A little maintenance on the winches

One of the items that needs regular maintenance are the winches.  We sort of ignored them ,mostly because I was afraid of loosing pieces.  I decided to attack them on Sunday.  I now realize how dirty they were, but fortunately for us they were still in good condition.

What is a winch?  It gives leverage to anyone that is moving a line, sheet, or halyard and allows them to lift greater amounts.

This is a self tailing winch (One that you do not have to pull on the line with just turn the winch handle.


This a photo of my largest winch. It is one of seven winches we have on Adventure.

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A shot of the winch top with the retaining ring removed and laying on top.


The retaining ring removed and the holding ring removed.

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the crank is in the center the two pins from the hub to the center are Pawls. The pawls are spring loaded allowing the drum to rotate or lock it in place.

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You can see the Dirt and caked on grease from this picture


Again the dirt and caked on grease on the pin roller bearings and lower reversing gears.


A shot from the top after the roller bearings are removed.


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These are shots of the gears also the internal pawls and springs that work making the winch a two speed.


The gears, pawls, and springs after the wire brush


The pawls and small springs that lock the winch from going the wrong way.



I cleaned the entire winch with WD40, rags and a wire brush.












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The in bearings and bottom of the winch.

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After some serious scraping, scrubbing, and soaking they started to clean up and fit together smoothly.

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After the cleaning some grease on the roller bearings and gears plus a light coating of pawl oil on the pawls and they slipped together beautifully.


The finished product does not look mush different from the start but it runs so much more smoothly and can again carry the weight it was meant to and do the job.

A smooth operating winch can take a load off the operators, Tammy and I.

Just a bit of information on how a sailboat operates.

“Living The Dream”

   Tammy & Steve

4 thoughts on “A little maintenance on the winches

  1. A good, valuable post. Thanks!

  2. Roger G. Possley

    It’s amazing how much gunk gets in those things! I keep a supply of pawl springs and a few pawls in separate pill bottles in my rigging kit as I’ve found them broken or accidentally had one ‘jump’ into the drink. Although I still have a tube of Lewmar grease, I wonder if regular auto grease would suffice with regular maintenance.

    • I like the pill bottle idea. I have created a small winch repair kit with Paul’s, springs, oil,and grease. I would agree with car grease but I don’t use that much and it goes a long way.

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