Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Getting to Grips with Winch Handles at

by Phil Anniss 17 Jun 2019 08:00 UTC
Getting to Grips with Winch Handles © Shutterstock

A winch handle is just a winch handle - right? It's true, but when buying a new one, there are a few things you need to consider.

The main variables include:

  • Length - Most winch handles come in two standard sizes, 8-inch (203mm) for speed and 10-inch (254mm) for power.
  • Grip - Different manufacturers offer varying grip types. The winch handles that we sell are available in single and full double grip, high grip (a compromise between single and double) and increasingly popular, Palm grip, which allows comfortable single handed use at low loads and a good double grip for grinding.
  • Bearings - Ball bearings are considered standard these days to minimises friction, enabling the sailor to get the best out of their winches.
  • Locks - Winch handles are available with locking and non-locking mechanisms, Although the non-locking type are easy to remove, they risk getting lost overboard. Locks offer a secure fit and are increasingly available in ergonomic, one-handed operation levers on the shaft.

Current trends are for 10 inch (254mm) handles, to maximise the power output, palm grips for comfort/efficiency and one-hand operated locking systems. Having said that, there are many unique situations where an alternative might be more appropriate.

We offer three brands of winch handle, Harken, Ronstan and Andersen and set out below are just a few of the more specific details about each type.


These robust winch handles have been fabricated in polished stainless-steel to ergonomically provide the perfect transfer of power and functionality for cruising. They are strong, yet relatively light, and all come with a standard locking system. They have single, high and double grips but their latest Auto-Lock range incorporates a palm grip and advanced locking mechanism.


With low-friction ball bearings, and a large winch handle range, Harken packs a punch. Their range covers all materials (Bronze, chrome, aluminium and composite) and all grip types. They are predominantly locking but they do have a basic 203/254mm non-locking aluminium handle. At the opposite end of the range their Carbo One-Touch composite handle is super-strong and lightweight with a grab-bar locking mechanism.


Ronstan has just re-launched a simple winch handle range incorporating all the latest trends. With its Quick-Lock trademark design, it is the perfect piece of equipment for racing competitors and weekend cruisers alike. It has a high-speed release mechanism for single-handed use.


In closing, when it comes to winch handle selection, here is a recap of the things you should consider before buying:

  • Length
  • Grip
  • Bearings
  • Lock

If you are finding it difficult to pick the right winch handle, then do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist.

To view our selection of winch handles click here. For more advise - or for help with winch selection in general - please download our free Winch Selection Guide.

Related Articles

Morf Block merges into Morfrac Systems speaks to the inventor, Nicolas Goldenberg At we're big fans of the Morf Block. The lightweight, 3D-printed block started as a DIY kit and has expanded into two ranges: high performance and high load. Posted on 8 Jul
The Low-Down on High-Load Dinghy Blocks
Allen, Harken, Ronstan and Morf compared At we love looking at the data and comparing products to gain insight. In this blog we look at the rapidly evolving world of high-load dinghy blocks and compare leading products on the market from Allen Brothers, Harken, Ronstan and Morf. Posted on 26 Jun
Spinlock's XTX available at
The latest innovation in rope holding Widely known as experts in rope holding, Spinlock is the go-to solution for many sailors when it comes to clutches and jammers. We've been looking forward to the launch of their new product, the XTX Clutch, ever since we got our first look at METS 2019. Posted on 19 Jun
Ubi Maior X3M Flight Blocks
The compact high flyer reviewed by Where does the Ubi Maior X3M Flight range sit relative to other blocks? Posted on 12 Jun
Allen Brothers overview from
Dedicated to manufacturing excellence We are pleased to introduce the Allen Brothers 20mm and 30mm Dynamic Block ranges on the website and decided to take the opportunity to have an in-depth look at this fascinating UK manufacturer of performance dinghy hardware. Posted on 5 Jun
nke - Finding Their True Course look at these high quality, precision navigation instruments nke is a specialist marine electronics manufacturer which has built a reputation, over 35 years, for high quality, precision navigation instruments for sailing yachts. Profiling companies like this is part of's raison d'être. Posted on 28 May
Ewincher - An alternative to electric winches?
A power-assisted winch handle requires no installation Electrification of winches can be a great benefit; reducing the strength and manpower needed on your boat and allowing many to sail short-handed or continue sailing longer in life. Is the Ewincher a viable, cost-effective alternative? Posted on 11 May
Extend your reach with Ronstan
The Battlestick is the self-professed 'next generation of sailing weaponry' Ronstan is an Australian born company who has developed hardware for both small and big boats since 1953. In this article we will look at their extensive range of tiller extensions which have become a brand in their own right: the Ronstan Battlestick. Posted on 30 Apr
Bamar's got your back... stay!
Looking to upgrade from a block and tackle system to a backstay tensioner? Looking to upgrade from a block and tackle system to a backstay tensioner? This blog will look at the Bamar BTV and BTM mechanical backstay tensioners and compare them with alternatives on the market. Posted on 23 Apr
PROtect Tapes SPK: Wooling spinnakers
An environmentally friendly and innovative system for solving an old problem PROtect Tapes provide solutions for the owners, boat captains and race teams who recognise that protecting the boat and reducing maintenance plays an important role in enhancing performance. Posted on 15 Apr
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER