Please select your home edition
Edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club LEADERBOARD

Electric Sailboat Winch - Horizontal, Vertical or Compact Motor?

by Kerri Robson 15 Apr 12:00 BST
Electric Sailboat Winches Compared © Andersen Winches

You've chosen to upgrade from a manual winch to an electric winch. Now, you need to decide on motor placement. This is a critical design decision which largely depends on your boat's available space below deck. Ask yourself: 'What is going to fit, and what is going to be the least work?'.

Below Deck

An electric winch with a motor mounted below deck will be taking up space in the cabin headroom or storage locker. Depending on the configuration of your boat, there are several viable options to achieve optimal use of space - horizontal, vertical or compact models.

Horizontal

As the name suggests, the motor for the 'horizontal' configuration sits below deck, at a horizontal angle. Horizontal electric winches are also available in a left-hand or right-hand version, depending on the layout of your boat. The orientation (left/right) is important as the winch is designed to be loaded on a specific side, so they cannot simply be swivelled by 180 degrees.

Vertical

Electric winches with a 'vertical' configuration sit below deck, at a vertical angle. In this configuration the motor sits directly below the winch drum. The vertical distance below deck is considerably more than the horizontal configuration.

Compact

If cabin headroom or locker space are at a premium, some manufacturers, such as Harken and Andersen, also offer compact models. Using different motor technology, these compact motors are smaller in size than the horizontal and vertical configurations and require less space for installation due to their low-profile gearbox and motor partially embedded in the drum.

Above Deck

For some boats, there might be no available space for a winch motor below deck. Fortunately, Andersen also offer a compact winch in an 'above deck' configuration. This model requires no space below deck at all, with the motor mounted straight onto the deck.

However, there are important considerations to be made when choosing this configuration. If you're moving to an 'above deck' winch for the first time, the added height of the motor will significantly alter the angle of approach of your lines.

For example, the line entry height for Andersen's 28 winch is 75mm. Adding the above deck compact motor changes the line entry height to 150mm. Your clutches, turning blocks and lines will likely need to be adjusted accordingly to achieve the recommended line entry angle of 3-8 degrees.

In addition, when choosing the above deck configuration you must also be wary of water ingress. With the motor more exposed to the elements, additional precautions should be taken to protect it.

You can view the Electric Winch range or if you have any questions about switching to electric winches, you can contact or use the Winch enquiry form.

Related Articles

Harken Electric Winch Range Explained
Motor configurations and grip options broken down by upffront.com Harken have long been a popular choice for winches due to their quality, with their winches aboard everything from the smallest sportsboats to the largest mega yachts. Posted on 29 Jul
Introducing the Spinlock Deckvest Range
Compact, comfortable to wear and unobtrusive says upffront.com When it comes to safety, we know you want the best for yourself and your crew. Just launched in the upffront.com website 'Safety' category are Spinlock Deckvests: the world-renowned go-to lifejacket for hobby sailors, offshore cruisers and racers alike. Posted on 22 Jul
Bamar RLG EVO ROLLGEN Top-Down Furling System
A great product for cruising boats from 38-60 feet Introducing the Bamar ROLLGEN top down furling system and why we think this is a great product for cruising boats from 38-60 feet. Bamar have a reputation for engineering quality and this is a simple but highly engineered range of small boat furlers. Posted on 15 Jul
The Best Sail Race Computer
Velocitek Prostart or Novasail NS-START.Pro? Velocitek and Novasail have long been leaders in the sailing electronics industry. This article will compare the flagship race computers from each, the Velocitek Prostart and the Novasail NS-START.Pro to give you an idea of the pros and cons of each. Posted on 8 Jul
The Future of Deck Hardware
Morfrac Systems discusses how designs have come full circle Deck hardware has come full circle. Now, designers favour simple designs that make use of high-performance materials over complex concepts. We spoke to Nicolas Goldenberg of Morfrac Systems, the mind behind the disruptive morfblock. Posted on 24 Jun
Introducing Premium Ropes and Stirotex Fibre
A new UHMPE fibre is starting to appear in offshore classes Premium Ropes is an Amsterdam based rope supplier, rigging workshop and resource centre for all things running rigging. They quickly gained profile by running physical splicing workshops in the Netherlands and publishing videos on YouTube. Posted on 10 Jun
Light, Simple Line Control
upffront.com look at why the Antal Soft Loop Hook is a great idea Italian marine hardware manufacturer, Antal, have been creating sailing solutions since 1977 and have designed a range of sailing hardware. Their Soft Loop Hook is a lightweight, flexible, simple to use device for adjusting genoa or spinnaker sheet leads. Posted on 3 Jun
Antal's XT range and Maxi range
Electric winches undeniably make sailing more accessible Electric winches have long been a hot topic of debate at Upffront.com. On the one hand, they are a considerable financial investment and are often stigmatised for not being 'real' sailing. Posted on 28 May
A New Twist on Soft Shackles
The new LOOP Cover Shackles take things one step further LOOP soft shackles are a simple, yet highly versatile product. They can be used almost anywhere that you would use a conventional shackle and have an incredible strength to weight ratio, as you would expect from Dyneema. Posted on 21 May
Space-saving Saviour or Subpar Alternative?
upffront.com look at Andersen's compact electric winches The ultimate factor behind choosing the motor placement of your new electric winch is the configuration of your boat and the space available in the cabin headroom or storage locker. Posted on 14 May