on my boat, there is a triangle shaped lever with two gear teeth located on the starboard side of the winch above the crank. the "lever" makes contact with and locks a small gear. the small gear contacts the large gear. to raise the centerboard you push the lever downward and the lower gear tooth is in contact with the small gear, you then crank the handle clockwise. to raise the centerboard i push the crank/handle clockwise to release the pressure on the lever gear tooth then pull up on the lever. the lever is spring loaded. the upper gear tooth on the lever will then be in contact with the small gear. then i crank the handle counter clockwise to lower the centerboard. BUT it is going to depend whether the cable is running clockwise or counter-clockwise on the winch, and you may have a diff winch. also the centerboard could be stuck, the winch could be broken/stuck, etc. i hope this helps, if not send me a picture of your winch.
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