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Your "Go To" guide for Winch selection

Winches are a fundamental component of a sailboat, and we must understand their importance to choose the best one correctly. Deciding on a winch can be very daunting if you are not oriented correctly, and that's why we are here to help! MAURIPRO came up with Sailing Winches Selection guide. An easy guide for sailors to understand the factors that should be considered before purchasing a winch. So, if you are looking for a new one read on!

Power Ratio and Gear Ratio
A regular sailor can generate fifty pounds of tension or more on a rope by pulling on it. If you jump on a halyard you can easily generate as much tension as your weight. Unfortunately, even with heavier individuals the amount of tension would not be enough. Therefore, winches are used to increase the effectiveness. Now, to understand this process we must calculate the geared winches power ratio, and for that, all we need is a simple math operation.

G * H / (D/2) : 1, where G = Gear Ratio, H = Handle length and D = Drum Diameter.

For example, a 10 inch geared winch handle turning a 3:1 geared drum will generate a power ratio of "3*254 / (60/2): 1", multiplying the sailor's power by a factor of 25.4: 1. Higher numbers mean that your strength is multiplied more and that the line will come in more slowly. Easier than we thought right?

So now let's go ahead with the next step: choosing the right size for the job!

Perfect Size
After learning this easy first step, now we must start looking for the right winch for the job! A helpful tip between sailboat owners is to purchase the biggest winch you can afford. This is far from the truth. Aside from being a waste of money, too much power can overload other deck gear, so selecting the correct size is an important factor in the process. Fortunately, this step will make it easier for you to acquire your winch without any calculation.

Your winch needs to be big enough to do the job, but not too big. Manufacturers provide size guides for customers, so you will not have to calculate the pulling power and work out the ratio required. Unfortunately, manufacturers offer different sizing criteria, so making comparisons between brands turns out to be a little complicated. Some use solely boat length while others use the estimated sail sizes, plus boat and rig specification. The following chart will show four manufacturers recommendations for Genoa sheets, Mainsheets, and Spinnaker sheets :

Weight Min. Size Max. Size
Max. Sail Area (M2)
Harken 40 25 38 115
Andersen 40 44 43 150
Lewmar 40 44 28 74
Antal 40 40 57 105
Overall Difference (%) 76% 103% 103%

Some differences are all about the performance and power that is required to effectively accomplish your needs and type of sailing. For example, with a more race orientated background, Harken recommends more power for an equivalent sized sail compared to Andersen, whose clients are more orientated for cruising. So, your final decision should come down to consideration by your type of boat, sailing style and capability of your crew.

Plain-Top, Self-Tailing, and Top-Cleating
This is a very important factor also. As we mentioned before, winch selection depends on different factors, so, for Plain Top, Self-tailing, and Top-cleating winches, we have to focus on those factors too.

Plain-top winches (also known as standard winches) are usually used for smaller racer boats, where ropes are constantly being trimmed.

Self-tailing winches are ideal for shorthanded sailing and free up a hand to increase power on the handle. It’s necessary for self-tailing winches to check line size specifications. A smaller or larger rope can cause serious damage to the jaw.

Top-cleating winches are orientated for larger racing boats to rotate easier. They are fast, and tidy to secure lines. Top cleats are normally used for primaries but do not offer enough security for a golding halyard.

Powered Winches
Electric winches are becoming more popular among sailors. Undoubtedly, because of their easier use and due to the increased availability of cost-effective power on-board. If you are having complications for sailing or postponing them for lack of crew, electric winches were made for you. It helps you to maneuver at any condition without the need for a large crew, making the job easy to enjoy the sailing time with friends and family.

Powered winches are becoming an excellent choice for almost any sailor that wants to relax and make their sailing less complicated. Undoubtedly, we recommend this product for you to keep sailing.

We at MAURIPRO, want our clients to get the latest and accurate winches for all your sailing needs. So check our links below to find the perfect one!

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