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Old 19-11-2007, 08:27   #1
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Winch Quality/Price Ratio

The boat we're looking at has Andersen winches. We would like to have two electric winches and Andersen sells conversion kits. However, when pricing them, their winches are easily twice as costly as Harken and Lewmar, such that a new Harken or Lewmar electric winch in the same size are cheaper than the Andersen conversion kit, by itself.

Are the Andersens that much better? If so, why? Or, is this just a function of the soft dollar? While I haven't lived long-term with any of them, in all the boats I've sailed I've used winches from a variety of brands and really couldn't see much difference in them -- they have all seemed functional and durable. If I'm missing something, what?

Thanks.

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Old 19-11-2007, 08:42   #2
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For the same money I guess you could buy two Harken's keeping one as a spare.
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Old 19-11-2007, 12:05   #3
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Aloha ID,
We had a discussion on this subject under search "Lewmar" or "Barient" or "Barlow" I can't remember for certain. Many folks really like their Andersens but they are extremely expensive. I don't know about the electric versions. If you decide to sell your Andersens after replacing them you'll get top dollar for them verses Barient and Barlow which are no longer manufactured. They still make Lewmars but the sizing is smaller than for older model winches. Arco is another winch that owners really like a lot. You might look into them.
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Old 19-11-2007, 13:55   #4
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If a new Harken or Lewmar electric winch (in the same size) ais cheaper than the Andersen conversion kit (by itself); I would certainly buy the Electric Lewmar/Harken, and keep the redundant manual Andersen’s for secondary use (what a great Spinnaker or Halyard winch).
The Andersens are great winches (Stainless bodies, rather than Aluminium), but not that great. I’ve never seen a "broken" Lewmar,/Harken,/Barient/Barlow/Arco winch; so any advantage(if any) might lie in performance.
I’ve never been fond of Arco winches,. But maybe that’s just “me”.
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Old 19-11-2007, 14:13   #5
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Folks, thank you for your feedback. Gord, you have far more time doing this than I, and if you've never seen a broken one, then it doesn't surprise me that I haven't. I've seen ones that needed some maintenance, but that took care of it -- I don't consider that "broken".

Another question, though -- does anyone know of a ready reference/comparison chart of the various winch sizes for the different manufacturers? It is most irritating to believe one is comparing like to like, only to learn you aren't! (Isn't standardization wonderful?)

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Old 19-11-2007, 15:28   #6
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Winch Comparison Chart:
Winch Equivalency Chart
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Old 19-11-2007, 20:26   #7
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Andersen, Lewmar, and Harken have all settled on "low gear power ratio" as the number of the winch, so they can be compared directly. So a #40 = a #40, no matter the brand. Differences in bearing efficiency are rather small. Barients used to use SWL in hundreds of lbs. So a barient 19 had a SWL = 2300 lbs but was really a 35:1 winch
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