What Is A Self-Tailing Winch? – Advantages Of A Self-Tailing In 2023

A person does not require a crew member to assist them in sailing the boat by holding the tail because self-tailing winches retain the line in place. Self-Tailing Winches have tails wrapped in a jam cleat around the winch’s drum that is placed above the drum.

When you crank the drum, the winch instantly pulls the tail up. This winch is one that a person who is not a crew member may use to operate efficiently. Most often by themselves, sailors use them.

Winches, mainly when sailing, can be very dangerous despite how simple they are to use. The risk, in a way, is that a fallen wire cable can rip your finger or hand off if you are using a standard winch without a tail jam.

You won’t need to worry about scams utilizing a tailing winch, though. These capstan winches feature an open end and a drum encircled by winching wire.

Self-Tailing Winch

Ways To Convert Manual Winches Into Self-Tailing Winch.

It is not a good idea to purchase a new winch just because the one you have doesn’t self-tail, particularly if you have a tight budget.

Self-tailing winches are relatively expensive and may be challenging if you don’t have more than a few hundred dollars.

However, we have come up with a couple of better alternatives because there is always a backup plan.

You can build self-sailing winches rather than purchasing them, which are inexpensive.

Three Ways To Convert Your Winches:

1. Winches Converter kit

With the help of the winches converter kit, you can quickly transform manual tailing winches into self-tailing winches.

Winches Converter kit

The new entire drum that replaces the previous, manually operated drum is included in this kit, along with a feeding arm.

You can avoid purchasing a brand-new winch by doing this. A brand-new self-tailing winch set for the boat is created by adding the necessary component.

2. Winchmate Conversion Kit:

To effectively convert your winches, you can use the Winchmate conversion kit. A brand-new top drum in its whole, complete with a feeding arm, is included with this kit.

 By making your winch self-tailing in this method, you can regulate your lines and have an actual self-tailing winch.

3. Winches


In addition to helping you convert your winches to self-tailing, winches are more affordable but rarely utilized tools.

Winches are straightforward rings of rubber that convert. 

They are affordable. Installation can be a pain, but it shouldn’t be too challenging.

4. Replacement

The best but most expensive option to achieve self-tailing winches is a replacement.

How To Choose A Self-Tailing Winch?

You have to know about self-tailing. But there are some points let’s dive into in 


The first row discusses dimensions, and the second row discusses the sail area of various winches, including the genoa, mainsail, spinnaker, and staysail.

2. Sail Area

One of the most crucial tasks is figuring out the sail area. Because the sail’s surface area will allow you to determine how much ground is being pushed by the wind.

Winch and wind should work together to create the ideal combination that will enable you to sail.

How Do You Use It?

You might consider the range of applications for a self-tailing winch now.

Although these are used for more than simply sailing the boat—you already know they’re good at it—they take up a lot of room.

On windy days, the wise employ them to regulate the breast or spring lines.

Power is used to keep it on the dock since it has a self-tailing winch.

Advantages Of A Self-Tailing Winch?

A self-tailing winch will automatically hold the line. You insert the tail of the line into a slot at the top of it.

The line will automatically tail as you turn the winch. You can winch the lines with one hand free, thanks to this.

It will feel fantastic to convert to a self-tailing winch after years of using a non-self-tailing winch. It will be difficult for you to imagine life without these.

Winches with self-tailing capabilities will keep your line even after you stop cranking it. When thinking about a self-tailing winch, the required size is crucial.

Frequently Asked Question:

1. What Is A Winch Used For On A Sailboat?

Nearly all sailing vessels over twenty feet in length have sailboat winches. Instead of pulling your sheets and halyards in by hand, winches allow you to wind them using a crank.

Winches are mechanical tools used to control forces, just like blocks.

2. What Is Sailboat Winch Means?

The power ratio of the winch is related to the winch numbers. That is equal to the most excellent gear ratio multiplied by the winch handle’s length, the drum’s radius, and half the diameter of the rope.

The rope will be pulled in by 1 inch when a size 48 winch handle is turned through an arc of 48 inches.

3. How To Use A Non-self-tailing Winch?

  1. Before putting the sheet around the winch, take up any slack.
  2. Beginning at the bottom, wind the line clockwise around the winch.
  3. If you can, take up extra line slack after three wraps.
  4. Place the handle in place and turn the winch handle.


The best addition is self-tailing winches, although they are pricey.

You can build your self-tailing winches using a few low-cost methods. Installing “winches” will convert your winches most quickly and affordably possible.

To hold the rope for you, these are only basic rubbers. You can use a winch conversion kit like Winchmate. Or, you may use self-tailing winches in place of the current ones.


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