When we bought the boat, it had some damage beneath the port side primary winch.  A friend of ours said that it looked like someone had maybe winched someone or something too heavy out of the water, or used it to tie up etc.  It was starting to pull up out of the combing, toward the outside of the boat.

I studied up a bit and bought a couple of books, including the indispensable Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual by Don Casey. and made the repair properly.  I went to Home Depot and picked up a bit of 1″ thick solid hard wood, shaped it to fit into the interior of the combing underneath the winch as a backing plate, coated it in resin and installed it all.

It was a bit tricky getting the holes I’d drilled to match those in the base of the winch, because the underside of the gunwale was not exactly level, as you can see in the image below.  After opening up each of the holes a bit with a larger drill bit, everything was able to fit together nicely.  That winch ain’t going anywhere now!

Here’s the backing plate, below decks:


I used some fiberglass resin and some fiber cloth, and faired it down.

I had enough wood to make two backing plates, but as the starboard side winch is not showing signs of damage – above or below deck – I’ve stowed it for now.