Since the advent of modern winches, easing sheets under load has been problematic. Doing so requires uncleating the line or removing it from the self-tailer, a procedure fraught with hazard for the unwary—until now. In the run-up to the Annapolis Boat show, Harken and Seldn have both unveiled new self-tailers that can ease a sail under load, with your fingers safely out of the way and the line under complete control.
The Harken version, called the “Rewind Radial,” is electrically powered and includes a red knob in the base that allows it to be switched into reverse. A modified, stainless steel stripping arm holds the line in the tailing mechanism, no matter which direction the winch is turning. When not working in reverse, the Rewind Radial functions the same as any other electric, two-speed winch. It can be used for sheets or halyards on boats from 35ft to 48ft LOA.
The Seldn Reversible Winch, on the other hand, is manually operated and employs a purpose-built winch handle with a button in the end of the grip. Pushing the button engages the winch’s reverse gearing, which allows you to ease a line by turning the handle clockwise. Like the Harken winch, the Seldn model includes a modified stripper, which keeps the line securely within the self-tailing jaws, allowing one-hand operation when trimming. When not in reverse mode, the Seldn Reversible Winch operates like any other two-speed manual winch.
For more on the Seldn Reversible Winch, click here.
For more on the Harken Rewind Radial, click here.