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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