Trim On!

As with many Harken products, the secret to the outstanding performance behind the SpeedGrip handles are ball bearings. As with blocks, the ball bearings inside the SpeedGrip handles allow for virtually frictionless movement, which is a sure-fire recipe for translating as much of your brawn into sheeting action as possible. Harken SpeedGrip winches feature ball bearings for both the vertical
Author:
Publish date:

As with many Harken products, the secret to the outstanding performance behind the SpeedGrip handles are ball bearings. As with blocks, the ball bearings inside the SpeedGrip handles allow for virtually frictionless movement, which is a sure-fire recipe for translating as much of your brawn into sheeting action as possible. Harken SpeedGrip winches feature ball bearings for both the vertical handle and the free spinning cap, which is a huge improvement over other handles that only have ball bearings for the vertical handle (where the cap is molded onto the vertical handle).

harken_handle

SpeedGrip handles are made out of lightweight aluminum shafts, with high-strength plastic handles; they are available in both locking and non-locking designs. I personally like the locking variety, as there is far less danger of accidentally kicking the handle overboard during a fast and furious gybing session. Also, the lock allows the trimmer to leave their handle parked in a leeward sheeting winch, even when she is seated to weather, without fear of a big wave or a clumsy crewmember sending it flying. While other handles have easier-to-use mechanisms for releasing the handle’s lock, Harken’s easy-to-operate lock release is still a snap, both with gloves and without. It should be noted that Harken makes handles in a variety of handle configurations. Also, the handles are available in a couple of different finishes and colors.

A quick word on materials. Some manufacturers build their entire handles out of high-strength plastics. While this can work for some sailors, I find that plastic limits the handle’s utility as a crossover tool. For instance, I have used Harken SpeedGrip handles as a de facto hammer at ties (and even as a bludgeoning instrument, for fish unlucky enough to be hauled aboard), and the weight and strength of their aluminum stock allows them to work great in this capacity. While this is a quick way to loose the nice, sporty-looking anodization, it also saves precious time. The trouble, however, with all-metal handles is that they get cold when the temps plummet. Here, again, Harken has done their homework by pairing high-strength plastic handles (which stay relatively warm) with metal stocks. In my opinion, this pairing of materials delivers the best of both worlds.

I have used SpeedGrip handles for years, both in racing situations and for casual cruising, and, like all the best gear, I find that it’s there when I need it, yet never in my way when I’m trying to do other things aboard. I have used a wide-variety of handles over the years, but I’m always happy to step aboard and see a SpeedGrip at my trimming station. Even if the race goes poorly, I’ll know that precious time wasn’t lost due to a slower-than-optimal performance from the handles!

For more information, visit www.harken.com.

Related

IslandPacket349

Boat Review: Island Packet 349

After years of quiescence in the wake of the Great Recession, iconic Island Packet is back with its new 349, a re-boot of the old Estero that not only looks great, but takes the Island Packet style of sailing performance to a new level. Design & Construction First among the many ...read more

190219NEEL51

Video Tour: Neel 51 Trimaran

At this past fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, SAIL magazine had a chance to corner Neel Trimarans founder Eric Bruneel and have him give us a tour of the accommodations aboard the new Neel 51, winner of the “Multihull over 50ft” category in the 2019 Best Boats contest. For a complete ...read more

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more