Before we sail, our biggest project is serving the winches. These winches operated pretty poorly, very loud and rough, even when we first bought the boat.

This boat has 7 Lewmar winches, and all are in need of service:

  • Two 48 Self Tailers (Jib Sheets, cockpit) – both serviced, port is missing a roller bearing (part #1300-SA2)
  • Two 16 Self Tailers (Halyards, mast)
  • One 40 Self Tailer (Mainsheet, cockpit) – fully serviced
  • One 8 (outhaul, foredeck)

Servicing winches is something that just needs to happen. Typically you service your winches 1-2 times per season, depending on how often you use them. If any of the following problems appear, it is time to service your winch:

  • Ratcheting feels sluggish: Pawls may have been greased instead of oiled. Clean any grease off and then oil pawls.
  • The winch doesn’t turn freely: Refer to the winch manual and clean, grease and oil the winch. Check for damaged springs, pawls or bearings to make sure nothing else is wrong.
  • The winch can be turned in both directions: Indicates a problem with the pawls. They may be stuck in grease or damaged.

Poorly serviced winches can be a hazard when sailing, so it is best to service them promptly.

We digitize service manuals and guides whenever possible. Our Lewmar Winch Service Guide is available here.