While using the right winch grease is important, servicing the winch before the grease turns to gum, washes out, or the pawls start to hang up is more important. Makers recommend annual servicing, but racers and full-time cruisers may go one to three years, and weekend sailors might stretch it a bit further. Three years really would be the max, unless you can live with increased wear. If you go any longer, you risk increased wear and even damage. If the pawls hang up and the drum releases, parts can break, and people can get hurt as the handle whips around.
While most of us are-hopefully-out sailing this summer, we know that many sailors are busy with system upgrades, do-it-yourself projects, and the usual marine maintenance adventures. Here are some archive articles we think will help you tick off the tasks on your to-do list.
Over time, chafing from lines can actually wear away gelcoat. Likewise, chips will appear where hatches or ports bang. While eliminating chafe is the best course of action, in some cases, a protective patch can be a viable solution. Faced with a chafe problem on his own boat, sailor Andrew Grogono developed the Wear and Tear Pad, an ultra-thin (.002 inches) piece of 301 stainless steel backed by an all-weather double-sided tape. To use, just peel off the backing paper and stick the patch on the hull at the point of friction or impact (making sure the hull is clean and dry, first).
Probably nothing can make or break the appearance of a fiberglass boat more quickly than the appearance of the exterior teak trim. Contrary to popular belief, teak is not a maintenance-free wood that can be safely ignored and neglected for years at a time. Though teak may not rot, it can check, warp, and look depressingly drab if not properly cared for. Although it is not immune to neglect, teak is incredibly resilient, and can be brought back to life after remarkable amounts of abuse. Therefore, there is no excuse for drab, ugly exterior teak on any boat. Unlike other woods used for exterior trim, the grey weathering of teak rarely extends very far below the surface of the wood.
Making spare winch handles is a simple job for a competent metal worker. This I discovered because our Norlin designed Scampi, Windhover, has eight winches, all of which were manufactured before the world standardized on the 11/6" winch handle lug size. Since Windhover's 9/16" size handles are difficult to obtain and impossible to find at discount I went to Frank "Red' Grobelch, a superb metalsmith/welder of Waukegan, Illinois with some ideas for making up some spares for me. I'm so pleased with the results that I'd recommend the project to any reader who is a competent metal worker or has a friend who is. Even if you can use and buy standard 11/16" size handles, your mental state when clumsy Uncle Fred drops a handle overboard will be far more buoyant if you know you can easily replace the lost handle in your own shop.
We recently launched a new evaluation of marine adhesives and sealants. There is no single caulk that works in all of these cases, so its impossible to declare a single Best Choice adhesive, but we decided to at least put some numbers on paper to guide you in your choices.
Simple ferrous-metal oxidation is a process in which iron, oxygen, and water chemically react, and it can cause rust to seemingly weld fasteners together. This unyielding grip often turns disassembly into much more of an ordeal, but with a few, regularly available products and a good set of wrenches, the big battle becomes a minor squabble.
Probably nothing can make or break the appearance of a fiberglass boat more quickly than the appearance of the exterior teak trim. Contrary to popular belief, teak is not a maintenance-free wood that can be safely ignored and neglected for years at a time. Though teak may not rot, it can check, warp, and look depressingly drab if not properly cared for.