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Old 19-01-2011, 17:29   #1
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Arco Winches - Any Comments ?

The winches on Insatiable are nearly 30 years old, are probebly slightly under-spec'ed for the job, and are no longer available (Maxwell 24ST and 28ST). We have had to replace parts on 4 of the 8 winches in the last 18 months. To me this is indicative that the writing is on the wall and we might need to start considering replacements.

Obviously, if money were nor option, we would probably go with Andersen or Antal, with Harken and Lewmar close behind. But money is always a consideration, and Arco are certainly competitive on price.

Do any of you have any thoughts on, comments about, or experience using Arco winches?


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Old 19-01-2011, 17:56   #2
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G'Day Patrick,

Our Insatiable II was equipped with 2xArco 40's as halyard winches, circa 1990. They, IMO, are a bit lower in quality than some of the "name Brand" equivilants. Biggest point is that, at least in that size range, they lack proper bearings on the small gear shafts while all the others that I am familiar with do have needle bearings in these locations.

On our older Arcos, the self tailing jaws were fixed and had rubber inserts to grasp the line. Didn't work well. So, since our main is pretty big and heavy I eventually got tired of having the halyard fall out and the sail start back downward whilst hoisting. I called Arco-Hutton and enquired as to replacement rubbers. They said that they now had spring loaded jaws (a la Barient and Lewmar et al) which they could retrofit. Then he said that for very little more they would take the old winch as a trade-in on a brand new one. I asked Mr Hutton about the missing needle bearings, and he said that they were not only not necessary, but that his plain bearings were better in that usage. Hmmmm... seemed a bit self serving...

Well, I still went along and got the new winch, and the new selftailers work fine. I'm not convinced that other brands are not a bit better in terms of internal friction, but the price is attractive as you say. Also, it is a pleasant outfit to do business with, helpful and accommodating, and that counts for something (and is not commonly observed with either Lewmar or Harken in Oz IME).

ON another front, doesn't lookl ike we will be coming to Tassie after all. ON 23 Dec Ann had bilateral knee surgery, and the recovery period will be lengthy... lots of visits to the physio in our future, so we're staying around the Broken Bay area until she is fit to go to sea again. Must be something about the Wooden Boat fest... every time we try to get there something goes agley. Bugger....

Best to you both.


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Morning Cove, NSW, Oz

Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 07-03-2011, 05:21   #3
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Re: Arco Winches - Any Comments ?

I purchased an arco anchor winch in 2005 after reading an old article about excellent service recieved in repairing and refurbishing an old winch for free. Just prior to this I spoke to the owner of the company at the Boat Show (Gold Coast) in 2005 to discuss this. He told me that their products were designed to last and that the service I read of in the article was the norm if one of their products failed in it's normal scope of use. I was impressed by his attitude to after sales service. Let's face it. You can have the best product in the world but if you can't get good service when something goes wrong, what good is it and is it really the best?
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Old 15-03-2011, 14:13   #4
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Re: Arco Winches - Any Comments ?


I've just bought a full set of Arco/Hutton winches (and furler and windlass) for my boat after spending a considerable amount of time talking with Allen Hutton - the owner. He really knows his stuff and is great to deal with. He's been in the industry for years and knows everything from steering to winches, to furlers.. you name it.

They fabricate EVERYTHING for all their items - right down to the needle bearings themselves. Cut their own gears etc etc... they have a bunch of CNC equipment and every other machine you can imagine, so effectively anything that needs to change in their designs, they can update very easily - they don't need to send a new CAD file to China and order another 20,000 units while waiting for the last 20,000 to sell...

As for the ST spring loaded jaw, it's great - because it's METAL (not plastic like the Harken units) and it expands DOWN, not UP like the last Harken I saw (maybe this has changed - but I think it's funny having the top cap of the winch move...)

I don't know about his aluminium winches, but the chrome plated bronze ones are HEAAAVVVVY and built like a tank. My 66's weigh somewhere around 35kg (80lbs?)

My boat originally had Arco winches as well - but the boat was a little underwinched.-8 winches in total and they were approx 30 years old and functioned absolutely perfectly.

Oh, and yes, he will trade in your old gear - so it ends up being very economical.

One of the VERY few positive Australian purchasing experiences I've had in my life.

In short - go for it!
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Old 15-03-2011, 14:51   #5
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Re: Arco Winches - Any Comments ?

I've got all Arco winches too. They work fine, self-tailers are excellent. Had a couple of pawl springs break, and when I called they mailed half a dozen new ones straight away, free of charge.

The only negative thing about them IMO, is the bolt patterns on the winches I have. ie. - the 45's and 56es have 5 bolts out of a hexagonal pattern. It's like one is missing. I guess really it just doesn't feel right having an assymetrical bolt pattern. Having said that, I've grunted them in pretty hard at times, and they never look like moving.
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Old 26-11-2012, 15:34   #6
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Re: Arco Winches - Any Comments ?

i know the thread is a bit old but good for reference. We bought 2 self tailing ARCOs for the mast but are new and work fine so far. We also have Anderson on the boat and feel the self tailing does work a bit better on the Anderson. The grip on the sheet lines are also better. The down side to the Anderson is that the smaller models have the plastic top which is prone to uv and need replacing maybe every 10 years {but not very expensive)

If money no object i would go Anderson but i think with the arco you get a solid good reliable winch that is good value for money.

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