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Keep Safe

Well maintained steering and winches not only last longer, but minimize the risk to the crew and craft from unexpected malfunction or failure



Q: Why do I need my winches serviced?

A: All mechanical products need to be serviced to keep them in good working order. The winch is one of the most under maintained items of equipment and one we take for granted-until it breaks.

It’s not necessarily the amount of use they get that does the damage, it’s the high loads and shock loads they’re under while in use. The loads these winches generate can be deceptively high. Think how tight the genoa sheet is when fully loaded in a stiff breeze. The rope can be so tight that it’s more like a steel bar! If the winch lets go at this point-the shock loading can do serious internal damage to the winch components-not to mention the damage to the person tailing the rope at the time. The cost of replacing a pair of genoa sheet winches on an average 30 footer, would be in excess of £1800.00 ex VAT at today’s prices. Fingers cannot be replaced quite so easily.

Q: What if I only sail in light winds?

A: Even worse! In light winds the shock loading on gears as sheets go slack and snatch back under load can cause just as much damage-rather like hitting the internal components with a hammer.
Winches are designed to generate high loads slowly. Sudden loading can cause pawls to shatter and split the sidewalls of gears or even break gear teeth.

Q: How often should I have my winches serviced?

A: Most manufacturers recommend that you should have your winches serviced at least once every year. More often if you race on a regular basis.

Q: My winches are still under warranty, do they need servicing?

A: Manufactures do give a 3-year limited warranty on new winches. However, this warranty is only valid if the winch has been regularly maintained (read the small print). We have seen many winches that were less than 3 years old, in need of expensive replacement parts, simply because they were not serviced regularly. I also saw winches that were 15 years old, in as good as new condition, which will last for another 20 years-because the owner, had looked after them. Okay, this particular owner was a retired engineer who had owned the boat form new-but it really does make that much difference!

Nowadays, It’s hard, if not impossible to find spares for winches that are ten or more years old. Especially for Lewmar, Barlow and Barient winches, which makes it even more important to keep them in good working condition.

Keep Sailing

Let us help maximise your sailing by keeping your winches and steering systems in full working order.

Lewmar incorporates Whitlock South,
the approved supplier and
service agent for Lewmar/Whitlock steering gear.

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