If you are not using the winches on the cabin top, then move them back to the mast. Self-tailers are much easier to use but pricey and I wouldn't want to be relying on the self-tailing to tail the winch that was hauling me up the mast. Don't have a deck slave to haul me up in any case and rely on a Mast Climber by ATN or Rock climbing gear.
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