It’s an essential tool on a sailboat but too many of us take them for granted. If your winches are not spinning freely or you have not serviced yours in over a year it’s time to do it. Boat service companies charge $100 to $200 to do this. It seems intimidating at first with all the gears, springs, and other small parts but watch this video to see how easy it is to do yourself. All sailboat owners should know this basic skill.
We bought a replacement for our mast-mounted winch we use for our mail halyard. It was self-tailing and the one that was on our boat was not. We found this used one a boater’s resale in Kemah Texas. It was half the price of a new one but needed servicing badly. We did have the luxury of doing the cleaning at a table before it was mounted on the mast. Yours will likely be done in place wherever your winch is on your boat. While other models of winch will be slightly different the basics are the same. This example is on a Lewmar 30.