I recall once hearing a crewman talk about the “wench.”  She was on the aft deck making a strange noise, he said.  He had me intrigued until I realized he was talking about the towing machine, like the one below on Nathan Stewart.


Nathan Stewart has a double-drum winch.


So does Turecamo BoysProfessional Mariner has a great introductory article on towing winches here.


To wind the wire rope onto the drum neatly, a winch has a level-winding device


Notice that on each of the fotos above, one drum has wire rope and the other, what a farmer like me might call rope.  Here’s a clear article on “rope.”  Oh, I know I’m going to be corrected for my use of the word “rope,” which might mean nylon and high-strength materials marketed as plasma and spectra that might be twisted or braided.


Lots of tugboats have no winches.  Check June K.   There’s a capstan but no winch.


More on this later. Now about the “wench,” I guess she just lives in sea chanteys and my mind.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  Henry’s sent in another message across the seas of time from the docks of Amsterdam.  Check it out here.