As yachts get bigger, the loads on halyards and sheets increase, meaning the strength needed to manage the sails also increases. Every sailor knows that grinding winches can be hard work, especially when sailing short-handed.
It is important to keep winches serviced to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible but on a large yacht they still require a fair amount of effort to operate.This can be overcome by installing electric winches or electrifying the headsail furler, ensuring a sailor can sail shorthanded, with young or inexperienced crew or continue to sail without downsizing as they get older.
Easier and more controlled sail handling can also be achieved by powering up a furling mast.
With this in mind, I came across some interesting solutions at the Southampton Boat Show this week on the Selden Mast stand, where they were running demos of their E40i electric winch and SMF furling system.
Launched in 2018, Furlex Electric is a compact and weatherproof electric foresail furling system.
Furlex Electric is designed around a highly efficient 42V electric motor. A DC/DC converter (PSU, Power Supply Unit) converts the boat’s 12V or 24V to 42V which allows for thinner cables to the motor unit, easy installation and a compact unit design.
Power is transmitted to a self-locking worm gear to rotate the luff extrusion at a max torque of 60Nm (204E), 90Nm (304E) and 135Nm (404E). The high torque levels mean furling the foresail will be possible even during the most inclement of conditions.
It’s also an intelligent system which understands how much power to use, working fast or slow at your command, consuming the minimum power necessary, and it’s built to last.
E40i electric winch
Ideal for single or short-handed sailing, the three-speed E40i electric winch can be operated by the helm with two fingers, one to start the winch and one to switch speeds.
Available with a black anodized aluminium or a stainless-steel drum, the E40i winch is built around an electric motor which is totally integrated into the drum, leaving just three thin cables protruding. The E40i is ideal for operating halyards, furling lines and sheets led to the coach roof.
Synchronised Main Furling
Seldén’s Synchronised Main Furling (SMF) system, allows its E40i electric winch and its electric in-mast furling systems to communicate. A single button unfurls the sail while the electric winch tensions and pulls in the outhaul – it’s sailing at the touch of a button.
The SMF system converts 12 or 24V to 42V ensuring the system doesn’t drain any power, which is particularly important for larger yachts which may spend longer away from shore power during extended cruising or an ocean crossing. The system moves into sleep mode when not in use, further minimising any excess power drainage.
Available on yachts up to 50ft, the SMF system isn’t just for new boats. Easy to install, it can be retrofitted to RB and RC furling masts.
To find out more about the Seldén and its product range visit: https://www.seldenmast.com