The winch is one of the most important parts of any boat trailer, and trying to load your speedboat onto its trailer without one can be almost impossible. Consequently, if the winch attached to your trailer fails, or you purchase a custom trailer without a pre-fitted winch, fitting a new one is essential for getting your boat back on the water as soon as possible.
Automatic, electrically-driven winches have become rather popular in recent years, but while these modern winches can take a lot of the effort out of loading your speedboat onto it's trailer, they can also be expensive, finicky and difficult to repair if they malfunction. As such, many speedboat owners prefer to stick with a simple, reliable manual winch. If you are in the market for a new manual winch, keep the following guidelines in mind to ensure your winch matches the needs of your speedboat and trailer:
Choose a winch with sufficient weight capacity
You might assume that your new manual winch should be strong enough to lift the entire weight of your boat, but this is not always necessary. Since you will most likely be winching your boat up a gently-sloping slipway onto your trailer, and the buoyancy of the water beneath its hull support a lot of the weight, many speedboat owners can get away with smaller, cheaper manual winches capable of pulling about three quarters of your boat's total weight.
However, these weaker winches can leave you in the lurch if you decide to use steeper slipways, so investing in a winch that can bear your craft's full weight can give you added versatility and peace of mind. You should also bear in mind that your winch will have to bear the weight of the fuel and equipment aboard your speedboat, so you should have your craft weighed when fully fuelled and laden before choosing your winch.
Choose aluminium winches for saltwater loading
Many manual winches are made from galvanised or powder coated steel, and while they are capable of withstanding a certain amount of saltwater exposure, they will swiftly fall victim to rust once their protective coatings start to degrade. Aluminium winches tend to be a little more expensive, but are thoroughly immune to rust even without a protective coating, making them ideal choices for trailers used to launch speedboats onto the open ocean or brackish estuaries.
Choose a two-speed winch for heavier speedboats
Manual winches effectively multiply your strength using a series of gears, and smaller speedboats (such as RIBs and lightweight fibreglass catamarans) can usually be loaded onto a trailer easily using a simple one-speed gear. However, particularly large speedboats, or powerful speedboats fitted with heavy outboard engines, will probably benefit from two-speed winches. These boat winches have a low gear setting which can drag your boat in swiftly when it is still afloat, and can be switched to high gear to give you more pulling power once your craft reaches the trailerShare