Ewincher


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Dick
Dick
posted 2 Sep 2021 HOT
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Hi all,
I keep seeing electric winches being flogged, the most recent was the weekly Cruising Compass, so I wrote a letter to the editor. I thought it may be of interest.

Hi George,
I believe that most of those who electrify their winches find that it is more expensive and challenging than first lead to believe. Often it is the installation that kicks things up in price and also the finding that their boats electrical system, including the charging of their batteries, need upgrading.
Decades ago, we tried one of the right-angle drills with a winch size bit being flogged at the boat shows (we had the drill so it was just buying the bit) and found it far too lame for use (underpowered and did not last very long). It was quickly reverted to just being a drill.
In our efforts to “geriatrify” Alchemy, we bought an “eWincher 2” this season, a device made/designed in France that I have been hearing good field reports about over the last couple of years.
It has turned every winch on Alchemy into a power winch. So far it has had power to spare for all we have asked of it, the most challenging was taking me up the mast. It has made easy the many duties we have found onerous such as Ginger on the winch when we want quickly to raise the dinghy out of the water with me fending the dinghy off Alchemy’s topsides. It also does the last few feet of raising the main (I hand raise most of it) along with other regular duties.
The battery pack’s charge has not failed us, but I am pretty diligent about having equipment well cared for and charged up.
There are other attributes and thoughts, but enough for now. Come back if you wish more.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy, Anderson Bay, The North Channel, Ont., CA

Dick
Dick
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Dick - 2 Sep 2021
Hi all,
I keep seeing electric winches being flogged, the most recent was the weekly Cruising Compass, so I wrote a letter to the editor. I thought it may be of interest.

Hi George,
I believe that most of those who electrify their winches find that it is more expensive and challenging than first lead to believe. Often it is the installation that kicks things up in price and also the finding that their boats electrical system, including the charging of their batteries, need upgrading.
Decades ago, we tried one of the right-angle drills with a winch size bit being flogged at the boat shows (we had the drill so it was just buying the bit) and found it far too lame for use (underpowered and did not last very long). It was quickly reverted to just being a drill.
In our efforts to “geriatrify” Alchemy, we bought an “eWincher 2” this season, a device made/designed in France that I have been hearing good field reports about over the last couple of years.
It has turned every winch on Alchemy into a power winch. So far it has had power to spare for all we have asked of it, the most challenging was taking me up the mast. It has made easy the many duties we have found onerous such as Ginger on the winch when we want quickly to raise the dinghy out of the water with me fending the dinghy off Alchemy’s topsides. It also does the last few feet of raising the main (I hand raise most of it) along with other regular duties.
The battery pack’s charge has not failed us, but I am pretty diligent about having equipment well cared for and charged up.
There are other attributes and thoughts, but enough for now. Come back if you wish more.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy, Anderson Bay, The North Channel, Ont., CA

Hi all, In a private comm, I was asked for more information: so I thought I would share it.
Hi all,
I bought mine at Cockles Harbor Marina at the end of Long Island Sound (Shelter Island), USA, but a few places had them. The following is an early days (6 weeks cruising) field report. My take is that many who look at the cost etc. to electrify winches will be adopting eWinchers.
Cons:
It was $2,000 US.
It is a bit bulky and a bit awkward to wield around the cockpit. No big deal, but not the same as a regular winch handle.
Any item that needs re-charging is a bit of a pain and entails attentiveness to not be caught with a dead battery.
Made in France, so repairs may be an issue (this may change as they are more widely sold in the US and CA. That said, my research indicates that they are pretty robust.
Using it is not without effort, but the effort is bracing oneself to hold the handle in place as it turns the winch: again no big deal once acclimated.
Pros:
Turns all winches into electric winches.
Especially nice for winches where a full swing is hard or impossible to accomplish as you hold the eWincher in one position.
Has a blue tooth connection to your phone which sets up easily and allows for setting torque upper limits and other parameters as well as feedback on stats on your usage of the handle.
It is built just like a regular winch handle, but a bulked-up winch handle. This allows the handle to be used like a regular winch handle (using no electric power), or just with power, or both for a very fast taking in of line.
So far it charges fast and holds its charge for a reasonable period (one purchase option is for an extra battery).
It has variable push button speed: High speed is faster than I can do by hand.
Electric winches have significant safety issues to crew and to the boat. I believe these to be much less of an issue with the eWincher.
Seems well waterproofed. Ours has been in the rain repeatedly.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Simon Currin
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Dick
We have had good experiences with our Winchrite:
http://www.winchrite.co.uk/
Simon
Dick
Dick
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Simon Currin - 2 Sep 2021
Dick
We have had good experiences with our Winchrite:
http://www.winchrite.co.uk/
Simon

Hi Simon,
Yes, the WinchRite seems to have made a number of sailors happy. I have no first-hand experience, but it has been around for a while now. A quick google glance indicates that it is quite differently shaped, so one difference might be that the WinchRite is less easily used as a handle without power.
Could you spell out the pros and cons of your unit? One pro is that it is a good deal less expensive, for sure.
My best, Dick

Simon Currin
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Yes Dick it was the cost of your’ device that raised my eyebrows.

We only use the Winchrite for trips to the top of the mast and it achieves this task with ease. It has two speeds and the trigger is within the handle as it is designed to use with one hand. It would be a poor standalone manual winch handle but it is not designed for that purpose. We have never yet exhausted it’s charge and it sits charging in a secure cradle when not in use. I can’t think of any other cons. The main pro is that Sally, with her dodgy shoulders, can get me to the top of a tall mast without drama.

Simon
Dick - 3 Sep 2021
Simon Currin - 2 Sep 2021
Dick
We have had good experiences with our Winchrite:
http://www.winchrite.co.uk/
Simon

Hi Simon,
Yes, the WinchRite seems to have made a number of sailors happy. I have no first-hand experience, but it has been around for a while now. A quick google glance indicates that it is quite differently shaped, so one difference might be that the WinchRite is less easily used as a handle without power.
Could you spell out the pros and cons of your unit? One pro is that it is a good deal less expensive, for sure.
My best, Dick



bwallace
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Hi all,
We use a Cranker which is a 28volt right angled Milwaukee drill. With an adapter to fit in the winch handle socket. it will take me up to the top of the mast 2-3 times on one charge. Very useful to raise the mainsail and furl the Genoa. It takes about 20 minutes to recharge via our inverter,

Also an extremely powerful portable drill with a change of the Chuck.
A very valuable member of the crew, only eats amps !!

Oh forgot ours is called Eric.

Brian
S/V Darramy 



Dick
Dick
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bwallace - 4 Sep 2021
Hi all,
We use a Cranker which is a 28volt right angled Milwaukee drill. With an adapter to fit in the winch handle socket. it will take me up to the top of the mast 2-3 times on one charge. Very useful to raise the mainsail and furl the Genoa. It takes about 20 minutes to recharge via our inverter,

Also an extremely powerful portable drill with a change of the Chuck.
A very valuable member of the crew, only eats amps !!

Oh forgot ours is called Eric.

Brian
S/V Darramy 



Hi Brian,
Good to know. I believe the new battery-operated drills that use the higher voltage battery packs (and probably lithium construction) have made the performance you describe possible.
My best, Dick

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