Today’s post is about wenches, no wait, that’s not right! This is a wench:
Today’s post is about winches! These are winches:
Winches are used to help pull the sails taut. The ropes, I mean lines and sheets, wrap around the winch to reduce the load (pressure, strain) so that your average non-Popeye can haul sails up or trim them. If sails are ‘luffing’, kind of billowing along the edges and make a flapping noise, then they aren’t being efficient.
My dining room table was covered with winch parts! Rick took them apart to get them working again. Some of these babies cost over a hundred bucks! Apiece! But, since this is a ‘budget’ yacht, we don’t just slap down hundred dollar bills willy-nilly! No! We try to fix them first. And by we I mean Rick.
Amazingly enough, Rick was able to get them all working again! One of them had small organic bits in it, like seeds, that were keeping the action from turning (I say ‘action’ because I have no idea what to call it really. Rick kept putting oil on it and finally in exasperation took it into the back and pounded on it mercilessly until it gave in.
The mechanism is simple. The wench rotates around a gear on a spindle – or maybe it’s the other way round. You pull on the rope and the wench turns and the sail tightens. As the wench turns a sticky-outy thing called a pawl is pulled over each notch but it will slip back into the notch stopping the wench from rotating the other direction. It’s sort of like the gears in a watch, you remember those old-fashioned wind-up kind?
Here’s a picture of a type of winch used to pull boats onto trailers, it might give you a better idea than my sad description of the thing.
Once you have the sail or boom or whatever where you want it, you secure (tie off) the line.
Part of Rick’s dilemma is that he’d really like all the winches to match, be from the same manufacturer. You and I may not care but it niggles at him that they aren’t all matchy-matchy. He can’t see dropping money for a part that works perfectly well, though, so he’ll put the non-matching winches on the mast, where they aren’t as visible.
Look again at the pic above to see the size difference of these winches. And this is nuthin’ compared to those on bigger boats!
Rick spends hours wandering around the internet looking for parts. He found some at Lowe’s. What is Lowe’s doing selling boat parts? It seems they only sell stainless steel items near marinas, so if you know of a Lowe’s near water, you can go online and see if they carry what you’re looking for. So Rick saved about 70% buying stuff there.
Rick feels guilty every time he spends money on the boat – its a cheap little thing and so easy to put more money into it that its worth, but honestly he pours over catalogs and online sites to find the best deal and he really knows how to pinch a penny! The boat needs to be serviceable and that’s about it. Plus, not only is Rick the ‘gotta educate myself about things before I make a move’ kind of person, we just lived through a horrible, horrible few years of ‘economic downturn’, which is political-speak for economic hell. We were fortunate (our accountant says we are the poster-children for doing things right and managing our company through the ordeal) but I don’t think we will ever think frivolously about money again.
I was at our niece’s grad college party on Saturday (YAY RONI!).
A friend, Shelly, and I were talking about how we no longer feel we need a 4000 sf house and she said something that resonated with me.
She said that the crash really ‘knocked the ugly out of us’. Shelly is right. We relearned what is important.
During those years, I’d tell people: We have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, gas in our cars and our kids are doing great. What more do we need?
And ain’t it the truth?
Except I keep flashing back to that hilarious Steve Martin movie ‘The Jerk’.
I don’t need anything…
…except this lamp…
…and this chair…