Boathandling: How to Wind Winches

If you have invited guests aboard for an afternoon sail or for a cruise and you know they have limited sailing experience but want to be involved on deck, here’s a way to get them working that lets you be sure things are in order. Cut out some circular plastic rings that will fit snugly around your winch bases. Then put a series of arrows on the upper ring face—you can either use decals or draw them with an indelible pen—pointing in a clockwise direction; the same way a sheet is wound around a winch. You can also put the arrows directly on the deck, but that’s a more permanent arrangement.

Once it is obvious everyone knows the right routine with the winches (you should include some hands-on instructions about the proper hand positions), you can quietly remove the rings and put them below until the next group of friends want to go out and help you sail the boat.

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