Latest News: Forums Technical Bow eye for Winch

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  • #3736

    Hi All

    My W sits on a road trailer with a winch. This then allows me very easily to launch and retrieve on my own, or needing little assistance from my kids if they are with me.

    I have long been thinking to put a metal eye on the stem post of my W, but have been hesitant because I do not know what construction the goes into the bow section of a GRP Mk II.

    So this weekend I decided I would bite the bullet, drill a hole of two, and see what material come out when I drilled in.

    I now have two 1/4″ holes on the stem post. I was hoping to find myself drilling through a small layer of fibreglass, followed by a big chunk of wood.

    However, I found the drill going through a bit more easily than I had expected, and as far as I can see there is some GRP then some wood, but maybe this is 1/4″ thick. (Hard to tell when looking down a narrow drill hole).

    I note that the Canadian Ws all appear to have a metal eye on the bow. So if I were to assume similar construction (big if!!) then things would appear to be OK.

    So I am now in a position where I either bite the bullet, send one of the kids inside and bolt it on from the inside, and hope and pray next time I haul out that I dont rip the front section of my W apart as I haul in, or I lose faith and fill the holes and go back to my previous method (involving ropes and things).

    I would like to have an eye, this would make things more aligned with the winch, but do not wish to do this if I am asking more than can be expected of my boat.

    For info, I have a GRP MK II, circa 1990. The Eye I have is a U shape, where the two ends of the U insert into the boat, and there is a backing plate going across both before the nuts go on.

    My question – what thoughts and experience have people had of putting in an eye? good or bad. I would welcome all views.



    Bob Harland

    I think you would want to put some fairly substantial means of spreading the load. A large piece of timber, epoxied in place.
    If I was doing something like this on my own boat, I would want the timber to go from the underside of the deck to the top of the buoyancy compartment. And certainly an inch thick.
    That might be strong enough….

    The U bolt should be positioned such that the pull from the winch avoids any downward direction.




    I recently replaced the keel band on my MkII, which is a similar age.

    I was quite surprised by how thin the boat is at this point; I simply wouldn’t be brave enough to attempt what you suggest.

    Have you thought about hauling via a bridle that goes behind the boat? You could add some lightweight fittings to prevent it slipping out of place if you were single handed.

    Good luck.


    Hi, thanks for the advice.

    I also contacted Uncle Al in Canada, who asked Mike Porter for his assistance.

    Mike confirmed that the bow is only made of laminate and not strong enough on its own to attach a heavy duty U Bolt.

    For info, his very helpful reply posted below.


    Uncle Al has forwarded your email to me.

    It sounds as though you have a Mark II GRP boat, in which case the standard laminate is not sufficient to take the U bolt. If we used to fit them, which from time to time we did, we always moulded a wooden pad onto the reverse face (shaped of course to go in to the bow as snugly as possible). This can be overlaminated into place for additional stringth, or just glued in on epoxy.

    The standard glass laminate is certainly not sufficient to take the load!

    The only thing I would say is that, depending on how you intend to use the eye, we always felt that an eye fitted above the forward tank was at the wrong height for winching etc; it really was better positioned just above the waterline, and fitting that is a real problem!!

    Mike also said that his brother Ian is still in the business and excellent at all things technical, which I welcome.

    But at this point, I feel enough is enough and I shall fill the holes I have drilled and use my previous (even if not as cosmetically pretty) arrangement to attach the winch to a rope / bridle which spreads the load.

    Thanks for your help


    Colin Parkstone

    What is needed is a large block moulded into the hull at a height that goes straight to the winch from an eye as said above.

    Here is a way to get that block into the forward tank!

    Drill two small holes into the bow the same distance apart as the bolts in the eye bolt you are using.
    Thread through these holes two lengths of string and find a way to pull them through the hatch hole.
    Shape a block to fit snugly into the the bow,this being about four to five inches long and drill two small hole in it the same as the eye bolt.

    Thread the string through the block plus more so that you could pull back the block if needs be.

    Cover the block on the side to be glued with epoxy glue or whatever you like to use for glassfibre work and pull the block into the tank and up to the bow,the holes should line up when the block reaches the bow.
    Hold and wait for glue to dry.

    Now either screw fitting to bow or redrill holes and bolt if you can find a way to get to the bolts.

    Good Luck, It does work !!

    CP 😀


    Why not do it the easy way? Weld or bolt an extension below the winch. 😕

    With the winch at deck level (when the boat is on the trailer), the winch line is simply led through an (open) fairlead near the bow and tied around the mast, the mast being one of the strongest points on the boat. The fairlead can also be used by an anchor line.

    Colin Parkstone

    If you have to store your trailer on its side or anywhere that you dont have much room,adding bits to your trailer will need to be taken into account.

    Also welding will cost money or is out of your capabilities so working on the boat ourselves is a better way.

    Good luck which ever way you go !!

    CP 😀


    I have a simple electric welding torch, doesn’t everyone? It allows me A/O to fix broken things on my trailer. Or else, doesn’t everyone have a friend or neighbor who can weld? Perhaps it is because I have sailed and restored a steel yacht for many years that causes me to think about steel work as easy as woodwork. Welding to me is as natural as using a wood saw or hammer.

    The alternative is using a piece of square pipe that fits snugly over the existing pipe. Cut the existing pipe 4 inches below the winch, leaving enough old pipe to bolt the extension. The extension goes over the existing pipe. Drill two holes through the new pipe and the old part directly below the winch. Then drill two holes through the other end making sure the overlap is at least 4 inches. Bolt it using four bolts and nuts. This way the extension can still be removed for storage. You could use wing nuts to make it even easier. I store my trailer in in the corner of the garden. Only a few of us have a storage problem with the mast/winch supports still on the trailer I suppose.

    But to be honest, the road trailer I am talking about was sold together with KNON, my old boat. I am now blessed with a combi trailer and that doesn’t need a winch.

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