The keel winch that came with my V17 was rusty and the cable fraying so I bought an identical replacement at Harbor Fright. (misspelling intentional) Lasted almost a year. I can't remember if the cable came with it or not, but it rusted. (I swear it was stainless!) The stamped sheet metal pawl that releases the handle deformed enough that it won't hold unless you set it *just* right. For some reason the cable winds funny and binds up (I'm not sure this is the winch's fault -- it may be mine) but it binds so tight that on occasion I had to forcibly crank it DOWN. (with a 500 lb cast iron keel hanging on it??!)
Glad I saved the original rusty one. I may have to put it back on if a replacement isn't found soon enough.
Here's what I found: Dutton-Lainson Winch with Automatic Brake 800-Lb. Capacity | Hand Winches | Northern Tool + Equipment
Am I barking up the wrong tree? I don't mind putting money into the boat, but I don't want a $200 winch if a $50 one will do the same thing and last me 5 or 10 years.
Going to heed the advice I ignored before and get a braking winch. While I never got whumped by the freewheeling handle, it did let loose and freewheel on my last trip out.
The boat is mainly fresh water but a few trips to the Chesapeake get me my saltwater fix. It's always rinsed off afterward. It's kept indoors year round and realistically gets used about 10 times a season. Not exactly abusive conditions.
Is there a better winch? I tried searching the forum but came up empty handed. I thought I saw conversations about this before but maybe not??