View Full Version : Sailboat Winch on Powerboat Stern
10-05-2004, 02:27 PM
I saw a powerboat with a winch on the stern. I was told it was used for a stern tie here in the Pac NW, and to be used in the event of a soft grounding for kedging off.
It sounded like a pretty good idea to me. Any thoughts on how to size such a winch for kedging off a soft grounding? Any better methods/designs?
10-05-2004, 03:01 PM
I use a winch to kedge off on occasion (not that I ever run aground). But we have pretty big primary winches--with the drum about 8 ins. in diameter, and a hefty gear reduction. They can pull more than a thousand pounds. Problem with winching anchor line is that it is usually pretty big compared to sailboat sheets, hence needs a hefty drum to grip. It sounds like a kind of expensive way to have a cleat and anchor winch.
Basic seamanship skills are all that is required here, folks; no need for expensive deck winches and their requisite deck stiffening. Fit two shouldered eyebolts low on the transom in a location where they will pass through some strong structure such as the knees that tie the transom to the longitudinal stringers. Be sure to fit the bolts with large washers or backing plates. The eyebolts will be unobtrusive on the transom and can be used for other tasks such as tying off water toys or waterskiing tow ropes. Carry a kedge anchor & rode and a three-part block and tackle with 50 feet of ˝” line in a locker under the sole. The block and tackle should be fitted with cargo hooks on both blocks. If you find yourself grounded, follow these steps to freedom:
1.) Carry the kedge anchor off astern to as deep water as your scope and height allows. Tie off the bitter end of the kedge rode to one of the transom eyebolts, or lead it aboard to be tended by a crewperson if you plan on backing down at the same time as kedging.
2.) Rig the block and tackle to the other transom eyebolt, and out-reeve the tackle until there is only about six to ten feet of line in the cockpit.
3.) Fasten the kedge anchor rode to the outboard block cargo hook with a marlingspike hitch tied in a bight (Ashley, knot #1880, pp 314) at the extreme reach of the tackle. This knot holds firmly but is easy to untie to reposition the hook.
4.) Grab on to the tackle line in the cockpit and heave. An average person can pull with about eighty pounds of force. With the mechanical advantage of the three-part tackle (less friction losses), that is multiplied to about 225 lbs. Have your buddy help and you have about 450 lbs of hauling force – probably more that the thrust of the propeller that put you on the bank.
5.) When you are done, the kedging gear goes away down in the bilge and out of the way.
The cost of the block and tackle is about half of what you’d pay for a yacht winch of equal pulling power, and installation is much easier. Plus there is no need to strengthen the deck and have a lump of metal permanently on display on the aft deck. The ˝” rope is easy on the hands and is probably much stronger that the holding power of the kedge anchor, so there is no fear of it failing suddenly under strain. And there is no risk of a lost winch handle just when you need it most.
This should work for a boat up to about 2 - 3 tons displacement, which covers most stinkpots that are used in thin waters.
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