Most of the queried addressed to me have already been answered, so I'll try and comment on the ones missed so far.
It is a heavy beast, and Ann does find it awkward to deploy. However, once you have it plugged into a winch, it becomes pretty self supporting, and all one must do is resist the torque it generates. Since it is much longer than a ten inch winch handle, the forces are less than with a manual winch exerting the same line tension. For use on a mast winch it is necessary to carefully keep it engaged with the winch, but still the weight will be supported by the bit as long as it engages the winch.
We bought a spare battery
. It takes around an hour to recharge a flat battery, and having a fully charged spare seemed a good idea to me. The charge level LEDs make it easy to keep ahead of the use curve.
We too worried about rain and salt spray, so Ann ran up a Sunbrella cover. It isn't perfect in that we left the vents unobstructed, but it has helped keeping the thing reasonably dry. Pic attached.
I wanted to be able to use it as a drill motor
, so we opted to retain the chuck. As warned, we soon sheared the locking screw in reverse. I was astonished to find that one can not source a simple 1/4-20 x 1 inch socket head
cap screw, left hand thread, anywhere in Australia
. Who woulda thought? Since we seldom have a useful shipping
address, we have not replaced it so far, but I stuck the chuck on with lots of red Lock-tite and it has held up so far (many months, but touching wood surreptitiously).
We normally keep it next to the companionway
, under the dodger
. In moderate conditions it ends up on the cockpit sole or on a seat much of the time. Do be aware that it has a powerful magnetic field associated with it, and keep it away from compasses. There is one spot in our cockpit where it drives an autopilot compass
crazy... that was interesting the first time it happened!
Our primary use is in furling
, which we must do each time we tack or gybe due to our Solent rig. It works wonderfully for that, saving time and lots of cranking. And before you start berating me for needing a winch to furl, just come and try it yourself... a big sail and an old Furlex mean that handing the line is a no go except in very light conditions. It is quite happy sheeting in any of the sails
or hoisting the main, but we don't often use it thus. It has hoisted me up the mast repeatedly, and we both like that system better than using the windlass
as we did before Millie came to join our crew. The battery lasts for several typical days sailing, or several trips up the mast, and I am happy with that.
All in all, it has been a worthwhile addition to our set of tools for the boat.