The world’s first two-speed winches were built in the early 50s for Tim Moseley’s cutter Orient. Moseley was a design and engineering entrepreneur. Teaming up with Jim Michaels who owned the yawl Baruna, the two formed the Barient Company, the name derived from a contraction of the two boat names. Add to the picture the genius and names of Derek Baylis and Jesus Guangorena, who developed a second generation of winches for Orient, and you have the world’s first modern sailing winch.
Barients were the first two-speed winches geared in both directions and the first successful self-tailing winches. Self-tailing was like a dream come true. Among many other benefits having to do with rope speed and diameter, tension, and operating limitations, no longer would you have to hold the tailing end of a sheet line while cranking on the winch.
Most winch companies today are still basically building two-speed winches around the overriding ratchet principal with the internal pawls, a design first used by Tim Moseley in 1951. Barient winches were the model for everything that followed, and although the French, Germans and Australians made numerous and sometimes humorous attempts at copying the early designs, none were successful.