OK, so you confirmed that it is not supposed to ratchet like a typical winch, which was one of the reasons i was thinking of replacing it... thought maybe it was broken.
Yes, it does seem to work, it just isn't very user-friendly. If you wind it up too tight and accidentally let go, it seems to have enough force to smack you pretty hard and possibly throw the winch in the water, too. So you have to wind it with one hand, and tighten down the lock with the other without losing grip of the winch handle. Just seems like a an accident waiting to happen...