Does anyone have experience or thoughts on the Winchrite or other elec handle for raising the main. A recent shoulder injury is making sailing difficult and hopefully an elec winch handle will keep me sailing.
We have been using the Winchrite for two seasons now. Being in our 70s, we need all the geriatric help we can get. My feelings about the machine is that it is wonderful but with cautions. We use it to raise the main, furl the jib. sheet in the genoa, raise the dink in the davits, etc. I have also used it to raise my friend up his mast using his sheet winch. It is a very powerful machine. While raising the dink I failed to notice that the line I was hauling became tangled on the cheek block. Before I could release the trigger it snapped the 3/8" line in an instant. You must watch the line you are pulling to insure that it is running fair. Especially when furling the jib, you need to be looking aloft to be sure that nothing is entangled. The other issue is the power of the machine. The machine will break your wrist if you are not paying attention. If your finger on the trigger can't be released quickly you can be in trouble. I have learned to (I am right handed) use my left hand to hold the machine stable and my right hand to lightly hold down the trigger. If the torque becomes too much, the left hand takes the load and the right hand is free to let go the trigger. That all said, we wouldn't want to be out sailing without the Winchrite. Bonnie uses it to bring in the last few inches on the sheet winch when it is under a good strain. The other issue that may be a problem is using the machine with a non-selftailing winch. You need two hands to operate the machine, so you will need someone to do the tailing with you.
I would guess the charge lasts a fairly long time. it's hard to judge. At least 3 or 4 sail raisings, 1 or two dinghy raisings, and some sail tweekings. We recharge with an onboard 1000 watt inverter that is used for all kinds of charging. When we are motoring for any length of time, the inverted goes to work with the Winchrite, portable VHF, spotlight, etc. The inverter uses power without anything plugged in so be sure not to leave it on without the engine running.
Hi Jim, thanks for the detailed review of the Winchrite, just the type of first hand info I was hoping for. I have a 300 watt inverter, do you think that is adequate to charge the battery? It also comes with a 12 volt trickle charger
I bought one of the original winchrites. Loved it, until the battery died after about 2 years use. The battery was internal, proprietary, non-changeable, and the company changed hands. It was expensive for a doorstop. I hope thry have improved.
I have a Milwaukee right angle drill (rechargeable) with a winch bit like John. I don’t use it to trim sails but when I have to do work up the mast, we lead a halyard thru a turning block to one of the big sheet winches. My wife can easily haul my overweight self to the top. She trims a second halyard on a second winch as a safety and secures the line on a cleat while I’m working.
A way to avoid having to trim two halyards: have a tight second halyard and tie a Prusik knot to it. As you go up, slide the knot up the second halyard. If something happens, the Prusik will grab the second halyard and stop you. Coming down, just slide the Prusik down as you come.