Could Ewincher Be Better Than Electric Winches?

Ewincher demo rig. Sorry about the camera strap. Sheesh, what a newb mistake.

I have always thought that electric winch handles were more a gimmick than useful, but then I got to actually play with the Ewincher at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, albeit on a test rig, and I have to admit that I was seriously impressed, despite my oft-expressed aversion to complex gadgets.

I even liked the stuff a user can do with the associated phone app—brain must be softening in my old age.

But never mind all the high tech stuff, I was amazed by how intuitive the thing is to use. I picked up using Ewincher in less than 5 minutes, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm not exactly the most dexterous person in the world.

For example, to change power on a multi-speed winch, just turn the handle the other way, just the same as we do with a normal winch handle—I didn't even have to think about it.

Other Stuff I liked about Ewincher:

  • It's waterproof.
  • It's shaped like an ordinary winch handle and so won't be interfered with by other fittings or structure, at least on a boat with sensible winch placement designed with a standard 10" handle in mind.
  • The battery will last a day of sailing on a 40-foot boat—confirmed by independent testing.
  • The batteries recharge in just 1.5 hours using 12 volts or AC—again, confirmed by independent testing.
  • Locks into the winch, thereby reducing the chances of a very expensive splash.
  • Can be used in manual mode, just like a normal winch handle, but with a very slick ratcheting mode. Anyone else remember ratchet winch handles? Useful, but they died out, probably due to expense.
  • We can turn the handle manually while the motor runs, yielding some seriously impressive line retrieval speed under low load. More on that in a minute.
  • The phone app can be used to set the maximum load on the handle (10-32 kg or 22-70 lbs), a good way to reduce the chances of hurting ourselves or the boat.
  • Can be held in the most efficient position in relation to our bodies and available bracing while the motor does the work. I found I could hold a surprisingly high load on the handle very easily. Far more force than I would be able to apply for a full circle of a manual handle.
  • A two year warranty, rather than the more common one year.
  • Comes with a nice pocket to keep it stowed out of the way.

Would an Ewincher Work on Morgan's Cloud?

Enough of sounding like a press release. What about how Ewincher might work on our 56-foot 25-ton boat with her powerful rig? Let's speculate a bit:

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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