We have six winches on Callisto, plus a windlass. A winch is a device that uses gears to multiply force. In sailing, the person who operates the winches is called a grinder...usually me. This is what I use all those rowing muscles for in the winter....
We use our winches to give us mechanical advantage for raising and setting the sails. We also use them for lifting heavy objects on and off the boat. Each winch has six gears, several roller bearings, all held together by small pins and matching up the teeth of the gears. Of course, the material that allows all these parts to move easily is GREASE. And, grease gets dirty and deteriorates over time, especially in the tropical, salty environment.
So, it's a two person job, one to make sure none of the bits gets lost when we take the winches apart (me), one to clean off the grease using mineral spirits and elbow grease (not me), and one to hand out paper towel, rags, doses of grease and general moral support, again me. (aka criticism about how the job is being done)
This was also a two afternoon job. We have two large winches that weigh 50 pounds and have lots of surfaces that need lubrication. We did the job and then looked in the cleaning bucket and found spacers (gasket like rings) left over. Whoops! Everything had to be taken apart again and the pieces put in place. Day two went better, but the mess! We have good soap and scrub brushes, plus we have been blessed? with a solid day of heavy rain today for a good fresh water rinse.
Enough about boat chores! We are in Admiralty Bay in Bequia, which is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is the place where we took our first Scuba course, and we always try to do a few dives while we are here. Our first dive was at the reef we used in our class. It is in great shape, lots of nice corals and sponges and many different fish species. We also had a treat of seeing four different kinds of eels on our dive...plus lobsters and two wrecks.
We plan to leave on Friday for St. Lucia, where we'll be joined by some friends and family over the holidays.