Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-11-2021, 19:06   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 105
DIY electric winch?

I would like a small electric winch to help with furling up the staysail/jib on a Pacific Seacraft 37. There is a nice spot, with plenty of space on deck (for winch) and below (for a motor mounted vertically or horizontally). But they are very expensive.

I'm not familiar enough with winch design to know if the central shaft, which is normally turned with the winch handle, typically goes all the way through, as in, there would be access to it from below the winch? If not, what would I have to cut through to get clearance? As long as there is access, and I'm guessing there is on some models which can be "converted" to electric, it does not seem overly difficult to buy a used winch on ebay, and adapt an electric motor to it. Something like this.. https://www.ebay.com/itm/17490560853...QAAOSwjQNhI-~N

Thanks for any help!
markxengineerin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-11-2021, 23:07   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 5,293
Images: 7
Re: DIY electric winch?

For furling I would look at a winch with a storage drum and use a small size Dynel furling line. Since you are not going to be pulling it by hand and the pull required is not large smallish line will do the job.
__________________
Satiriker ist verboten, la conformité est obligatoire
RaymondR is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 20-11-2021, 11:55   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 105
Re: DIY electric winch?

Thanks, good point about the small line, but in my case I'd be using this for two different lines (staysail and genoa) at different times, and mostly only in an emergency, so still want to do it by hand most times.
markxengineerin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-11-2021, 23:30   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 5,293
Images: 7
Re: DIY electric winch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markxengineerin View Post
Thanks, good point about the small line, but in my case I'd be using this for two different lines (staysail and genoa) at different times, and mostly only in an emergency, so still want to do it by hand most times.
I have just ordered a Muir 12V electric capstan to assist with mainsail raising. Far cheaper than an electric self tailing sheet winch. If you have room to mount one might be a possible solution.
__________________
Satiriker ist verboten, la conformité est obligatoire
RaymondR is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 21-11-2021, 08:11   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Southport CT
Boat: Sabre 402
Posts: 2,153
Re: DIY electric winch?

We've always held that if you need power winches to r/f a sail, there is something wrong. It shouldn't be that hard to do. On the other hand, if you're planning to only use it infrequently, it doesn't make sense to spend a huge amount on an electric winch. Aren't there electric winch handles, or portable drills with a winch handle chuck fitted that could serve in such a situation? That would provide the desired power and possibly be useful in other situations without having to install a new winch at all.
psk125 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-11-2021, 13:14   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 5,293
Images: 7
Re: DIY electric winch?

Possibly true but the small rope drums on furlers do not allow one to generate sufficient torque to furl a sail in some wind conditions and in some instances the onset of the frailties of advancing age or limits of physique require mechanical assistance.
__________________
Satiriker ist verboten, la conformité est obligatoire
RaymondR is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-11-2021, 13:33   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 105
Re: DIY electric winch?

There are plenty of "experts" in favor of having mechanical assistance on furlers. Matt Rutherford, Jimmy Cornell both consider it a requirement for offshore (my memory from podcasts I've listened to). I'm relatively new, only having owned a boat for the past year, but already had one situation where a squall came through at night, unseen until it was too late, and furling quicker would have saved the genoa some flapping abuse.

The drill/socket or electric handle ideas are low cost but just so clunky! I will figure out something in between. Capstan is an interesting suggestion, thanks.
markxengineerin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-11-2021, 18:49   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 5,293
Images: 7
Re: DIY electric winch?

Rather than cutting more holes in my boat I'm thinking of making a housing out of aluminium to mount the capstan with the shaft horizontal. I would mount the winch and housing on a plate under the existing hand winch so that I could use either as required.
__________________
Satiriker ist verboten, la conformité est obligatoire
RaymondR is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-11-2021, 19:10   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Southport CT
Boat: Sabre 402
Posts: 2,153
Re: DIY electric winch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markxengineerin View Post
There are plenty of "experts" in favor of having mechanical assistance on furlers. Matt Rutherford, Jimmy Cornell both consider it a requirement for offshore (my memory from podcasts I've listened to). I'm relatively new, only having owned a boat for the past year, but already had one situation where a squall came through at night, unseen until it was too late, and furling quicker would have saved the genoa some flapping abuse.

The drill/socket or electric handle ideas are low cost but just so clunky! I will figure out something in between. Capstan is an interesting suggestion, thanks.
What is clunky? A drill or electric handle uses existing winches so you do not have to re-lead any lines to a special winch or capstan. A new winch will have to be mounted somewhere, with accompanying holes, wires, switches, solenoids and fuses. The wires required to carry DC power long distances (and ten feet is a long distance) are HUGE. And expensive. How will you run them? Will there be clear, straight leads to the new capstan from the existing blocks? Will you have the time if a sudden squall hits to re-lead the lines or go forward to set it up? A cordless drill or electric winch handle can be stuck into any winch and turn it immediately into a powerful tool. A wired-in capstan will certainly be more powerful, but I have seen people using electric winches rip holes in their mainsails because their battens weren't lined up properly and the winch plowed right on. It might be smarter to start small on this idea.
psk125 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-11-2021, 22:22   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 105
Re: DIY electric winch?

Clunky is anything that isn't permanently attached to the boat. A drill is a thing that needs to be stored somewhere securely, accessibly, and hopefully out of sight (where?), then maneuvered out and to the winch in a time of need. This is not as easy as flipping a switch and hitting a button on the steering pedestal. I'll take some photos when I get to this project, but I lucked out with the location. It's probably a 3-4 foot straight shot for the power wires from the main battery switch location. I doubt they need to be very large for the power I'm going for (depends on gearing/speed desired), but either way, wires will be negligible difficulty or expense. Location is here:

Excuse the goofy welcome mats, stole the photo from when I was first looking at the boat.

I have seen people using electric winches rip holes in their mainsails because their battens weren't lined up properly and the winch plowed right on. It might be smarter to start small on this idea.

That's a concern for sure. My windlass (and most I would guess) has a clutch to avoid these situations. Similar function on a winch would be nice, especially if it were repeatable and easily adjustable.
markxengineerin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-11-2021, 01:22   #11
Moderator
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

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: 19,562
Re: DIY electric winch?

^^^^^
One of the good features of the generic electric winch handle is that your arm is still the limiting factor in how much tension the winch can provide. A fixed winch with an internal electric motor has no feedback to you, showing how hard t he winch is pulling... and this fairly commonly leads to damage to sails or other boat parts. With our Millie, if it loads up the increased torque feeds back into my sensory system and tells me to back off, dummy!

Sure, having to lift the drill to engage the winch drum isn't as easy as pushing a button, but the advantage of being able to use it on any winch on the boat is an overwhelming advantage IMO. We have found quite a few applications beyond furling (the primary reason for buying it).

Anyhow, everyone has their ideas about how a boat should be run, and I wish you success in your quest to power a manual winch from below.

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II, still hanging out in Port Cygnet. Summer was nice... it was on a Tuesday... and now autumn is here and being pretty nice so far!
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-11-2021, 04:04   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2018
Boat: 50ft Custom Fast Catamaran
Posts: 6,433
Re: DIY electric winch?

Nothing against any of the electric winch ideas, but you do need to check one thing, first as a first year sailor. Technique.

Proper headsail furling is the place to start.

When the squall came through, did you first release the sheet so the headsail was luffing in the wind before attempting to wind it around the furler using the furling control line that was difficult for you to manage?

Or did you ease the headsail sheet only a little or none at all before you tried to furl it up?
__________________
Epoxy can kill me like a kid smelling peanuts across the lunch room. Even the freshly machined dust from cured epoxy. Please don’t suggest using it.
Chotu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-11-2021, 05:33   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 5,293
Images: 7
Re: DIY electric winch?

All of the above is why I am going to use and electric capstan. It will give me the assist whilst I still have precise control and will get feedback and will be where I need it when I need it with no batteries to go flat.
__________________
Satiriker ist verboten, la conformité est obligatoire
RaymondR is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-11-2021, 09:48   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 105
Re: DIY electric winch?

I certainly appreciate the debate, and understand everything is a trade off.

Quote:
When the squall came through, did you first release the sheet so the headsail was luffing in the wind before attempting to wind it around the furler using the furling control line that was difficult for you to manage?

Or did you ease the headsail sheet only a little or none at all before you tried to furl it up?
My usual technique is to head downwind, blanket the jib with the main, and then hand furling is easy. In the squall the boat was quickly and severely heeled over from the wind, and rounding itself up by the time I made it to the wheel. I think I was inside working on some other project, don't remember the details, but that was likely mistake #1. I let out both sails and let them luff, used the engine at low speed to maintain steerage (sort of fore-reaching?), rolled the genoa up first (lots of pulling effort, not much line coming in, only a few inches at a time when the sail luffed just right), then headed directly into the wind and dropped the main. The whole thing probably took 3-5 minutes.

I mis-spoke earlier, the podcasts where I took note of this subject were Matt Rutherford and John Kretschmer. They both insisted that the horsepower to furl while off the wind and not luffing much if at all is essential for safety, and longevity of sails. It can all be provided by manual winching, but in my case, I prefer some assistance.

If I had the electric winch, I think I could have luffed the genoa less, because a winch is stronger than I am, and does not get tired. And I think I could have furled more quickly, which benefits both sails.
markxengineerin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2021, 04:04   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Oxfordshire UK
Boat: ISLAND PACKET SP CRUISER
Posts: 178
Re: DIY electric winch?

Our chosen vessel, an Island Packet SP Cruiser has one Lewmar 40 powered winch for all outhaul/sheeting/furling tasks.


Works very well. I frequently check the swivels on both main and jib furlers by hand operating. If I can outhaul/ furl by hand, why cant the power winch do the same?


I have just installed my version of the Island Packet optional reacher, but using the power winch on the Sbd. side and a new Lewmar 45 Evo winch on the Pt. side. The 175% lightweight sail must be furled to tack.


Testing alongside in zero wind it all works fine.


The real test, of course, will be at sea in light winds, 5 to 15 kts true.


Wind speeds where we need extra sail area.
rotrax is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
DIY, electric, winch

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
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
Electric in-mast furling vs. manual in-mast with an electric winch shimari Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 6 16-06-2021 16:03
DIY Vertical Electric Rope Winch Chotu Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 48 09-03-2020 17:34
Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value chowdan General Sailing Forum 71 12-03-2016 21:17
For Sale: Cinch Winch Electric Winch Handle ken_k Classifieds Archive 5 07-02-2015 09:39

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 13:19.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.