Originally Posted by Srah 1953
There have been a few threads about the winchrite (and similar) handheld electric
winches but none that I have seen have covered how useful it is in taking in the genoa
when hard on the wind
. Anybody got any experience of this particular aspect, as I am in the market but concerned that it won't really meet my needs?
We have been using a home-made version of the 18v "Winch Buddy" since early 2005 due to an accident
that left me with less than full use of my left arm. We use this "electric winch-handle" to hoist the main, furl the headsail, and trim the main and genoa sheets
. (At 5' tall and 102#, my wife--"Best mate"--could do almost none of these tasks without the electric winch-handle, but has little difficulty until the winches really get loaded up.)
In 1st gear
, which corresponds to the lower-power range on a 2-speed winch
, the drive will sheet the genoa in far faster than can a human after repeated tacks. In 2nd gear
, corresponding to high power on the winch
, the drive can handle all but the heavist loads in heavy winds so long as one "pinches-up" a bit to momentarily take some pressure off the sail. As a practical matter however, we generally stear courses that will cause no more than a 20-25º heel which is the point at which our boat is fastest and will give us the best overall speed to a destination
despite the somewhat greater distance sailed.
The foregoing does not address the WinchRite and I don't know how the torque and power ratios of that unit compares with the 18v Right-Angle Milwaukee Drill that is the heart of our system but ours is quite satisfactory. Worked haevily, however, one does burn through batteries quickly however so one needs to be able to swap them out quickly and easily which we can. (We carry 3 batteries and a 12v charger
that allows us to recharge a battery
in about 2 hours. We've yet to go through all 3 batteries before one is recharged).