How to fit Barton Winchers (the easy way!)

August 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm

I bought some Barton Winchers, which are rubber ring fittings to turn your normal winches into self tailers. They were, cough, nearly 60 quid if I remember correctly (Size Small for my Lewmar 8 winches). I think that’s alot for 2 rubber rings, but I do find it quite tricky sheeting in, and tailing the winch, and steering all at the same time.

Barton Winchers

The packet says they are easy to fit by stretching them over the top of the winch. I don’t agree. And after a couple of attempts, soaking them in hot soapy water to soften them first and trying to use a couple of screw drivers to help stretch them over the drum as directed, it became clear that I needed at least 3 hands, maybe four.

So I came up with a better way for my Lewmar winches: If you’ve ever serviced your winches you’ll know they come apart really easily. (I don’t know if this will work for other makes of winch – please let me know?)

Oh, and as for whether the Winchers work – yes they are great! My sheets are too big I think, but if I wind them round the winch 3 times, the ribbing on the under side of the Wincher seems to hold the sheet in most circumstances without even being fed through the groove. I was flying back across Torbay yesterday and they did slip. But in fairness I had full genoa up (and no main) on a beam reach and it was well over 20 knots steady. They slipped in a gust, but to be honest it was pretty clear that I needed to roll in a reef anyway.

As for winching in and steering singlehanded, I have that sussed now too: luff up just enough to take the fullness out of the sail but not enough to back it, give the sheet a quick heave and then bear away again. Sorted. And it’s all even easier if I don’t then have to lean over and tie off the sheet!