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post #11 of 28 Old 07-19-2019
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

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I've never had a floating handle. Are there other advantages with weight, etc? Intuitively, I would think them to be less sturdy....
I used them for many years (when you could buy one for $10-12) and thought they'd be easier on gelcoat if they fell or hit it, because of their lighter weight. They seem strong enough. I never broke one, but had a handle grip come off once. IMO, if you break a plastic winch handle, you're probably using bad technique. If the helmsman and jib tailer are coordinated, the tailer shouldn't have to do much hard grinding.

I now use Lewmar one hand winch handles. They're very functional, and not terribly heavy, but I had crew drop one over the side. ($100. and it didn't float.)
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post #12 of 28 Old 07-19-2019
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

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can we find the same one on amazon?
Yep

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post #13 of 28 Old 07-19-2019
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

I had that same handle on my last boat, but I only used it on the secondary winches because it had way too much flex to use on the Genoa, and the locking mechanism was terrible, and would not release from the winch without having to jiggle it and holding the locking lever in just the right position.

My logic for buying it in the first place was that it was cheap, and because if it was dropped it would be less likely to chip the gelcoat. The fact that it floated was not a big concern, because in my experience winch handles usually go overboard when racing, or when it is windy and things are going a bit sideways, and in both cases I am unlikely to go back for it.

The next winch handle bought was a plastic Lewmar handle. It was nicer than the Titan, because it was stiffer, had a better offset, and had a "speed ball" knob on the handle that made for much better 2 handed grinding. It had a button lock release which turned out to be awkward to use, particularly for people with small hands. Again the handle required a bit of wiggling to get it to release from the winch.

Recently I got annoyed with that handle and nearly thew it overboard for someone else to find!
I found a Harken Carbo "one-Touch" handle on sale for cdn$95 and snapped it up! What a beautifully designed handle! It slides in and out of the socket effortlessly. The lock release runs the length of the shank so grabbing the handle anywhere on the shank will release the lock. The handle and the speed ball have ball bearings and spin independently of each other, and because it is their Carbo line it is super light, and will not ding the gelcoat if dropped. It is well worth the money. Once you have used a nice winch handle there is no going back to the cheapo ones!

We have a simple rule on our boat...there are only 2 acceptable places for a winch handle, either in the winch or in the handle pocket. If you stick to that rule you will never loose a handle.

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post #14 of 28 Old 07-19-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

On my boat winch handles are kept in one of two pockets on either side of the cockpit, or stowed below. I have always taught my students to store the winch handle after use. I do not allow them to be left in the winch after use (and in my mind I silently scream when I see YouTubers do this) for two reasons; 1 - they would be in the way if trying to blow a sheet (for example while tacking) and 2 - they could be a tripping hazard.

Unfortunately, when raising the main on my boat, I must either carry the handle to the mast or have someone pass it forward to me to the mast from the cockpit. In this instance, I had just raised the main, cleated and coiled the halyard, and was bringing the handle back to the cockpit when I simply dropped it. Bounce, bounce, plop! Sh!t happens.
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post #15 of 28 Old 07-19-2019
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

A zillion years ago, I was taught not to leave a winch handle in the winch, because if a pawl broke, it would spin under load and break bones.

Today, it’s all electric winches. Nice.


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Re: Floating Winch Handle

The new orange/blue handle just arrived in today's mail. It's definitely fiber reinforced plastic of some kind. The texture of the orange shaft is rough (like 60 grit), and seems like it MAY give splinters if UV degrades the plastic in any way. I may paint the shaft with plastic paint if only to protect whatever plastic it is made from, thereby protecting my hands. The blue hand grip, the locking "square," and the locking lever seem to be made from smooth nylon. VERY difficult to read is the embossing on the shaft which states that it was made in Taiwan, PAT.NO.111595. I'll update once I put it to use.


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post #17 of 28 Old 07-19-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

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Today, it’s all electric winches. Nice.
On YOUR boat maybe. My boat is much more modest and from 1986/1987;
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Last edited by eherlihy; 07-21-2019 at 02:52 PM.
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post #18 of 28 Old 07-19-2019
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

We have the harken. After 6 years we have the harken.


Prefer synthetics for a winch handle because they are lighter. Prefer the harken because you can do everything with one hand which is the most important thing after knowing it won’t break when loaded.
Like the winch and pocket rule but go one further. No handle is ever left in a winch. You are either actively using it or it’s removed and placed back where it belongs. Think if you place your handle pockets correctly and the handles are put back when not in active use then there’s one always right at hand. Also think falling on the hand grip of a handle can do you some serious damage.

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post #19 of 28 Old 07-19-2019
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

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Originally Posted by PhilCarlson View Post
I have that winch handle as well. I never tested it but always figured it wouldn't float well, would be hard to see, and the conditions leading to it's going overboard would not favour recovery, so it, like everything else that goes overboard is a sacrifice to the sea.

I wonder how long until the salvaged floating winch handle business begins to flourish. There must be tons of them washed up on the shore.
Or sunk in slips. Along with a thousand nuts and screws😃


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post #20 of 28 Old 07-21-2019
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Re: Floating Winch Handle

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Or sunk in slips. Along with a thousand nuts and screws😃
I dropped a pocket knife off the dock. I used a powerful magnet to try to fish it back up, and found a child's bicycle instead.
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