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Captive Reel Winches

Captive Reel Winches
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Configuration | Your layout | Standard build | Typical options | Testing and setting | Materials | Flexible Installation | Factory Testing | Guide to Power and Sheet Size | Guide to Active Line Storage | Information Required for Selection and Quotation    


Captive Sheet winches built by James Nilsson - Winchmakers are noted for straight forward and rugged construction. Each set of winches, based on a range of standard frame sizes, is customized to suit individual specifications. Working with the yacht designer and builder, winches are sized to suit height and length preferences. To conserve space, winches are tailored to hold the exact amount and size of sheet for each duty.

Motors, gearboxes and brakes are selected so the best use can be made of the hydraulic systems aboard. Two speed motors are often used to allow best speeds and highest power to be automatically selected in response to demand.

The straight forward "single layer" design elliminates "cut through" on the drum. High grade materials ensure that James Nilsson built winches give many years of reliable service. All winches are "bolt up" construction with accessible fastenings, jack points and other features allowing easier maintenance when necessary.

Free standing tensioners and feeders can be locally or remotely mounted to give best control of the sheet under all operating conditions.

Each winch set is individually tested at the factory on an especially developed dynamic and static test facility.

James Nilsson Ltd., specialists in winch design and manufacture since 1965, have manufactured Captive Sheet Winches since 1991. The wealth of experience has led to the current designs being leaders in their class for quality and reliability.




There are many builds that can be supplied to allow the optimum installation that makes best use of the space available, direction of feeds etc. The tensioner or feeder can be mounted in a number of positions and angles.

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Your layout:

Email us a DXF, DWG or CADKEY PRT file showing your preferred layout or details of the site so we see how we may best use the space. Email to


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Standard build includes:

  • Main winch with gearbox, brake, motor and feeder mechanism.
  • Proximity sensors to signal end of travel. (Signal must be incorporated into main control by systems engineer).
  • Proximity sensors ensure winch stops if over-travelled. (Signal must be incorporated into main control by systems engineer).
  • Counterbalance valves
  • Brake control shuttle valve
  • Tensioner and feeder flow control valve (where necessary)

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Typical options include:

  • Tensioner and / or feeder
  • Main control solenoid valves
  • Emergency brake release port valve
  • Emergency release manual pump 
  • Additional position indicator outputs
  • Slack line sensors
  • Hydraulic power packs, control systems and systems design.

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Testing and setting:

Each winch is dynamically tested through out the specified operating range under load. The brake is proof tested for holding capacity and settings. The tensioner and feeder settings are adjusted and tested. Cycle proof testing is carried out by arrangement.

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Our standard gearboxes, motors and hydraulic controls are supplied by BREVINI. The BREVINI drives are heavy duty industrial class equipment supported world wide. General materials of construction of the winch components are high tensile marine grade aluminium, 316 stainless steel and some synthetic materials selected for their performance and long life under arduous conditions. Plain bearings are used in difficult to access positions and industrial class bearings are sealed.

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Flexible Installation:

Winches and tensioners can be supplied in LH or RH build. The separately mounted tensioner and / or feeder allows flexibility in the installation with many options possible. We may be able to assist with suggestions.
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Factory Testing:

Each winch set is individually tested at the factory on an especially developed dynamic and static test facility.

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Guide to Power and Sheet Size:

Pull Kg/Lbs.
Hold Kg / Lbs.
Sheet range mm / inches
CR22SL 1500 / 3300 1800 / 4000 10 - 14 / 3/8" - 9/16"
CR27SL 2200 / 4800 2500 / 5500 10 - 16 / 3/8" - 5/8"
CR33SLLT 400 / 880 2400 / 5300 12 / 1/2"
CR33SL 4000 / 9000 5000 / 11000 12 - 20 / 1/2" - 3/4"
CR33SLHD 5000 / 11000 7000 / 15000 12 - 20 / 1/2" - 3/4"
CR40SL 7000 / 15500 10000 / 22000 18 - 24 / 3/4" - 1"
CR40SLHD 11000 / 24000 13000 / 28000 18 - 26 / 5/8" - 1"
CR50SL 12000 / 26000 14000 / 30000 18 - 30 / 3/4" - 1 1/8"
CR50SLHD 15000 / 33000 18000 / 39000 18 - 30 / 3/4" - 1 1/8"

Load figures and converted sizes are a guide only. Individual winches are customized to application.

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Guide to Active Line Storage:

10mm 20m 40m ------- ------- -------
12mm 17m 35m 65m ------- -------
14mm 14m 30m 56m ------- -------
16mm -------- 27m 49m ------- -------
18mm -------- -------- 43m 74m 95m
20mm -------- -------- 39m 66m 85m
22mm -------- -------- -------- 60m 77m
24mm -------- -------- -------- 55m 70m
26mm ------- ------- ------- 50m 65m
28mm ------- ------- ------- ------- 60m
30mm ------- ------- ------- ------- 56m

Storage figures are a guide only. Individual winches are customized to application.

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Information Required for Selection and Quotation:

  • Project name (Boat or project name, designer or builders reference)
  • Duty for each winch (Main sheet, main halyard etc.)
  • Sheet size for each winch (mm or Inches)
  • Active length for each winch (Amount of sheet that pays on and off drum. We allow for extra bitter end wraps and safety wraps in the winch design)
  • Maximum dynamic pull required at winch (Kgs or Lbs) Allow at least 5% loss through tensioner and each turning block in proposed system.
  • Maximum brake hold required (Kgs or Lbs)
  • Any requirements on speed of winch (Metre / Min of Feet / Min)
  • Available oil pressure (bar or psi)
  • Available oil flow (litre/min or usg/min)
  • Any other information that is relevant

Full customized drawings are supplied for each application before build starts.

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(64) 9 444 5219
0800 4-WINCH




James Nilsson Winches
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