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Old 04-28-2006
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Winch Handle - Lock-in

Our boat came with Lewmar Lock-in PowerGrip winch handles. Within a few months of light use the Lock-In has become almost a real hassle to "Un-Lock." I'm planning on removing the Lock-In mechanism. However, I'm wondering if there are other brand, locking winch handles that are more usable.
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Old 04-28-2006
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Personally, I've never liked locking winch handles for the very reason you indicate. The locking mechanism often hangs up and is difficult to get off the winch, and, when you have to make a quick tack while racing, you can't afford to have anything get fouled. In almost 30 years of racing and cruising, I've never lost a winch handle over the side, even though I often leave the winch handle in the winch while I'm on a tack, and have occasionally had water pour over the coaming and winch. Even without locks, they don't accidentally come out very readily. I liked to use the non-locking, "floating winch handles" on my previous 25' boat, because they were light weight, inexpensive, and even if I lost one, it was no big deal.
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Old 04-28-2006
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We use both Lewmar locking & non-locking winch handles, but have never had one seize up when I didn't want it to. The locking handle is used on our mast-mounted, Andersen winches, where gravity creates a higher probability of handle loss.
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Old 04-29-2006
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I use locking handles on the mast-located winches as well, but do not use them for the cockpit/coachroof mounted winches. Very little will shake a fully-inserted winch handle from a winch with a vertically oriented drum. The horizontal orientation of the mast-mounted winches, makes them much more likely to drop a handle.
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