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Two weeks ago I wrote a post where I confessed that Rebecca and I just weren’t strong enough. Specifically, not strong enough to raise our new tender onto the davits using the little single-speed winches that are located on the davit arms. I wrote of using a drill to “electrify” the manual winches and I spoke of a company that produces a device just for that purpose. While I didn’t mention it by name, many of you may have guessed that the product I was talking about was the Winchrite.

Unfortunately, it just so happened that during the time that I emailed Winchrite to ask some questions about their tool, the company was migrating from one web server to another and my message slipped between the cracks. We only found out about this from Rich, the owner of CruiseRO watermakers, who is a dealer for the Winchrite.

Well, the message of my post, one way or another, made it to the folks at Winchrite and Martin, the owner, was quick to email me to answer my questions. One thing I was really curious about was a new motor that I had heard rumors about. Martin confirmed that yes, they are using “a new design motor that has increased performance and cooling needed due to the weather-sealed case.” Good news.

I explained that all this was a bit late in coming though because we already had the other drill on its way to us. This is where it gets good… Martin offered to send us a FREE Winchrite to test out! How is that for someone who believes in his product? Obviously Martin knows that if we like the Winchrite, we’ll post about it and that’s cool, I am happy to share info on things that we like. I think it’s awesome that Martin is willing to take a shot like this. If you do end up contacting Winchrite or even better, purchasing from them, make sure you mention that you heard about it here!

31 Comments

  1. I’m so glad to see this. We have a Winchrite that has failed. We sent it back once for repair and it failed again. We are leaving to go Cruising in a week and were just talking yesterday about pitching it to make room for something else… I’ll contact the company again to see if they are willing to make it right. Hopefully we’ll get it worked out before we leave.

    I was a bit surprised that you will be using it to raise your dinghy. The company told us that it should not be used for anything really strenuous. We use ours solely to raise the mainsail and never the last few feet or the motor will strip out. Well, I guess our motor strips out anyway… We’re crossing our fingers.

  2. I love a story that is heading towards a happy ending! Have a great week..

  3. You don’t say if you have tried it yet. I have seen them, was startled at the price, and wondered if they were any good. (I don’t have winches that could use one.) The chandler selling them was cautious in the praise of them! Maybe the models concerned have the weaker motor.

    I wonder how long the battery lasts in them.

    Also, what strength would be needed to hold onto the handle. There is not not much length and so not much leverage.

    Mike

    • Yes, we did try it briefly. The one we used did not like the small single speed winches but that is not surprising. It did work fine to raise the dinghy when we led the line to our large helm winch, our current SOP. As for the rest of your questions, we’ll have to wait until we have our Winchrite in our hands before we can comment.

  4. I wonder where Winchrite is manufactured?

  5. Good luck with your winchrite. We had one of the older models. We were using it just to raise the mainsail, adjusting the sail and lifting our outboard using a motor hoist. One day we used it to winch me up the mast (125lbs) and the motor stripped out. We tried to contact the company about repairs but never got a response.

    Nevertheless, we still believed in the Winchrite and ordered a new one 3 months ago. My husband is a heart surgery patient and it has been invaluable to us raising the mainsail, adjusting in the sheets and lifting our outboard motor using a motor hoist with a 6 to 1 purchase. We don’t plan to use it to send me up the mast again, as we want to make sure it stays in good working order for our main uses.

    Happy sailing to you… We love reading your website/facebook posts.

  6. We use a winch rite to raise the mainsail on our Leopard 40 sail cat. We find it has plenty of power, charges quickly, and always bring it with us when traveling overseas. It does get a bit of attention with TSA and airport Authorities overseas. The discussion quickly turns to agents talking about their sailing adventures.

  7. Had a friend who used the 28v Milwaukee right angle drill to raise his main. He said by the time the main was raised the battery was pretty dead.
    Met another guy who used a 110v Milwaukee right angle drill hooked up to his inverter. He used it on his trip from BC Canada through the canal and up to Florida. He had nothing but good things to say about it. Maybe a pain in the butt to run an extension cord, but the benefits would be hopefully not running down the battery quickly and I believe it would have more power.

  8. Sounds like a good deal for a free trail but don’t give up on that Milwaukee if you’ve already ordered it. You must have considered just beefing up the winch without going electric right?

  9. When the Winchrite winches wrong and the cordless Milwaukee right angle drill suddenly fails when you need it most, you’ll regret not going for the 120V Makita. I promise not to say I told you.

  10. Hey guys,

    This is my first comment, although I’ve been following off and on for a few months. My fiancee and I already have something like this planned for when both our kids are grown. In the meantime, we’re messing around with boats whenever we can. I’ve been sailing all my life, but never cruising. Can’t wait! I think it’s very cool that you’ve found “employment” doing what you love, and I hope that you continue to love it – I’m sure you will, why not??

    I do have a request.. or a comment… for the blog. I’m glad you have a “start at the beginning” link, and I’ve done that. However, I view your blog from many different computers AND my phone sometimes, and it’s very hard to find where I left off. Could you include the WordPress archive/calendar widget, so your followers can jump back to a certain date?

    Take care and good luck with your upcoming charters!

    –arthur

  11. If ever I saw a product that screamed “cheap, weak and soon to be relegated to the back of the locker” this is it. I will be surprised if you find it to be a solid performer. I’m not talking in the short term. I’m talking long term and in my humble opinion, that’s the only kind of product to take up space even in my house where I have lots more space than I did on the boat. I am very willing to be proven wrong but I will be surprised if you like this product. It reminds me of the old line, “But wait, there’s more! Get a second one for free. Just pay separate shipping and handling.”

    • Well, you may be surprised. I have handled and tried one, albeit briefly. Our friends on a 4600 use it every day and as you can read from the comments, so do many others.

  12. Bought a Winchrite in July 2012 here in Australia. I have a 40foot catamaran and was disappointed first time I used it. Battery seemed to go flat very quickly wouldn’t pull up main sail on its first use. I thought I hadn’t charged it properly and the manual says to fully charge it use the main power charger. Since we had left to go cruising it was put away and not used for a few days but in the end I decided to charge on the twelve volt outlet of the boat and it seemed to charge very quickly before the light went from red to green. So a couple of days later tried to use it again and again it failed to even get the main sail half way up. So it was put away and our annual cruise continued without further use of said aid.
    After returning home I put the winchrite on mains charge and it appeared to charge okay so it was packed up ready for use next time we went out on the boat a few weeks later it hesitated to operate the first time and after pulling the trigger a second time it started ran for maybe 45 seconds then just stopped like the battery was flat. Again I thought I must be doing something wrong and maybe the battery had gone flat between the time of charging and the time of use. To cut to the quick after blaming myself for failing to charge it properly I finally came to the conclusion it wasn’t me it was the Winchrite. DuH! Unfortunately by this time it was 18 months since I had bought this useless piece of crap that when I rang the dealer in Perth I was informed that they wouldn’t help me because it was out of warranty. Not their fault they said the manufacturer wouldn’t help out. Well with a useless AUD$650 investment that has never worked sitting on my work bench I decided to operate. The unit is obviously manufactured in China the 21 volt battery pack is a composite pack of LiIon batteries ganged in parrallel and series to create the required voltage. In order to charge the batteries they are tapped at at various points to charge them and through a series connection delivers power to a small electric motor via a variable speed trigger (which is also dodgy) on the handle. The quality of the solder work on the only circuit board is poor and there were a small number of dry joints. I subsequently stripped the battery pack (removed it tape wrapper) and individually tested the parrallel pairs and found that at least two of the packs (four batteries were faulty – 7.2volts). Rember this Winchrite has never raised a sail from the day I bought it. In my opinion its workmanship is poor the company doesn’t stand behind its products and if I had my time again I would have done what a fellow yachty suggested and bought the Milwaukee.

    • That’s too bad, Paul. I do continue to use mine daily.

      FYI we have a Milwaukee too and while it is more powerful, I can’t use it on the single-speed winches that I need it for as the clutch opens when under load.

  13. I’ve heard of other, older products that if they slip out of your hands can spin around and hurt you. Have they figured this out? This was 10 years ago….

    • Well, in this case, if it slipped out of your hand you’d no longer be squeezing the handle to make it run. There is a significant amount of torque when operating it though, so you do need to hold on tightly.

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