We have a couple of Arco-40ST halyard
winches, and while I agree that they are OK, they lack needle bearings on the intermediate shafts... bearings which other manufacturers see fit to include. Alan (who is indeed a nice and helpful guy) claims that they are not necessary. I'm not a good enough engineer
to have a useful opinion, but logic says that if such bearings didn't improve performance, Harken
etc would not fit them, and be able to have more competitive pricing.
Don't know if that matters to you, but thought I'd mention it.