Sam Fortescue tries out the new improved versions of the Ewincher electric winch handle to find out if it lives up to the hype (and cost)
Designed for yachts from 30 to 60 feet, Ewincher is an electrically assisted winch handle recently upgraded and relaunched with more power and longer battery life.
You can use it as a standard handle without engaging any power or introduce more and more assistance by simply squeezing the trigger. I found the most comfortable way to use it was to keep the handle steady and let it do all the work for me aboard my Sadler 34.
The Ewincher’s improved 450W motor can now manage up to 100 rpm with 90Nm of torque – a 10 per cent increase.
The battery remains at 3Ah (about the same capacity as a cordless drill) which should be more than enough for a full day’s sailing on a 45ft yacht.
Human arms can maintain about 130W of power or peak at around 200W, so the Ewincher’s maximum 230W represents a decent boost. I found that I had to counteract that force with my arms to some extent, so it’s far from effortless.
For my yacht, power wasn’t an issue, and I didn’t get close to maxing out the Ewincher. The real benefit, I felt, would be clearer on a larger boat, as the Ewincher can easily trim a 160 m2 spinnaker in 15 knots of wind.
However, it comes into its own when you need to send someone aloft, able to haul a 110kg person to the top of a 60ft mast. I weigh nothing like that, but the Ewincher made the task of hoisting me to the masthead much easier for the rest of my crew.
Charging is easy using the 50W mains adapter and takes just 90 minutes. To charge on a boat’s 12V system, you must plug the mains adapter into the 150W Bestek inverter supplied, which I feared would overload the boat’s circuit. Although this system converts from DC to AC back to DC again, it should, in fact, never draw more than 55W. There’s also an excellent companion app for checking battery status, setting power limits, and monitoring your usage.
Weighing just 2.2kg it comes in a handy padded bag, with space for two batteries and chargers, and a smart stowage pocket for mounting in the cockpit.
I can see how this would make a helpful addition on a boat whose owner is struggling with the physical demands of trimming sails, or as a safety option allowing the slightest crew member to hoist the bulkiest.
It’s not cheap at £2,099 (plus another £299 for the extra battery), but this compares well with the cost of a single electric winch. And of course, you can use it on every winch aboard.
Ewincher electric winch handle specifications
Handle length: 150mm (10in)
Speed: 100 rpm
Battery: 25.2V lithium-ion
Battery capacity: 3,000mAh
Charge time: 1.5 hours (12V/230V)
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