With Christmas at our doorsteps and business slowing down for the upcoming holidays, it is indeed time to get into the right mood for some calm and soothing days. The first presents arrive, plans for what to cook and whom to invite are made and – not here in Germany anymore, but – the chilling cold and some snow make even the hardest sailor transform at least a bit into a grounded Christmas homie. Well, same here, but with exceptions …

Huge parcel!

Yesterday I received the message that the last winch arrived. You may have read my previous post about a “Parcel from Denmark” – the three manual winches had been delivered just a few days after I placed my order. With one electric winch missing, the order is now completed. What a nice occasion to do a “Christmas Unboxing”, so famous for the internet! Let´s go …

The brand choice: Andersen winches

The package contains of a small one – the winch itself – and a surprisingly big one with all the parts needed to power the winch. We all use electric winches on our yachts and this comes as a convenient and time- and power-saving matter of course. Even the cheapest charter boat nowadays will at least be fitted with one electric winch. But do we really know what is “behind the curtain”? I have used those frequently and in theory I know about the parts, but I was surprised about the sheer size and weight of the second parcel …

Electric winch (right) vs. manual

Checking the winch, at least for these Andersen winches, those are identical in construction to their manual counterparts. As a matter of fact, each manual winch can be upgraded to be “electrified” if I understood the tutorials right. The underside of the electric winch is already “opened” and prepared to be mounted on the motor-unit. Other than that, no difference to the manual winches. Let´s check the big box though.

A massive drive unit!

This one is really a surprise. Although I´d say my 40´ main halyard winch (the one I want to have electrified for my new Omega 42 is a pretty small one compared to “yacht size” 46` or even bigger drums on sailing yachts, the box appeared extraordinarily big and heavy. I open it and take out some layers of Styrofoam that is protecting the precious gear from any shocks and transport damage.

Meticulously protected: The drive unit

Taking out the motor takes some time. It is approximately 30 centimeters in length and the complete setup (including the drum) weighs in at a staggering 19 kilograms. That is much more than I had expected. But taking into account that this winch will pull up a mainsail with ease, will grind on any sheet under load, winch up an adult into the mast top – this drive needs to have some serious power!

Much heavier than expected

I free the drive unit from the protecting Styrofoam and place it on the floor of my living room. A nice and impressive piece of engineering, rugged and heavy in material quality. Shaking and knocking reveals no clanking nor any tolerance: This is a piece that is made to last, I´d say. In the face of the price that those winches cost, a matter of course, nevertheless, impressive to see.

The full set-up

I connect the winch to the drive unit and think of my Omega 42 being built right now: This winch will be situated to starboard side next to the entryway. This is the classic position for the mainsail halyard. Also, in my boat due to her interior layout concept (read more about the cabin and boat layout here) the pilot berth will be on the port side, leaving the whole starboard side open for storage. In this, mounting this huge drive unit underneath the winch won´t hinder any occupant from reaching his berth.

Installation of an electric winch

Checking the surplus equipment delivered with the motor unit, I hold a massive counterplate in my hands. This oversized washer will make sure that the stupendous torque of the winch and the forces exerted on in will be evenly transmitted into the GRP of the deck and distributed in a way that it won´t damage the structure. I am particularly happy to see this part.

Little detail – big impact

This is because on my last boat we discovered some “slightly” undersized washers. Together with maybe some sloppy fitting this resulted in serious cracks developing all around the winch which had to be meticulously and very elaborately drill-opened, widened and re-laminated. My colleagues then fitted some extra-strong counterplates, just like the one Andersen/Ronstan sent along with the 40´ winch in the first place. Nice part!

The button

Also, a waterproof button to operate the single-speed winch is delivered. Holding this little part in my hand and pressing the button makes me fast-forward my imagination: How will it feel like when I take out ALPHA for her first time, probably with shaking knees and absolutely overwhelmed – pressing this button to hoist the mainsail. It´s something so far away right now, yet I know that time will go by fast and this can be a bit intimidating at times.

Looking forward

Seeing the whole winch setup on the floor in my nicely heated living room is greatly satisfying. I am happy that my decision to go for a classy look was right and even with such a huge budget spent on acquiring those I would never have pardoned myself if I´d bought black plastic. With the shipyard now closed for Christmas vacation, I will deliver these winches to the team in early January. Up until then the bright shining silver drums are a great asset to this year´s Christmas tree-design for sure…

Omega 42 winch setup

I wish every one of you a Merry Christmas: May you be able to celebrate with your family, friends, and loved ones in piece and tranquility. Let go of all the hardship, the brutality of our reality and the challenges of your lives, dream away into a peaceful world where there is just the blue ocean, the warmth of the sun and the bright white of your sails, gliding gently away into freedom. Merry Christmas, dear readers!


You may also like to check these articles:

Parcel from Denmark: Andersen stainless steel winches

All information on the Omega 42-project

A day at Luffe Yachts