Serving Long Island Sound to the Caribbean and Beyond, since 2001

Quality Care for the Finest Yacht. Yours.

Copyright 2015 DAKOTA MARINE YACHT SERVICES

Or, try it yourself. See our blog article on  Servicing a Winch.

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2. Lift off the top cap. Underneath the top cap you’ll find a 2-piece collet.

1. Unscrew the four  machine screws of the top cap. This step can be quite different for other Lewmar series/models winches and other brands.

Servicing a Winch

Step By Step

in Pictures

It pays to maintain your winches. Unfortunately, the winch this gear set lived in was not regularly maintained.

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​LEWMAR SPECIAL

Lewmar Service Special ad running now

We visit many sailboats in our primary service area here in Connecticut to tend to their winches right on board at the slip or mooring. We've even visited boats in Florida to do the same while there doing some major projects on other boats. However, most of the winches we serviced have been shipped to us from all over the Western Hemisphere, including places like Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and even states in the union that you wouldn't expect would have many sailboats. It's all as a result of a little special we offered online a few years back promoting Lewmar winch service locally. Somehow, it got seen by many others from far outside our service area, and then all brands of winches began appearing at our door for service from locations hundreds, even many thousands of miles away. 


Over the years, we have serviced nearly every type and size of sailboat winch made. Many were obscure winch brands, but most were Barients, Barlows, Harkens, Andersens, and of course, Lewmars, which started it all for us. 


We now encourage winches be sent in to our shop for proper maintenance service, from anywhere in the U.S. and beyond. You might be surprised to find out that shipping charges can be quite reasonable, especially for smaller winches, many of which can be Priority Mailed for 11 or 12 bucks! UPS and FedEx also both offer similar options. 


Our service rates for all brands of winches---not just Lewmars---are the most reasonable you will likely find anywhere, considering the thoroughness of our service. That surely has contributed to the fact that we have received so many winches for service from so many places on this side of the planet.


Face the Facts


Okay, be honest. When was the last time you had your winches serviced properly---taken completely apart; stripped of virtually every morsel of dirt, salt and grease; inspected; springs replaced; everything lubricated (per manufacturers recommendation); reassembled and tested? Three years, five years, ten, ever?


Replacement parts for older winches (70s-90s) are few and far between and in many cases, not even available any longer. If you don't maintain your winches on a regular basis, start checking the cost of new ones. They won't last forever without regular service. And they certainly aren't inexpensive to buy. Though they may look good on the outside, if they are not regularly maintained, they may be ready to retire to paperweight status by the end of your next cruise.


There are many metal parts working against each other inside one of those shiny winch drums that you so diligently clean and polish every few weeks or so. In our harsh marine environment, salt will always find a way into every moving part, eventually starting the corrosion process if left unchecked. Dirt and metal shavings continue to grind down the surfaces every time the winch is spun. Small parts wear down over time. The best remedy is prevention in the first place, right from day one. But, at any time as the years go by, a good, thorough cleaning and re-lubrication, assuming the damage isn't too far along yet, will add life to those muscular little guys. Even better is on-going, regular maintenance which will keep them running smooth and more efficiently, with little worry about breakdowns (or extremely expensive replacements).


As a rough guide, most serious race boats should have their halyard winches serviced a couple times a year, with inspections on a more regular basis. Their genoa and spinnaker winches--the primaries and secondaries---may need even more service. Cruising boats that are used mostly on weekends or a couple days a week, with an extended cruise thrown in each season can probably get away with a service schedule of once every couple seasons or so. But again, the primaries require more attention, so be more diligent with them.


We service all brands of mechanical sailboat winches. Single speeds, 2-speeds, 3-speeds, regular and self-tailers. Chromed, bronze or anodized aluminum. Parts are extremely limited on winches more than 10 years old, so again, don't wait 'til they break. Due to this website's standing on Google, in addition to receiving winches from all over the country for service, we also get calls and emails on almost a daily basis. SOme are for a quick how-to question. But most are from sailors from all over the country, and beyond, looking for parts that are no longer in stock anywhere and are no longer being produced by the manufacturer. It's a common problem. So....SERVICE YOUR WINCHES!


LEWMAR SERVICE SPECIAL, Great Overall Pricing


We've got a pretty attractive service deal on LEWMAR 2-speed winches (up to size 40) running all winter. A winch disassembly, cleaning, proper lubrication of every part, inspection, replacement of pawl springs and reassembly normally takes about 1.5 hrs per winch to do a complete and thorough job, depending on condition and size. At normal industry rates, that could cost $150 a winch. At DMYS, all 2-speed LEWMAR winches up to size 40 will be serviced for a flat rate of $69 a winch and only $55 for single speed winches. There is a two-winch minimum. A materials/parts service kit is additional at about $27 and is usually enough for care for two winches, depending on size of the winches. The photos at left, above and below are a sampling of the process.


Though these rates are very special, we also offer discounted rates on larger, more complex LEWMARs. Winches over size 40 start to get more and more involved as the size goes up from there. The time necessary to clean them grows exponentially as the size of the winch increases. So we charge for larger winches based on actual time spent, but then charge a lower hourly rate for LEWMARS, than our advertised hourly rate. At present, the discounted hourly rate is $59. On average, a size 55 LEWMAR winch takes about 2 hours or so to tear-down completely, thoroughly clean every piece, inspect, replace all the pawl springs and reassemble. If they are particularly bad or gunked up, it could take longer. But, less time if they have had continued service over the years. 3-speed LEWMARS can take nearly twice as long as a similarly-sized 2-speed.


Other brands of winches are billed based on actual time at our low industry rate, which of course is still very reasonable, at $69/hr.


As mentioned, any parts or supplies are charged additionally. Pawl springs are always replaced on winches that have not been serviced for awhile, but the cost for them is only about $2 each. If the winch has been regularly serviced, it's unlikely many other parts will be necessary. A service kit, costing under $30 will likely be needed for two, size 40 winches. 10 pawl springs will be included in the kit. For service that requires more than 10 springs for the two winches, the additional springs are charged individually, as needed. As long as we don't find any broken parts or extremely scored or worn gears/spindles, that would be about the extent of the parts charges.


There is a travel fee for boats that must be serviced outside of the Milford/Stratford area. You can always send them into us. Servicing them in the shop is certainly more ideal than servicing them on board anyway. You'll need to get them off the boat and we'll be happy to give you the guidance to perform that task. Usually, it is not too difficult. We'll even help you by phone in reinstalling them properly if you need us.


Once we're done with them, you'll be good to go for another season or so. But, don't wait for more than a coupe seasons to have them all serviced again. The harsh environment in which they must perform, over and over again, handling extremely high loads, will catch up to them soon enough. The only way to protect them is to have them serviced, properly, on a regular basis. It's not going to break the bank, unless you don't take care of them.


Now don't say we didn't warn you.



somewhere over the horizon, we service a LOT of sailboat winches.

Whether from within our service area or sent in to us from