Does sail handling on your yacht or sail boat wear you out?  These days many people are going yachting single or shorthanded, and that includes me for a very long time, both by lifestyle choice and also good crew are hard to find. When I was younger I could wind and grind in sheets all day long but not anymore, age has finally caught up with me.  Many late life cruisers are retired couples or others with physical limitations and who simply don’t have the same strength they once had. Does that sound familiar? There are many labor saving bits of deck equipment out there to help you sail without or at least reducing the physical stress. That includes a range of high quality self tailing deck winches from many reputable manufacturers, and these are precision engineered bits of machinery. 

Sail Handling Simplified

On vacation but worn out within the first few days? Stuck in weather with long windward legs to your destination, lots of tacking and sail trimming to get there? Whoever coined the phrase “Gentlemen don’t sail to windward” never went cruising. It is inevitable much like death and taxes.  You get to know very quickly how out of condition you are and how any energy saving equipment would be great.  So many energy saving bits of deck gear to plan for and install, from new generation deck cleats to headsail furlers. I reckon that sail furlers are one of the greatest inventions ever. Even the humble boomvang and mainsheet traveler has evolved and changed for the better.  The sail boat mast has also evolved with new technology and materials. Sail boat rigging has also changed, as materials quality has also evolved. 

About Sails and Sail Handling

Then we get to sail technology, look at any ocean racing fleet with the black sails.  Sail repair takes on a new meaning if you are cruising.  I recall all the conversations with my sailmaker trying to get a durable yet high performing mainsail that could be reefed and still be useful. And then it was about jobs and a genoa that still performs and holds shape on a furler, so many tried to convince me to hank them on instead. Then I had the conversation about an asymmetric spinnaker and so on. Then it was all about how many reefs to put in the main, and discussing full or partial battens. Then it was storm sails and trysails hanked on an inner forestay, and the merits of cutter rig using dual furlers. These days it’s all about the sail materials technology and that involves a budget decision. Most of the major yacht manufacturers have got sail handling well covered, from mainsail design to spinnaker handling systems, the mantra is all about easy sail handling. But of course there are many who have older boats who want to upgrade their systems. Have to say been there and done that, all about compromise and expectation management. Then once all the sails are sorted and deck winches covered and line and sheet geometry resolved we get to the most interesting subject of improving ones sail handling and sail trimming techniques and abilities. More about that elsewhere along with sail trim and sail repairs.

About Deck Winches

The humble sailboat winch is essential to all sailing, but over the last 50 years not so humble anymore. They provide the muscle to tension sails through their sheets and halyards and provide the power to move your boat through the water. There is much to know about sailboat winches and not the least are self tailing winches. The main sheet winches are to control the genoa and jib. Then we have winches to tension up the mainsheet. Then we have smaller halyard winches  for hoisting mainsails and if not using a furler for hoisting jibs and genoas. Then we have winches for trimming spinnakers and gennakers. All essential in their own right but each has factors affecting selection and installation. 

About Electric Deck Winches

So you are thinking about an electric sailboat winches to make life easier.  When you consider an electric sail boat winch there are many important factors regarding the installation of boat electric deck winches. Electric winches bring in other factors that cover electrical systems, battery power, charging, wire and cable sizes and a host of other issues to consider.  More about sail handling here.