Winches are expensive and vital pieces of deck hardware that have a tough life and are often exposed to the elements all year round. So it is vital that you look after them.

If the sheets or guy are snagging, binding or the winch is not rotating freely then it is time for maintenance. It is important to make sure that there is no gunk or cracking inside that can impact on the load bearing capability.

Whether you are overhauling your winch yourself or getting some help, it might seem complicated, but it is really less daunting than you might think. There are lots of tips, step-by-step guides and useful videos to help, and once you have done it a few times you will feel really confident.

An easy process to follow is when you are removing and cleaning the different parts of the winch. I would recommend placing the parts in a box in the order that you remove them. So when cleaning each piece set it down in the same spot that you picked it up from, so that the parts are always in order to make reassembly easier and quicker.

When you are removing and cleaning the winch take time to carefully inspect the pawls and springs to check for any signs of wear, pitting or distortion, and replace them as needed.


If you are tired of having to hold a spinnaker or cruising shute without being able to quickly change or cleat it off in a figure of eight or unable to release sheets quickly, then the Barton wincher upgrades your existing winch to make itself tailing.

Perfect for cruising or shorthanded sailing, you can have confidence that it is locked off and can also benefit from quick release. A specially designed rubber moulding fits over the top of standard winches, converting them to self-tailing. This simple operation works when the line is sheeted under load, which means the coils climb up the winch drum and then become gripped by the underside of the wincher’s rubber body. It is designed to be easy to install and fit a range of popular winches.


As well as making sure that the winches are overhauled, as sailors, we are aware that the marine environment can affect the performance of our deck hardware. Therefore, regularly rinsing and flushing out with fresh water can remove much of the salt that may have accumulated, and extend the life of the winch as a result.