I’ve been padding around the big sailboat show here in Annapolis the last couple of days searching for cool boats and kit. Right at the top of my wanna-see gear list was Harken‘s new reversible winch, which is debuting here in the U.S. ahead of Selden‘s new reversible winch, due to be unveiled in Amsterdam next month.
Like the Selden winch, the Harken Rewind winch has a two-way tailing arm that captures the line both leading into and off the tailing jaw. Turn a switch at the bottom of the winch base and the winch will ease line rather than reel it in without your having to touch it. Unlike the Selden winch, however, the Harken Rewind can ease line only in electric mode, not when the winch is operated manually. With the drive in forward, the winch operates as a conventional two-speed power winch; in reverse you have one speed for trimming line and one speed for easing it. When easing both the winch drum and the tailing jaw turn backwards together.
Obviously, being able to quickly trim and ease a line in shifty conditions without actually handling it is a fantastic convenience. But I wonder about these two-way tailing arms. Will they inhibit your ability to blow the line off the winch in an emergency? On Harken’s winch, I found, the portion of the tailing arm that captures line coming out of the tailing jaw is spring loaded, as you can see here:
The arm as a result doesn’t at all inhibit your ability to yank the line out of the tailing jaw and off the winch. I found you can also load line into the tailing jaw in one quick, smooth motion.
On Selden’s winch the two-way tailing arm appears to be one solid piece. How quickly line can be loaded into it and yanked out again remains to be seen.
The Rewind winch is already shipping, and, indeed, even before I made it over to the Harken booth for their dog-and-pony show:
I found a Rewind winch installed on this new Jeanneau:
So far, the Rewind is available in just one size (46). Harken intends to introduce other sizes in the future, but couldn’t say yesterday just what sizes and when.