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Ten Reasons to Upgrade to an Electric Winch

by Phil Anniss 4 Feb 17:00 UTC
Ten reasons to upgrade to an electric winch © Nico Martinez

Upgrading to an electric winch, or multiple electric winches, is an investment, and as with any financial investment there has to be a reasonable return. So, what are the potential returns on this increasingly popular sail boat upgrade?

In this article we have put together our top ten reasons for upgrading to electric winches.

1. Switch to short-handed sailing
Are you getting fed up with the hassle of motivating crew to turn up every weekend? Electrification of your winches, together with some systems changes, could allow you to sail with just one crew member, or even single handed.

2. Safe mast climbing
Do you enjoy sailing with your wife / partner but are nervous about what would happen if you needed to go up the rig whilst offshore? An electric halyard winch can make it a simple, controllable operation and put everyone's mind at ease. A rewind winch would make it a 100% push button procedure. Slow, but safe!

3. Fine tune halyard tension
As the wind comes up, keep the crew on the rail and use your remote-control button to trim the halyard winch from the steering position.

4. Eyes-up when grinding
What's the difference between a good, versus a bad, winch grinder? The good one knows when to STOP! So, "keep your eyes on the prize and your finger on the button", to avoid over-hoisted / over-sheeted sails.

5. Heavy weather reefing
Reefing your sails is a pressure situation. The wind has got up, you are on the limit, loads are at their highest and there is always a risk of damage with prolonged periods of flogging sails. Minimise stress, optimise operational efficiency, and reduce risk by using powered winches to ensure you get a clean, properly reefed sail, in the shortest possible time.

6. Dinghy hoist
There are some significant benefits of a rigid dinghy, particularly for coastal hopping cruises, but what about the hassle of getting the tender on/off the boat!? Minimise the downside and maximise the benefits with an electric winch.

7. Clean and renewable energy
On larger sailing yachts (+65ft) it is common to find other onboard hydraulic systems, but on smaller boats (35-55ft) you will already have an electrical system, and this is the logical method of powering up your systems. In addition, the rapid development of cost effective, flexible, photovoltaic solar panels means you have the opportunity to harness a renewable resource whilst improving comfort onboard, creating a win-win scenario.

8. Sail a larger boat as a couple
Do you want to get off-grid, enjoy life, and cruise the world? An extra 4-6ft can make all the difference in terms of having a comfortable living space and electric winches will allow you to manage the larger sail plan with ease.

9. Keep sailing your pride and joy
You have been sailing since you were a teenager. Fifty years later, you have a great boat and still have the passion, but physically it is getting tough. Rather than having the cost of selling and settling for a smaller model which doesn't really inspire you, invest in electric winches and enjoy the comfort whilst continuing sailing your pride & joy.

10. Keep on Sailing - full-stop!
Roll on another 10-15yrs...... you can still get yourself down to the boat, but mobility is becoming a problem. At home you can control your whole life from your mobile phone / tablet. With some adaptation and electric systems onboard there is no reason you cannot go on enjoying the fresh air, being on the sea, and the thrill of a fast broad reach on a sunny afternoon. The technology is all there to help you keep on sailing.

There are some strong practical, performance orientated, reasons for many cruisers to consider upgrading to electric winches but, as your years advance, it can make the difference between holding on to a treasured boat and/or maintaining your passion for sailing. A lot is written these days about the general deterioration in mental health - if you need to justify the investment in electric winches to your wife / partner, just play mental health card!

You can take a look at the extensive electric winch category on the website.

However, if you have any questions or would like to discuss upgrading your winches, then please contact us at or use the Winch Enquiry Form.

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