The Classic Winch Company is presently working on recreating original classic winches as they were designed and built from nearly 100 years ago until into the 1960's for various classic yachts currently under restoration in Europe or undergoing an upgrade to once more make them competitive in the growing circuit of events and World Championships. We not only build new classic winches but can restore and improve old, existing winches as well. We can improve the gearing and access to bearings and gears ensuring that maintenance can be reduced to a minimum while the power ratio of the winch is improved.
Winter maintenance and upgrades
The Classic Winch Company was jump started with two interesting assignments on a couple of the largest winches fitted on classic yachts.
The 55 metre gaff schooner Germania Nova sent us two of their large winches that were supplied by Holmatro when the yacht was launched in 2011 and with which they were having minor problems. Germania Nova is a replica of Krupp's famous racing schooner Germania I which was originally launched in 1908. Both winches were repaired and upgraded with new seals and bearings making them much less susceptible to wear and tear from salt and sand.
One of the work horses of the Meissner line of winches was the 300STB. With differently styled drums in black aluminium or nickel aluminium bronze, standard and self-tailing, this large grinder winch was fitted on modern maxi's such as for instance Nicorette as well as several large classics such as Eleonora, Nordwind, Mariette and Sumurun. Last winter one of them that had seen 20 years of faithful service on a very competitive yacht was sent to us for some winter maintenance.
We dismantled it and gave it a full upgrade with a completely new designed system for removing and cleaning the gears. This upgrade makes it possible to remove the gears without dismantling (unbolting) the centre stem so cutting the maintenance time per winch from several hours to a matter of minutes. With a simple tool the axles of the gears are pulled straight up and the gears slide out to the side of the centre stem.
The 5.5 Metre Class
More and more old 5.5 Metres are being sought out and restored by discerning owners. These beautiful and dainty but also quite powerful little yachts have particular wishes regarding their winches. Deck winches need to be low and strong with, if possible, a wider drum for ease of trim but with the handle set up for use from below deck. Wire runners are often led via a block mounted in the deck down below to a large steering wheel styled set up for ease of use by the helmsman.
The Classic Winch Company has been asked by two German yards to produce custom made replicas of these two types of winch for a number of 5.5 and 6 Metre yachts.
The 6 and 8 Metre Class
As with the 5.5 Metres these two classes are growing and going from strength to strength with many yachts under restoration and yards even delivering meticulously researched and exquisitely built replicas of yachts that have been lost or destroyed over the years. Meissner and Holmatro already supplied a series of what were called Metre Class Winches, sheet, runner and halyard winches for these classes with low, wide drums for better grip and trimming. The Classic Winch Company has already built new winches of comparable design but with improved gearing and even lower styled gear housings.
We have supplied several of our Metre Class 35 winches as primaries to a 6 Metre and spinnaker winches for an 8mR. These were all fitted with nickle-aluminium-bronze drums but we are currently also making these winches with an aluminium drum that halves the total weight of the winch.
We are now making replicas of a low, wide pancake winch that was lent to us by a sympathetic owner of a 6 Metre. These light single speed winches will be exact copies of the original winch from the 1930’s. We are also at present researching the possibility of improving this winch with a modification to make it 2 speed. Stronger and faster!
The 12 Metre Class
We have just delivered a complete winch package for the rebuilt 12 Metre Jenetta that has just been launched in Flensburg, Germany. For this project we made replicas of classic coffee-grinders as designed by Rod Stephens in the 1930's for several Sparkman and Stephens designed 12 Metres such as Vim and also various ocean racers. With the identical outward appearance of the original winches but built lighter through the use of aluminium but with improved gearing and bearings. The package also consisted of 10 deck winches and one boom winch. Four of these winches are self-tailing while the others are all standard winches.
All these winches are fitted with our renowned slide bearings and with the grey anodised aluminium drums have the looks of original old winches. All deck winches have identical centre-stems and gears but differences in power ratios of 50, 55 and 60 are achieved by varying the diameter of the drums. So a single spare set is all that is needed for all the winches. The use of aluminium in the centre-stems and drums means that for instance the large ST60’s weigh in at an incredible 12.8 kilo!
We have just delivered an electric Fairlie 50 winch for the 1913 gaff ketch Tirrenia II. This yacht has just been launched after an extensive refit in Viareggio, Italy. We are proud to have delivered the only winch on this yacht which will be used as an stern capstan during mooring and as a manual sheet winch while sailing. At the request of the owner both the centre-stem as well as the drum of this winch was machined from a solid block of nickle-aluminium-bronze.
At our facility in Serooskerke we are hard at work on two exciting new projects.
The first is the four-masted square rigger Peking that is being restored in Germany as a future museum ship for the newly founded Maritime Harbour Museum in Hamburg. Originally launched in 1911 this impressive vessel, 377 feet long and a displacement of 3.100 tons, with be fully fitted out to her original specifications. So despite her museum ship status for instance, all winches on deck will be fully operational. We are therefore extremely happy to be able to announce that the Classic Winch Company has been given the commission to build the 3 massive “brasswinden” that are used for handling the massive ra’s on this extraordinary vessel. Delivery is due later this summer.
Germán Frers is undoubtedly one of the greatest designers of our age. Renowned for a wide range of racing yachts, America’s Cup Class yachts and latterly for his superyacht designs. We are particularly proud that the Classic Winch Company has been given the commission to build the winches for a yacht that is currently under construction and is intended for his own use. This yacht was designed by his father in 1943 and promises to be a beautiful and fast addition to the classic fleet. She is a 67 foot ketch and will be fitted with a package of bronze Fairlie winches, some of which will be 3 speed and also a few will be electric to facilitate handling while cruising with a smaller crew. This package is due for delivery this summer.