What Is A Self Tailing Winch: Pros, Cons and Many More

Recently much rave and questions have been generated around “what is a self-tailing winch?” 

It means that most people who know about a winch and are quite familiar with its function usually have a wrong impression when they see or hear about a self-tailing winch for the first time which leaves them intrigued with the question.  

This article is the best place to read all you need to know about a self-tailing winch. And without further ado, we can proceed to enlighten you. 

What Is A Self Tailing Winch

With many still asking “what is a self-tailing winch?”, you should probably first know that a self-tailing winch is quite different from your usual winch. 

A self-tailing winch as implied in its name is a winch that is designed for usage by one person. It is a type of winch with a capstan design that is open on one end with a vertical drum that has the winch line wounding around it.

When the drum is cranked the tail is pulled by the winch and it simultaneously cranks the drum. And the winch will pull the tail immediately and effectively removes the need for a second person to pull the tail for you.

Self-tailing winches are mostly used by sailors on sailboats for hoisting sails.

Advantages Of A Self Tailing Winch

The self-tailing winch comes with  added benefits compared to a winch, and some of these advantages include:

• The self-tailing winch is designed in a way that allows it to be operated by one person without the aid of extra hands.

• The main advantage of the self-tailing winch is that it holds the line in place thus in so doing you do not need to hold the line while winching. This allows for simultaneous winding and holding of the tail and ease of use. 

How Do I Load A Self Tailing Winch

Installing a self-tailing winch can be physically demanding for newbies to winching. However, we would simplify the steps needed to safely install or load your self-tailing winch.

So after you purchase your new self-tailing winch, the first thing you would like to do is to determine a good location for your winch to sit. After then, read through the following steps on installing your self-tailing winch. 

The steps include: 

Step One: Decoupling of the winch

The first step to decoupling your self-tailing winch is to unscrew the winch central screw with a flat screwdriver and then remove the crank sleeve. And, afterward, remove the self-tailing crown and detach it from the doll. Finally, you can remove the winch doll.

Step Two: Accurately align the winch

The self-tailing winch should be placed perpendicularly to the rope. This is easily done by locating the star wheel.

Step Three: Secure the winch position

To secure the winch position, holes should be drilled to allow the winch to be held in place with screwed in nuts. This entails several steps such as:

• The holes should be milled to allow the application of sealing compounds.

• Then the screws should be fixed into the drilled winch holes.

• Now the sealing compound should be applied around the screws in the holes.

• The winch should then be realigned into the drilled holes.

• Then fix your nuts and washers to lock in your winch. It is also advisable to use a thread locker while screwing the nuts to prevent them from coming to unloose due to vibrations.

• Now screw in your winch and fix back the winch doll.

• Install and realign the self-tailing part in such a way that the end unfurls in the right place while you screw it in to enable the end to come out in the right place.

  Finally, return the crank sleeve and screw back the central screw.

Self-Tailing Winch Vs Non-Self Tailing Winch

Now that you know the answer to what is a self-tailing winch, the main difference between a self-tailing winch and a non-self-tailing winch is that a non-self-tailing winch has only the drum which only allows for manual tailing to ensure adequate friction necessary for winching.

While a self-tailing winch resolves the issue by the additional set of jaws and a feeder arm just above the drum. This acts as a jam cleat and aids in tailing the line for you while you are winching.Visit here to learn more about self tailing vs non self tailing winch.

What Is The Smallest Self-Tailing Winch?

The size of a self-tailing winch is also its power ratio which corresponds to the multiplier effect applied to the power generated by the operator. 

Thus, self-tailing winches possess narrow composite jaws that allow superb and efficient gripping effect on small-diameter lines. The smallest self-tailing winch known is size 15. 

Self Tailing Winch Conversion

Self-tailing winches are an awesome boost to the sailing experience but can be high priced. However, there is a couple of cost-effective ways to develop your self-tailing winches, with the simplest and most cost-effective way being buying and installing ‘winchers’. Then, convert your winches by installing ‘winchers’. 

These are simple rubber conversion rings that help you to hold the tail of the wire and enable your winch to operate like a self-tailing winch. Secondly, you can also purchase a winch conversion kit that allows you to convert your non-self-tailing winch into a self-tailing winch.

Final Thoughts

Self-tailing winches truly create a whole new experience in winching operations during sailing as seen in the article. I trust all you need to know about what is a

self tailing winch has been aptly answered. Great sailing!

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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