It’s Winch, not Wench.. Though Some have both

Redemption has 13 winches on her.. THIRTEEN! It may not sound that bad, that is, until you have to clean all of them. And I did have need to clean and re-grease them as some, like the main halyard winch (not important at all, /sarcasm) were not even clicking much less locking when you stopped cranking. The pawls, the little stoppers that make the drum lock one direction, were seized up badly in quite a few of these.

An unhealthy, seized up pawl gear.

Michelle and I took the four big primaries/secondaries, which are used to trim in the jib and stays’l, off first. I wanted to see what made these big winches work truly, they are the biggest I have seen in person. They largest of them are Barient 36ST, the ST denotes they are self-tailing. These have some serious cogs and bearings in them and quite the number of parts that make it tick or click/clack really. They are neat, heavy-duty pieces of engineering.


We took them all apart one by one, washed and scrubbed each piece in a lovely mixture of diesel fuel and mineral spirits in a big, old pot I had laying around. I washed the large parts like the drum, trailer, and base with warm, soapy water to get the oily residue off. The other parts drip dried on a towel. Next I greased the bearings, cogs, and bushings with Super-Lube synthetic grease, it comes in tubes or tubs, applied generously but not excessively. Fine line, I know. Then we oiled the paws and springs with 3-in-1 multi-purpose oil. You don’t want to grease or use heavy oil on the pawls because you need them to easily rotate and move. We didn’t change the springs in any but the winches that need complete removal. The rest will get replaced on the next job.

So fresh and so clean

After everything was greased and lubed we assembled the winches. Before we put the units back on the boat we cleaned the bases that are mounted on the boat. They had old dry grease, dirt, grime sitting in them and the drain holes were clogged up. Most of our winches are like this, four are not and have to be unbolted from the deck. It’s relatively easy to remove these winches, unscrew the top “nut”, slide the drum off shaft, remove 4-5 Allen socket head bolts, and lift up.


With the winches all cleaned and lubed, they all turn with little effort and you can hear all the pawls clicking and clacking properly. No, clicking and clacking are not scientific words for measuring something but to me they are!


Now we can’t wait to go out for another sail to give them all a proper test!


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