The 'game changing' advantages of Seldén's new line of manual and electric winches include clever features to speed up tacking and make it safer when sailing with inexperienced crew.

For many years there was little development in new winches, but that has changed recently with several brands announcing new and improved ranges.

Spar and deck hardware manufacturer Seldén has a new line of both manual and electric winches that offer a number of advantages over existing products.

One important advance, for instance, is that the self tailer and feeder are designed to make it possible to pull in slack with a sheet already in the self tailer jaws and the winch handle in place. This speeds up tacking and makes it safer when sailing with inexperienced crew.

It will be a game changer for many.

Seldén S-series and E-series winches -product shot

E-series electric winches operate at three speeds

Asymmetric grip pattern

The drums have also been redesigned with vertical ribs in an asymmetric pattern. These are excellent for grip, without creating the damage to a rope that can be caused by a rough pattern on the drum.

The asymmetric positioning is also important, as any line under load will become slightly dented where it rests over a rib. If ribs are evenly spaced all the dents will simultaneously jump to the next rib and it won’t be possible to ease the line smoothly.

However, even if it initially looks odd to the eye, the asymmetric ribs provide an equally good grip and a smooth ease of the line.

A frustration with many electric winches is they are slow at hauling in a line that’s not under tension. Seldén’s E-series electric range therefore has three speeds, with one geared to rapidly haul in slack, before switching to the regular two speeds.

It’s a neat idea with obvious benefits, including quicker mainsail hoisting, faster tacking of headsails and more rapid sheeting of a Code 0 or asymmetric spinnaker.

The whole range has 42V motors, which may seem strange given even large yachts rarely run at more than 24V. However, it means the motor assembly is more compact, saving space below decks.

In addition, instead of big heavy cables to supply the power, relatively small 6mm2 wires do the job. Seldén supplies a power supply unit to convert the boat’s DC voltage up to the 42V.

The electric drive can be retrofitted at a later date for anyone who wants to upgrade to an electric winch.

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Seldén S-series and E-series winches -product shot

Neat retrofit

The Swedish firm has also developed a system that allows both the manual and electric winches to be retrofitted to an existing boat without drilling new holes in the deck.

Instead, there’s an optional adapter plate with threaded anodised holes for the S winch fastenings. The adapter plate is bolted down to the deck, using the original screw holes, and then the winch is fitted on top. Seldén has also introduced a pair of new winch handles.

The standard 8in or 10in models have a thumb switch to operate the locking mechanism, while the more expensive Grip has long release levers on the sides of the handle, so it unlocks automatically as you grab the handle.

Price: S40 manual two-speed self tailing winch €890 ex VAT E40 electric three-speed self-tailing winch €2,880 ex VAT (ex SEL-Bus voltage converter)