Please select your home edition
Edition
SWC newsletters (top)

Getting to Grips with Winch Handles at upffront.com

by Phil Anniss 17 Jun 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.

Andersen

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.

Harken

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

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.

Summary

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

nke Marine Electronics packages
Introducing the 'Cruise' package from upffront.com Due to nke's impressive product range, we also introduced a number of marine electronics packages crafted by Upffront.com. We created these packages to simplify the tricky world of marine electronics, and the result was six turn-key packages. Posted on 19 Jul
LOOP® Products - An Introduction
A whole array of rope-related products: blocks, soft shackles and more LOOP® Products are a German firm who pride themselves on hard work and innovation. Formed in 2005, LOOP® Products is the brainchild of Kohlhoff GmbH - a deck hardware specialist and wholesaler of top brands since 1991. Posted on 12 Jul
Genoa Reefing System Specifications
How to provide all the information needed for a new system So, you're in the market for a new genoa reefing system... either your existing furling unit is extremely old - and spare parts aren't available any more - or you're choosing to switch from a forestay with hanks for more comfortable cruising. Posted on 8 Jul
A Beginners Guide to Cam Cleats
What's available on the market? Your sailing system is only as strong as the weakest link. Often overlooked, high performance boat cleats are a crucial part of a larger, functional sailing system. Posted on 3 Jul
Soft solutions versus Tylaska's Snap Shackle
Which comes out on top? Soft connectors have tonnes of benefits: generally lighter, stronger and more durable than their metal counterparts, soft connectors require zero maintenance (they're corrosion free!) and are kinder to your deck, mast and other fittings. Posted on 28 Jun
Composite Backstays - Your Quick Performance Fix
Lighter, stronger, kinder and safer A properly designed and adjustable backstay system is key to sailing fast and safely through changing weather conditions. Switching from a wire or rod backstay to a composite backstay is one of the simplest ways of achieving a quick performance upgrade. Posted on 24 Jun
Performance Soft Shackles
Stronger and lighter than an aluminum shackle Designed in 2017, the Kohlhoff LOOP® Connectors provide a durable, strong, super-lightweight soft shackle which is perfect for splicing onto sheets or halyards. Posted on 21 Jun
Cleats, Clutches and Jammers
What's the difference? The following guide will examine cleats, clutches and jammers in turn, to enable you to determine the best option for securely holding a line on your boat. Posted on 14 Jun
Andersen Winch servicing
How do I find the manufacture date and version number? Andersen Winches are a big name in the boating business. Designed and manufactured in Denmark, Andersen Winches have earnt a reputation for building first class, high quality winches. Posted on 7 Jun
MBW newsletters (top)