Do you find that you get wraps on your jib winches or just want give a better lead angle to the winch? In the last race we did, a crew member got a wrap so tight that the only way to release it was to cut the sheet with a knife. We strung the lazy sheet to the secondary winch and took the pressure
off but that was not enough to free the wrap, that is when the knife came out. It cost us only one place in the race but got me to investigate the issue of providing some kind of better lead angle into the winch. The winch manufacturer recommends between 3 and 8 degrees as the ideal sheeting angle. In my case, after careful measurements I found I had a 2 inch drop in 36 inches which is just a tad over 3 degrees, which is at the low end of the recommendation. Given that it did wrap, something like 6 degrees might help the situation. It is often good to start with just two wraps and then add more if needed after the jib is most of the way in. In my case, with Andersen winches, two wraps is sufficient against my 1/2 inch jib sheets. But before making the measurement of the actual lead angle I used the sketch to the left which is part of a 3-d CAD model I have for my boat. It showed 0 degrees lead angle so apparently it is not all that accurate. Thus started my look at alternatives.
The most obvious change would be to add a block on the deck. This has the advantage of being low friction and would clearly do the job. It has the disadvantage of the cost of the block plus the added deck clutter, the block banging into things and how to mount it. Do I put down a track to give some adjustment or a fixed stand up block? These questions led me to investigate using a non block fairlead and that will be the thrust of this article.
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