Buy a Catalina sail boat

TAKE THE MUSCLE OUT OF SAIL HANDLING

Why chose a Catalina sail boat as an example? That is a very simple question!, the answer is because they are great sail-boats. Does sail handling on your yacht wear you out, and especially when you are Caribbean-sailing with good tradewinds, or on a charter-sailing, sailing-vacation, where you are out of physical condition?

These days many people are going yachting single or shorthanded, or they are retired couples or other with physical limitations and who simply don’t have the same strength of a team of young and fit ocean racing crew.

Fortunately, like many things in yachting, life is becoming that much easier on a Catalina sail boat to a Beneteau-sail-boat with an electric powered deck winch, previously a powered anchor-windlass was a luxury. On more than a few occasions on my own recent single handed cruise did I wish for an electric powered deck winch, in particular with some serious heavy weather to cope with.

Buy a Catalina sail boat

Whilst it is easy to adopt the purist view to handle sail trim and stick with winch handles and tell myself it's all good exercise, however I am sure my muscles would welcome the upgrade. This wish was further reinforced when I roped in a friend to winch me up the mast and he injured his back in the process.

The electric deck winch would also have been exceedingly useful in some river marinas in France, where wind and current made tying up a challenge.

As I sail short handed, using an electric deck winch would have been very useful pulling myself alongside, with long keel heavy displacement boats like mine, marina handling can be a little traumatic compared with many modern boats.

Check with your prospective sail-boat-charter company whether they have electric deck winch boats before booking your sailing-vacation or Caribbean-sailing trip. Also consider an upgrade to your Catalina sail boat, Hunter-sailboat or Beneteau-sail-boat, you will be very pleased you did

WHAT OTHER ADVANTAGES ARE THERE?

For those looking at the costs of installing electric deck winches a single unit can be installed and cross sheeting of genoa and mainsail sheets or halyards is easily achieved, with most Catalina sail boat, Hunter-sail-boat and Beneteau-sail-boat arrangements more than suiting this setup.

Lastly an electric deck winch is definitely an advantage hauling someone back on board should you have the misfortune to have someone go overboard, and I have found them useful hauling the rubber dingy on board. Although not strictly electric, hydraulic power pack based winch systems also require electric power, and this is a trend on many larger yachts which also power sail furlers, windlasses and thrusters off the power packs.

It is worth asking your prospective sail-boat-charter company whether they have electric deck winch boats before booking your sailing-vacation or Caribbean-sailing trip. Also consider an upgrade to your Catalina sail boat, Hunter-sailboat or Beneteau-sail-boat, you will be very pleased you did

OPERATION AND PERFORMANCE FACTORS

Electric winches are sized according to the highest projected load, so that when one is used for all functions then it should be rated for the genoa loads. Similar to anchor windlasses the line speed decreases with an increase in the loads. There is a clear correlation between line speed and current draw with respect to loads applied.

Control systems are set to cut out at the Safe Working Load (SWL) which is 50% of the breaking load. Also a consideration is what are called dynamic load surges which occur when really putting hard sail sheet loads on the winch, and these are allowed for in safe working loads.

Winches are commonly 2 speed in manual mode operation, and some have a single speed in electric mode. Others have dual speeds in both manual or electric mode, and speed selection is a great advantage such as in light winds when you want the genoa winch speed on fast only.

Check with your prospective sail-boat-charter company whether they have electric deck winch boats before booking your sailing-vacation or Caribbean-sailing trip. Also consider an upgrade to your Catalina sail boat, Hunter-sailboat or Beneteau-sail-boat, you will be very pleased you did

TWO SPEED WINCHES

Two speed electric winches are naturally more energy efficient when used in the lower gear, and as single speed winches operate within the upper operating range of the motor they have a higher current consumption.

As the line speed reduces considerably when used in the upper range, the actual period of use is the same as in two speed operation with a greater current draw. When an electric winch is used in manual operation mode the insertion of the winch handle will lock out the electric drive mechanism, which prevents the operation of the electric motor and the winch gears. If the winch handle is locked in there is no risk of the handle rotating when the winch activates.

I have experienced a few cases where accidental operation of exposed switches has occurred so install switches with guards to prevent accidental operation. It is important to always isolate the circuit when tailed up or leaving the boat so that accidental operation does not occur. This also applies when doing any maintenance on the winch.

It is important to note that winches must be installed with optimum rope to drum lead angles and this is typically in the range of -5 to - 10 degrees. Check with your prospective sail-boat-charter company whether they have electric deck winch boats before booking your sailing-vacation or Caribbean-sailing trip. Also consider an upgrade to your Catalina sail boat, Hunter-sailboat or Beneteau-sail-boat, you will be very pleased you did.

More valuable information on the correct selection and installation of a deck winch follows here. Buy a Catalina sail boat