Apart from Jim Kelly reiterating the phrase "wire to wire," the most common sound heard on ESPN2ís broadcasts of the 2000 Americaís Cup was the near-constant clicking made by the pedestal grinders that drive the winches. Now, boat owners who donít already have "bikes" on board can easily add them to their arsenal with Antal Marine Equipmentís new Cyclone Ė a twin-handled, winch-drive system thatís designed to travel with you.
A trimmer's best friend, the Cyclone from Antal Marine Equipment.
The 2:1-drive-ratio Cyclone is designed to mount atop Antalís self-tailing winches allowing the operator to grind in sheets at twice the speed of a conventional handle-driven winch, with more efficient effort. The Cyclone fastens by way of a screw-clamp mechanism that opens with a small amount of effort. The guts of the Cyclone are engineered in bronze, with the pedestal machined and finished in hardcote anodizing. Though the Cyclone doesnít currently fit other manufacturersí winches, Antal can custom-fit the unit to most non-Antal drums as long as the exact specifications are provided.
The Cyclone is not just for the cockpit crew as it also performs double duty for halyard winches, whether deck- or mast-mounted, and more innovative mariners might consider using the device to take some of the labor out of pulling up anchor rodes. Hauling a continual stream of line is where the Cyclone offers one of its greatest advantages, as it permits the operator to put his or her upper-body strength into the work in an efficient manner, and thus prolong the duration of peak efficiency.
Solo sailor Soldini goes to work on his "secret weapon," which he used to win the 1998-99 Around Alone aboard his 60-foot FILA.
One of the strongest proponents of the Cyclone is solo-sailor Giovanni Soldini. According to sources within the Italian-based company, the Cyclone was initially developed for Soldiniís successful bid in the 1998-99 Around Alone aboard the 60-foot FILA. The feisty Soldini considered this tool his "secret weapon," and went to great lengths to keep it concealed from his fellow singlehanders at the start of that race. He even ordered a second unit during the first stopover in Cape Town, South Africa.
Though a bit weighty at 11 pounds, and somewhat cumbersome to store, the Cyclone can definitely give you an edge on the racecourse. Imagine sailing your 40-footer on a tight reach in puffy conditions where youíre just able to carry a kite. Whoever gets tapped to hit the winches and assist with spinnaker trimming will appreciate the ease and speed of double handles. And imagine if that leg of the course lasts longer than 30 minutes. That grinder is going to be grateful.
The 11-pound Cyclone mounts easily atop cockpit and halyard winches alike.
One caveat: For upwind work, particularly in tacking duels, youíll definitely want to practice the uncommon motion involved in dismounting and remounting the Cyclone on your primaries. Once youíve got that smoothly orchestrated, youíll be good to go.
The Cyclone retails for $1,720.00.