Rewind Winch - Decision ~ September 2015

A primary requirement of the refit of Rua Fiola was that all sails could be managed from within the cokpit, and that the outhaul and sheeting oeration could be managed by a 2 man crew of people in their mid-70's. Mack Sails who are a major part of the sail, mast and rigging refit did not react negatively when we started to talk about Electric Winches. In our mind we would need two. The first for handling the self-tacking Jib and the other for the in-mast furling main sail. The Vagabond 42 as built has 2 winches on either side of the cockpit coaming, Rua Fiola had at some time in the past had the rear Barlow winches replaced by Lewmar 50's, presumably to make the job of tacking with the larger Genoa sized Jib easier with less physical effort required.

As the conversation progressed Mack Sails suggested the use of Harken Rewind winches which they felt had a huge benefit for older cruisers in that the winch can operate in reverse radically simplify the the triming of both the Jib sand Main Sail while under way. Simply reverse the direction to tighten or loosen the sheet without the need hold any line or use a winch handle. This is the promise anyway.

Unipower Winch Decision ~ April 2016

We were suprised when Colin said he had order 4 Rewind winches for us. This was news, not something we would have done as the winches retail at over $5,000 each. The Mizzen sail is also in-mast furling and we have every intention of using a full sail set as much as possible - Jib, Main and Mizzen. The Vagabonds 42's are not renowned for their speed and we felt that a great balance could be obtained in a wide variety of weather conditions by always having a 3 sails readily available for use. Long story made short we were persuaded (1st Mate / Admiral) to consider using a Harken UniPower electric winch at the back of the coaming for Mizzen Sail sheet control.

Electric Winch Installations ~ Complete June 2016

For reasons best known best to Colin Mack he felt that the new Rewind winches should be placed where the front Barlow winches were and move the Barlows back to the rear position. Fitting the Harken Rewinds into the coaming is difficult. While the vertical height of the coaming is sufficient to encase the horizontal drive motor a certain amount if dis-assemble was required. Their were cockpit speakers in front of the winch locationand when removed the opening were used to slide the motor into place, as well a the solenoid FWD / REV contactor and the 120A fuses. Although Harken rate this winch as having a 700 Watt motor and the prewire was done for this rating, it was found that its Max working Load (MWL) it can draw up 2,300 Watts. The solenoid controller also has a low voltage drop out at about 11 volts, thus all the power wiring had to be changed to 1/0 AWG. The rear Barlow winches primary use is to manage the furling lines, with rope clutches ahead of the Harken winches at the front of the coaming.

The Harken UniPower was placed where the original Barlow was. The motor is vertical down below the winch body. Fortunately in the space between the coaming plywood base and the ceiling panels in the AFT berth, there is sufficient space for the motor. The wiring for the winches goes from the house bank, along the PORT side of the engine compartment, under the floor in the AFT berth up through the STBD closet and into the space between the ceiling paneland the fiberglass superstructure. At that point it divides 3 ways to the breakers, solenid control and the coaming mounted FWD / REV pushbuttons.

Does it all work?

When everthing is completed by Mack Sails we will find out how worthwhile this re-rigging of Rua Fiola really is, and how easy is it for two older people to sail the boat in all types of weather. This site will report on progress as it continues to be made and the results as we find them.