Grip and Grind

Finding a place to put a winch handle so it is secure but can be reached quickly when it’s needed is always a challenge. Winch pockets are good solutions, but they can crack, and many of them need to be screwed on or mounted with hardware. Those are some of the reasons why some racing crews are using Velcro to hold their winches in place.

Here’s how it works. First, decide where the winch handle(s) is to be located: a bulkhead, deck, cockpit wall, or possibly the mast. Put down a length of sticky-back Velcro-either 1 or 2 inches wide-on the designated location. Next, wrap the opposing piece of Velcro around the winch handle at the handle’s balance point. When both pieces are securely in place, the handle can be secured or retrieved quickly, without requiring a crewmember to divert his/her eyes or attention.

The downside is that Velcro isn’t quite as secure as a winch-handle pocket, so everyone on board needs to be aware of the handle’s location. A hard kick or bump could send it overboard. David Schmidt

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