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Old 06-08-2022, 17:16   #1
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Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

I received a lovely card for my birthday with the attached photo. And then started looking at it more closely. Being young and inexperienced I'm asking an honest question: is this normal?

In short, what on earth are all those winches doing on the foredeck? Is this a real setup or just someone's photoshop fantasy?

If it's real, what are the winches for? And why would one choose this setup over other options?
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Old 06-08-2022, 17:36   #2
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

For racing a boat like that, the winches are used by the foredeck and mast crew to run the halyards so the back of the boat can strategize and argue.
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Old 06-08-2022, 18:14   #3
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

To the OP:
The winches are not on the foredeck, that's an optical illusion due to the photograph. They are actually on the cabin top (or flush deck) and aft of the mast. This setup was found on many larger 40+ft yachts. Its pretty outdated and not "normal" now, but it was popular 30-40 years ago. The advantages are you don't need to stand up while working mast or boom mounted winches (crouching down on knees is safer), and you can have separate winches for various lines. Back in those days, there weren't any good rope clutches. Also notice the winches are not self-tailing.

These days, many yachts have all the halyard and mainsail control lines led aft to winches under the dodger with rows of rope clutches.
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Old 06-08-2022, 19:30   #4
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

I have seen it on a few boats around us, especially on racers.

*attachment is not my photo*
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Old 06-08-2022, 20:50   #5
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

That's really freaky. I was just asking myself the same question when I came across this Passport 42 today.

https://swiftsureyachts.com/1980-passport-42-cats-paw/
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Old 06-08-2022, 22:44   #6
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglaisInHull View Post
I received a lovely card for my birthday with the attached photo. And then started looking at it more closely. Being young and inexperienced I'm asking an honest question: is this normal?

In short, what on earth are all those winches doing on the foredeck? Is this a real setup or just someone's photoshop fantasy?

If it's real, what are the winches for? And why would one choose this setup over other options?
A lot of bigger boats were built that way (with all the lines, halyards mostly, coming down the mast going directly to winches). Especially bigger boats. Some lines were kept on the mast and boom. In that photo some controls lead to winches on the boom.

Routing lines aft was complicated by lack of a direct route. More turning blocks meant friction and failure points, and there were not as many rope clutches available.

Plus, even if the lines could come to the cockpit it would make that area crowded. Large crews allowed for several people to work forward. It takes two people to man those winches. That's two people out of the cockpiy and out of the way.

I sailed on Swiftsure and I worked on a 72 foot boat from the 2000's (pictured). Both had winches on the deck around the mast. On the 72 some lines were meant to come aft. Note the holes in the coaming for lines to pass.
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Old 07-08-2022, 03:53   #7
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

Thanks for informing me. Interesting explanations, well outside of my experience.
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Old 07-08-2022, 09:07   #8
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

Ok this is getting silly. I have honestly never seen winches on the cabin top before. And I even sailed on a Baltic 42...

https://swiftsureyachts.com/1982-baltic-42dp-fury/
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Old 07-08-2022, 09:27   #9
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
Ok this is getting silly. I have honestly never seen winches on the cabin top before. And I even sailed on a Baltic 42...

https://swiftsureyachts.com/1982-baltic-42dp-fury/
The Baltic 42 is a beautifully designed boat but quite old by now. The deck layout would have been heavily influenced by the builder and they may have had history with bigger boats with winches around the mast. Other Doug Peterson boats from the same era do not have this arrangement. It's a Baltic thing.

But looking at the deck layout and the cabin top and dodger shown in the photo you can see that running these halyards back to the cockpit would be difficult. This solution is good for the problem at hand, (this is a powerful boat with big loads) considering the age of the design (1980).
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Old 07-08-2022, 17:21   #10
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Re: Winches on foredeck - is this normal?

I have sailed on many IOR race yachts with a cockpit fwd surrounded by winches ,wire hlyds and sheets and braces ,even winches under the deck ,no self tailers then ,yes every hlyd had a winch ,not an unusual set up ,⛵️⚓️
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