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Maintaining & Servicing Deck Hardware


Deck hardware on a boat such as winches, travellers, tracks and cars are hard wearing and durable - the environment in which they live and the loads they must withstand make this essential. They do need regular maintenance however, so here’s our basic guide on servicing deck hardware…

We will break this down into components so you can run through and tick them off as you do them, but the basic premise is similar with most parts; wash, service, lubricate. Most items of deck hardware can be serviced with a manufacturers service kit. These are generally available from our website or your local store, and our staff are always happy to assist you with finding the correct service parts.




Winch servicing can seem daunting at first, but if you’ve ever seen a Harken technician do a demonstration at a boat show you will know it can be done in 5 minutes with a bit of knowledge! Different brands of winch vary slightly, but essentially you need to Check pawls and springs for signs of wear and corrosion. If pawls look worn these should be replaced, and springs should snap the pawls in to place with a crisp action or these should be changed too. Apply pawl oil to the pawls and lubricate the other moving parts with winch grease. It’s always worth covering winches when not in use, it keeps them clean and looking nice for longer. Winch covers are available in a variety of sizes to fit most winches.  




Clutches can wear internally and the rope that they hold can start to slip. Handles can become brittle over time due to UV rays from the sun, and labels can peel off leaving crewmembers in the dark over what each clutch lever does! Clutches slipping is something you have probably noticed over the course of the previous season if they are indeed becoming worn, and service kits are available for most common types of clutch to replace the gripping surfaces inside. Replacement labels and handles are also available should you need them. 


Mainsheet Traveller & Car


If your mainsheet car is of the ball bearing type, it’s vital that this is flushed regularly with fresh water. Be careful about the type of lubricant you use too - many can actually attract dirt and keep it on the bearing race shortening the life of the balls themselves. We stock replacement balls for most types of car, and these can be changed but beware, not all cars have captive ball bearings, so make sure you have a suitable container handy to catch them as they fall out, and you may also need a reloading tool to put the car back on the track. Harken promote a product called Mclube One-Drop that is great for lubricating bearings without attracting dirt.


Genoa Cars


Genoa cars are less likely to use bearings on most cruising boats, but they may slide on delrin or plastic sliders, and these can wear out so it’s worth checking them. The pins in the pin-stop system can become worn too, and many brands such as Lewmar do supply replacements as as spares. The main enemy of these systems is salt water, the salt crystals left behind as the water dries can cause friction and shorten the life of the whole system, so make sure you flush these regularly




If blocks can be easily removed over the winter or laying up period it’s worth doing this, the UV from the sun can degrade the plastic over time so why leave them outside unnecessarily? Ball bearing blocks in particular should be flushed with water, and as with ball bearing cars, be careful what lubricant you use. Again, McLube One-Drop is a great lubricant for block bearings. Check shackles and fixing points for any signs of cracking, and make sure that blocks with a swivel rotate freely. 


Cam Cleats


Cam cleats become worn over time and can lose their grip, but actually one of the main reasons for them slipping is the springs inside can become corroded or weakened. Many popular cleats such as the Harken 150 have service kits available that can replace these. Many also have bearings so as above keep clean and be wary about what you use to lubricate them. 


Winch Handles


This is an area that many of us overlook, but most popular brands of winch handle can also be serviced. If you have locking winch handles the end of the drive spigots can become worn. The spring that holds the locking unit in place can also weaken, so it may be worth investing in a service kit for these too. 

Conversion Kit E1 Electric 12v
Catalogue Code: 850537
Available In-store to call & collect
Available to buy online
Xt16 Self-tailing 1-speed Winch - Free Winch Handle
Catalogue Code: M850861
Save £52.15 RRP £395.10
Available In-store to call & collect
Available to buy online
Xt30 Self-tailing 2-speed Winches   Free Winch Handle
Catalogue Code: M850856
Save £85.70 RRP £640.65
Available In-store to call & collect
Available to buy online
Xt40 Self-tailing 2-speed Winches   Free Winch Handle
Catalogue Code: M850058
Save £106.05 RRP £776.00
Available In-store to call & collect
Available to buy online
Xt16 Self-tailing 2-speed Winch And Free Winch Handle
Catalogue Code: M850053
Save £76.35 RRP £576.30
Available In-store to call & collect
Available to buy online
Speed Grip Winch Handle
Catalogue Code: M850379
Save £11.56 RRP £101.51
Available In-store to call & collect
Available to buy online
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