Over the last decade or so, a lot of thought and design work has gone into boats and systems that are easier to sail. We’ve seen self-tacking jibs and Hoyt Jib Booms proliferate through the cruising fleet for the simple reason that tacking and jibing large genoas is hard work for the crew. But most of us still have overlapping headsails that need to be trimmed every time we change course. Grinding winches, particularly when sailing on a long upwind leg, can grow tiresome for a small cruising crew, often a couple or a family with children. One of the reasons people get out of sailing their mid-size or larger cruising boats is because they no longer want to fight to trim sails. This is not just a problem for aging cruisers, it is also an issue for those sailing singlehanded, for families with small children and for new sailors who didn’t grow up with a winch handle in their hands. The simplest solution is to buy a Winchrite power tool that will grind the winches for you. A more permanent solution is to upgrade to electric powered cockpit and halyard winches. This is not as expensive and complicated as you might think, since most boat owners will be able to retrofit their existing winches with electric motors. All of the major winch manufacturers –Harken, Lewmar, Andersen, etc.—have conversion kits that are designed for DYI owners to install themselves. So, if you are sick of grinding jib and genoa sheets, or manually hoisting your partner to the mast head to check the rigging, then a good off-season project might just be electrifying your winches. It will add years of pleasure to your sailing and cruising life.