Genoa sheets and runaway winches

John Hollamby <annejohnholl@...>

When we replaced these sheets we made them two metres longer as the original lenth was inadequate when the other sheet was poled out.

Following that terrble tale of someones arm being wrenched off I have wondered what I would do in the same situation. I now know because the port winch started running of its own accord whilst we were in a marina with furled sails.It was likely to break the clew or the forestay or bring the mast down. Luckily I was in the cockpit and grabbed the tail as it poured off the winch to pull it out of the self tailer. My first attempt failed but luckily it worked at my second attempt and the forestay returned to its normal position. Hopefully nothing has been overstressed!!
Why did it happen? Anne was cleaning the area in front of the wheel and had moved my plastic box containing a Leatherman and steering lock and put it on top of the problem. Then she put a bottle of liquid into the box which triggered the winch. As the controls were out of sight she could not imagine what had fired up the winch.
Thought you would like to know!

Regards, Anne and John, SM319

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