Two speed winches. Why?

fredrussell

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I mean I know why, but does anyone else miss the ability to ratchet in a sheet? I have a smallish boat (26ft). After I've tacked (or during tack) I pull in the working jib sheet (to be) till its as tight as possible then wind it in good 'n' proper on the low gear of winch. I've never really needed to use the higher gear and sometimes find I can't get a good 'working angle' to do full turns on the handle in low gear due to position of mainsheet.

I'm considering trying to swap my 2 speed (ST) winches for single speed ones - is that crazy?
 

lpdsn

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I'm considering trying to swap my 2 speed (ST) winches for single speed ones - is that crazy?

Not crazy if it's what you want to do. The only question I'd ask is why do it. You'd be putting in the effort to swap the winches then you might potentially lose a sale of the boat in the future when a buyer wants two-speed winches. What's the problem with just continuing to use the winches you've got?
 

greeny

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I think that a bigger boat with larger sail area would make the 2 speed more useful and relevant. Small sail areas can be initially hauled in by hand as you say. I don't understand why you want to change them though if you've already got them. Will a single speed change the "working" angle and make it better? Where is the winch situated if the mainsheet is impeding it?
 

duncan99210

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Horses for courses. My winches are all sited so that nothing fouls the winch handles. Whilst it’s often possible to pull sheets tight enough to only need the low speed direction, my wife often finds that she needs to use the high speed to wind in the large bulk of the line before final tightening with the low speed.

However, if you’re finding you don’t use the high speed gearing there no reason not to swap the winch for a single speed one. Just make sure that the single speed one you select to replace it has a low enough ratio to meet your needs.
 

rogerthebodger

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Not sure what kind of which you have but it may be possible to remove the ratchet paws to disconnect the high speed which in fact is a 1 to 1 gearing
 

ip485

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You would have a job winching in a full Genoa on mine in high speed. Mind you I am so lazy I use the power rather than the handle 99 times out of 100.
 

johnalison

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I think that a single speed on a 26' boat should be adequate, since it is what I once had, though mine was not self-tailing, which I would regard as absolutely necessary. The extra gear is only for ease of rope-handling and not for power, so that if your normal system is to pull the sheet in and only use the winch for tightening, then one speed makes sense.
 

TonyMS

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When one of the 2-speeds on my 30ft cat broke, I replaced them with single speeds from Antal (self-tailing). Chose Antal because they make a single speed with low gearing. But they are also very good, strong winches.

Very pleased with the result. Easy to pull in the slack by hand, and great having a proper ratchet effect for the hard bit.

TonyMS
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Kelpie

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I get what the OP is saying- the high gear is no good for final sheeting in, the low gear is fine but he can only complete a partial turn on the handle before it hits the mainsheet.
Would changing the position of the winch and/or mainsheet be an alternative approach? It would almost certainly be cheaper!
Or what about a shorter winch handle?
 

William_H

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Is it just me that was brought up never to ‘ratchet’ a winch? Get your weight over it and wind it one way or the other was what I was taught. Ratcheting isn’t very good for the pawls...

What is that all about? My small single speed winches have the "ratchet" device on top and is only used for drive handle to drum. Only provided for ratchet purposes. The main pauls are down below and are not worn or otherwise by ratcheting. Re OP question. No I would not get rid of 2 speed. My experience of 2 speed is that when pulling sheet in you can use high speed function to help sheet in using the reverse low speed as in effect a ratchet to get a better angle for the handle. It seems to me that OP might try simply a longer handle to get more power in high speed ratio for all sheeting. Of course my image of his 2 speed might be completely different so all wrong ol'will
 

Sandy

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On my old 28 footer we has single speed and never had an issue. On my current 33 footer we have double speed, but over the winter have been shown how to work the boat so I never need to winch in the foresail; it took me a bit of getting used to but makes life a lot easier.
 

fredrussell

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Thanks for all the replies. I guess my issue is that there have been a few times when post-tack I end up holding the tiller with one hand and working the winch with other hand. In this position on my boat the ability to ratchet a winch rather than have to do complete turns would be useful. I do have a tiller pilot with auto tack feature but I’m not overly keen on using it. I’ll probably upgrade my tiller-tamer to the one that won the pbo group test - mine doesn’t have the best grip on the tiller as it stands.
 

Old Harry

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I mean I know why, but does anyone else miss the ability to ratchet in a sheet? I have a smallish boat (26ft). After I've tacked (or during tack) I pull in the working jib sheet (to be) till its as tight as possible then wind it in good 'n' proper on the low gear of winch. I've never really needed to use the higher gear and sometimes find I can't get a good 'working angle' to do full turns on the handle in low gear due to position of mainsheet.

I'm considering trying to swap my 2 speed (ST) winches for single speed ones - is that crazy?
May be you are using smaller sail area that she was potentially designed to use
 

dunedin

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I am struggling to understand why the OP can't manually spin in ("ratchet") the genoa sheets on a two speed winch. Every one I have seen this is possible, and we do it every tack - before finishing with a couple of turns on low gear.
Perhaps two speed winches are overkill on a 26 footer, but would seem extreme to go to the expense of removing them rather than just using the speed you want.
And when faster speed is useful is when sailing without a mainsail, or reaching, when there is more loaed sheet to pull in than on a well judged tack
 

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