Building better bases for the coachroof winches

/ March 19, 2017/ sailing

After I sailed Aslana for a while, I decided to re-fit her for single-handed sailing. This meant leading lots of lines back to the cockpit, and upgrading the captive winches to self-tailers. The ones on the coachroof were installed at a bad angle relative to the triple clutches ahead of them, so this winter has seen me taking them back off, patching the holes drilled through the coachroof,, and building new bases for them to sit on.

The process is fairly simple, and a bit like what West System document in their brochures. In Aslana’s case, I used a variant of the technique that was used for the clutch bases – building a well with Milliput, then casting the base by filling the well with West System + high density filler mixed to a meringue-like consistency.


The epoxy was kept away from the hull with cling film, and the resulting base was sanded to get a smooth outside and flat top. Once done, it was bonded to the coachroof with Sikaflex, and the winch was put back on top for measuring where the holes needed to go. In the future, I’ll just print off a 100% sized template and stick it to the base – much easier for drilling holes correctly!

With the holes drilled (through the existing 1 cm marine ply backing plate), Sikaflex was again used to bed the winch to the base, and the bolts were tightened up with normal nuts. The extra lengths on the bolts were then removed with a Dremel + cutting disks, and the locking nuts put in place.
Well, almost. The last winch still needs finishing before Aslana is launched and put up for sale.