Monday, June 23, 2014

Servicing the Winches, Finally!

Winches on a sailboat are a pretty important piece of equipment, they're what allows us to control multiple sails on the boat. Have you ever tried to tack or trim a sail without one? Unless you feel like loosing parts of your hands/fingers, you don't want to.
We love having our seriously awesome winches that make controlling the sails a breeze, but they also need some love in return from time to time. And in our case they needed it bad. It's recommended that they be cleaned and re-greased about every year, but I don't think there are many people who actually follow this tip.
We took ours apart to see what they looked like and give them a cleaning they were no doubt overdue for. Dirty, dirty, dirty. Grease and dirt caked everywhere.
Look at that gunk!
A lot of people neglect the winches because they can be quite complicated to put the million pieces back together correctly (I had no part in this part!) and because cleaning them can be quite tedious - ours were no exception, I doubt if they have ever been cleaned before. However, in all honesty, I really enjoyed cleaning them! I geniunely enjoy this type of instant gratification and deep cleaning. Plus I like picking. At pretty much anything. With my mini screw driver in hand I was havin' a ball.

Ron was a little hesitant about getting them back together but, in the end, it all went pretty darn smoothly. The trickiest (and the dirtiest) were the Lewmar 44ST's (above)...way different than the other 4 we did first but still not too bad, I don't recall any swearing by the Captain anyway.

In total it took around 6 hours over 2 days to get these neglected winches up to snuff. We (Ron) disassembled them and put the parts in a tub of mineral spirit to soak for a few minutes before I got down to business with my screw driver and toothbrush. I know some people let them sit overnight for a super easy cleaning the next day but where's the fun in that?!? Plus, we wanted to go sailing!

If we thought these behemoths were fantastic before, they're stupendous now that all the dirt and gunk is out of there! They turn so much easier and the 'clicking' isn't nearly as loud as it was before (which could get pretty loud when pulling in slack line). We put the handle in the top of one and one little flick would send it 'round and 'round. Awesome.
No gunk, fresh grease, (almost) ready to go!

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