One places several parts of the line through the winch drum and then rotates the same by means of the winch handle. Winches and winch handles are available in different sizes. Which size of winch / winch handle is suitable depends on the sail area that is to be controlled.
How should the winch be dimensioned?
For example: a foresail with a surface area of 30 m² should be attached to a winch head and be between 29-33 ft in size. A mainsail with the same surface area should be between 27 and 29 ft. in size. Larger winches are always a tangible option.
Which types of winches are common?
Standard winches consist of a simple drum; the line has to be led by hand in order for it not to slip off. Self-tailing winches are incredibly easy to use in any case. They have an extra line clutch that is mounted on the drum. This makes it no longer necessary to hold the line by hand, and you can crank the winch with both hands. Electric winches are powered with an electric motor, which can be started by means of an external switch. Advantage: The motor takes care of the brute work. However, one needs to pay special attention to how long the winch is running, otherwise there is a risk of breaking. As an upgrade for manual winches, special electric retrofit kits are available. On large ships with very large sails, hydraulic winches are mainly used.
Various materials for winch drums
On dinghies and small boats, drums are often made out of fiberglass-reinforced plastics. High quality drums are made out of seawater-resistant aluminum. These are chrome-plated or anodized. Moreover, there are also drums made out of bronze, which are either left in their natural state or are chrome-plated. Regardless of the drum's material, its mechanical parts are made up of various other components. Thus, components such as stainless steel axles, bronze and stainless steel gears, and ball bearings are all found inside of winches. We carry products from many renowned winch manufacturers, such as those from: Lewmar, Antal, Andersen and Harken.
A rule of thumb for winches: the longer the arm of the handle, the more power can be applied. But beware: If the handle is too long, it may hit the sprayhood and not be able to continue to work effectively.
Maintenance: To care for your winch, it must be regularly greased with special winch grease. Prior to application, remove all of the old grease residue. The grease protects aluminum from corrosion where it might react with other metals. Therefore, all stainless steel screws, stainless steel washers, etc. should be greased.