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Winchrite vs Electric Winch

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gshannon View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 April 2018 at 00:13
When Tangleberry was ordered from the factory, I made one mistake. I should have ordered the electric halyard winch.  We tried a large Milwaukee drill as a way of powering the winches. It was a mixed success. It had enough power but was heavy and cumbersome to handle, recharged only on AC, and the charge didn't last all that long. When new it would hoist a person up the mast in the Bosun's chair, but when we tried that recently the battery died half way up. A new replacement Ni-Cad battery was no better.



I considered retrofitting an electric winch. Lewmar makes the most cost effective model, and my friend Pierre has installed one on his X-40. It was a lot of trouble to install, particularly attaching the motor as there was not enough clearance to get the mounting bolts in. He had to use allen head bolts and drill holes through the deck to tighten them. It looked to me as if I would have the same issues. The cost by the time it was all installed would likely reach $4000 CDN.

Instead I ordered a Winchrite Electric Winch handle. This was under $1000 CDN. It is more powerful than the drill, and has a better battery, Lithium Ion. It came with a fabric case and a cradle for storage. I haven't decided where to mount it yet.

The Winchrite is much smaller and lighter than the Milwaukee drill, weighing about 6 pounds. It is reversible so you can use either speed on two speed winches. It easily raises the main sail in the fastest gear. I haven't tried the Bosun's chair yet, but I'm sure it has enough power. The manual specifically says NOT to use it for that but I'm pretty sure they are covering their legal butts! I actually think it is safer for this than and electric which because if it failed to stop you can just yank it off the winch.

The best use I found for it is furling the jib. Using the port sheet winch I can hold the Winchrite in my left hand and pay out the jib sheet with my right. Because of the steady pull it is very easy to get a smooth even furl. 





Grahame

Tangleberry 371-092

aviadesign.com
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High Time View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Time Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 April 2018 at 12:18
I have been using a Winchrite on High Time since 2012 and agree with all the above. 
One further advantage over a powered winch is that you can 'feel' how much torgue the winch is exerting, exactly as you can with a manual winch handle. When I was on  friend's boat recently which had powered winches someone (not me!) managed to pull the genoa furling line out of the furling drum, breaking the fixing, because he couldn't feel the torque being exerted when the end of the line was reached.
The one problem I have had with my Winchrite is gearbox failure. I have replaced it 3 times. However, the local agent has been exceptional and each time it has failed it has been replaced free of charge, long after the warranty has expired.
I can vouch for the power of the Winchrite using slow speed on a 2 speed winch - I have hoisted a 80kg man to the top of the mast twice without problem.
To avoid any battery issues I have installed a 12V socket in the cockpit so I can keep the unit fully charged on passage.
Overall an excellent device. 
Roger

High Time (415 #038)
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gshannon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gshannon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2018 at 00:37
I have just come back from a 3 day cruise, covering some 80 miles mostly under sail. I used the Winchrite a lot. For the mainsail I can hoist by hand to the upper spreader quickly, after that it needs the winch. The Winchrite handles it in high gear.

I also used it to sheet in the 149% genoa in winds up to 20 knots. I yank it in by hand then use the Winchrite to finish up. I use low gear for the last couple of feet. It is also great for furling the genoa, giving a smooth even furl. One hand on the Winchrite the other on the sheet.

I never experienced a low battery, even when short tacking up a narrow channel. I used the DC charger overnight, but it seemed to restore a full charge within an hour or so. A great piece of gear!
Grahame

Tangleberry 371-092

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gshannon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gshannon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2018 at 20:07
On Thursday I went up the mast to replace a broken block for the pole lift. Apparently kids using it as a swing is not a good idea:)

Anyway, a friend ran me up with the Winchrite without apparent effort using the Lewmar 40 halyard winch and a bosun chair. I had to come down and go up a second time, and it did that with plenty of battery left. The Winchrite was a good purchase.
Grahame

Tangleberry 371-092

aviadesign.com
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