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Electric Winches are becoming increasingly popular because they make shorthanded sailing much easier and simpler just by pushing a button.

Modern winch conversions are making it easier to shift from manual to electric operation than ever before. Boats of 30ft or more may benefit from fitting electric winches, especially if the boat has a large genoa to winch in after every tack. For instance, a good number of manual winches can be electrified by buying a conversion kit (Lewmar, Harken and Andersen all sell manual-electric upgrade kits for their two-speed winches).

In the past the power supply was a recurring problem aboard cruising yachts, however, these days on any boat large enough to benefit from installing electric winches there’s no excuse for not having a decent size battery bank with multiple charging inputs, including an alternator with a smart charging system, solar and three-or four-stage shorepower chargers.

Power consumption therefore need not be an issue, although it would be wise to monitor batteries using a Victron BMV712 to ensure they remain will charged during any voyage in which electric winches are used extensively.

In theory the size of your boat’s existing winches will give a good guide as to the appropriate size of electric winch for each application on your boat.

Intrusion below decks is perhaps a bigger concern for many boat owners, as the motors can reduce standing headroom, particularly in aft cabins. However, there are models, such as instance Harken’s ultra-compact single speed UniPower electric winch that offer a slimline design. In this case, the motor is partially embedded in the winch drum, which means only 105mm of headroom below deck is lost.


Electric winches, like windlasses, draw a considerable amount of electrical current. It is therefore vital to plan the new system carefully to minimise power losses in the cables. Although it is standard practice to fit an additional battery for a windlass in the bows of the boat this may not be needed for electric winches, providing they are located close to the main batteries so that cable runs are relatively short.

Anchor Windlass

Tired of pulling up heavy anchors and chain, and feeding it all into your anchor locker all while standing or sitting on a moving foredeck? Maybe its time to consider a Windlass?

Knight Marine Electronics can install a range of electric anchor windlasses, giving you complete control under various anchoring situations, even the most critical, from a safe position on board your boat. Every anchoring operation will become simpler, fast, and firmly under your control. Less fear of failing to recover your anchor and every anchoring will become a pleasure. No more heavy and complicated operations.

We have the solution for you with a selection of new windlasses with or without wireless remotes. It is relatively straight forward, starting with what type of windlass to choose in the first place... This is normally dictated by the type of boat you have, the space available for installation.


Windlasses are essentially available in two varieties - horizontal and vertical. This describes the axis around which the unit rotates, so a horizontal windlass has its gypsy. A vertical windlass, as the name suggests, has a vertical axle. Both work the same way, but the vertical type has a motor that sits below the deck, whereas the horizontal type has a motor that sits above the deck in a casing.  

When planning an installation, we need to take in to account several things, DECK STRENGTH, LOCATION AND CHAIN DROP. The windlass will ideally need to be mounted over a reasonably deep area of the anchor locker, and the chain should drop pretty much straight down.

If you would like to find out more please Contact Us.

  • Telephone: 02381 112032
  • Email: info@knightmarineelectronics.com