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Boat:     Rhumb Do                             Date:    July 2010

Winch:  GIBB Sheetmaster (8100 or 810C)

The genoa sheet winches (well, the starboard one!) had become stiff in rotation and my thought was that it was due to the desert sands of the last few months of sailing.  Of course, you should be servicing your expensive winches on a regular basis......Lewmar recommend doing the job 3 or 4 times during a sailing season, but that is probably a bit over the top.  I have to admit that I'm of the school, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" but I'm sitting out the monsoon season and I DO have a winch which is getting difficult to turn, (and they should be serviced at least once a year!), so let's get it apart and clean it up!

Firstly, I am unsure of the winch model!  The top of it is stamped 'GIBB ENGLAND' and the number 8100 or 810C.  Friends Bob and Liz tell me that it is a 'Sheetmaster' but I cannot verify that.   I did not have any manuals or printed information, nor could I find any on the internet for this particular model, so I would have to work it out as I went along, as it were.  The photo's were taken during the stripping and re-assembly in the hope they may help others who perhaps also have these ancient, but very robust winches!

I lashed canvas to the guardwires outboard of the winch to help prevent any bits 'pinging' off and falling overboard (previous experience on other winches) but on this occasion it was un-necessary because of the way the winch is constructed.  However, better safe than sorry.




With a wide blade screwdriver, undo the machine screw located in the winch handle socket, which allows you to 'wiggle' the central top ratchet out. 







Do not remove the black plastic seal in the top of the winch at this time because it holds the top pawls and springs in place while you are removing the main body.







Using a screwdriver or some other lever, and a hardwood block fulcrum to protect the fibreglass coaming, prise the winch body upward whilst rotating the winch regularly.  Don't worry.....everything inside is captive and nothing will fly out from beneath the winch when doing this!  You may have to fill the top recess with penetrating oil and leave overnight if it is particularly stiff.  





With the winch drum off, you are left with the internal gubbins bolted to the mounting base plate.  In this photo, the main spindle is caked with old hardened  grease etc., and I cleaned it up with wet 'n dry paper before lightly greasing and reassembling.






Undo the four retaining bolts and lift off the spindle and gearing.  As you lift it off, hold the lower gearwheel upward to prevent it falling - the ratchet pawls and springs are inside it and you don't want to lose those!








That just leaves the mounting base plate, which can be cleaned up and lightly smeared with grease in preparation for the 're-build.'







With the internal bits inverted (the winch body makes a good stand for this!), lift off what is now the upper gearwheel.  This exposes the pawls and springs which you can remove and clean up with paraffin or de-greasing fluid.  They only fit one way, so you can't make a mistake when putting the whole thing back together.  Clean all the other bits too............






.............taking care not to lose the washers on either end of the pawl carrying gearwheel







With these parts cleaned you can reassemble the inner workings of the winch, lightly greasing the spindles, gearing and non-moving parts.  Do not grease the ratchet pawls or springs - this attracts dirt and could lead to them jamming at a most inopportune moment of sailing.  Better to use light oil such as 3-in-1 for this.  Replace the assembly on the base plate and bolt it down.




The winch drum (the main body) has an upper and lower sleeve bearing which I believe is made of 'tufnol.'  If these are excessively worn, the drum would have noticeable lateral movement when fitted and you would have to obtain new ones.  I had a cutless bearing machined out of this material in Marmaris, Turkey, as did Wayne and Angie in Kemer.....so it shouldn't be too difficult to get replacements in other ports.  The underside of the drum (shown here) just needs to be cleaned and the gearing again lightly greased.




With the body now the right way up, carefully ease out the black plastic seal and remove the two upper pawls and springs. In the photo, the left one is out whilst the right is still in position.  Clean and refit them using 3-in-1 oil, as with the lower pawls.  Smear the seal with silicone grease to help stop the ingress of water and replace it.

It now just remains to slide the drum back onto the main spindle, replace the central upper ratchet and tighten the machine screw down.






That's it - job done - and a nice smooth running winch again!





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