Dr Harken Radial Winch article banner_750

    Harken Radial Line® Winches, more than just a redesign


    Did you know?

    • The Radial grip acts like a screw, pushing rope downward to prevent overriding turns, improving performance and safety.
    • Radial drum gripping surfaces are shaped for each winch size to improve gripping power and reduce line wear.
    • The Radial range is designed to cater to every type of sailor.

    Why did Harken decide to design the Radial winch range?

    Harken have been in the winch business since 1987, adapting original Barbarossa designs for their standard range.

    Designing a winch is more than making a new product, as one size certainly doesn't fit all! So when coming up with a new design, Harken considered every type of sailing. In turn, this required different engineering parameters. Cruisers, for example, want strength, reliability and safety, whereas cruiser/racers demand continual innovation and are always on the lookout for the lightest weight hardware that doesn't compromise strength and performance. Plus they want a strong service and support network they can call on wherever they are in the world.

    With this in mind, Harken designers set out to develop a new line of Radial winches. Their mission was clear:

    Safer handling, easier maintenance, superior grip and simpler installations 

    What was the key focus for the new design?

    Radial winches were essentially designed from the deck up, with the design team keeping a few key points at the forefront of their vision:

    Long-lasting performance: make the winches strong and durable. 

    Easy to service: remove the stress of upgrading, converting, or servicing winches; make parts captive for easy maintenance and installation.   

    The engineering team focused on addressing the needs of specific types of sailors-from racers who wanted power with less weight, to cruisers who wanted reliability and safety without compromising performance. The requests of boat builders were also important. They wanted a more streamlined approach to winch installation and upgrades, and the complexity taken out of the assembly process.

    So what did Harken's designers consider when creating the new Radial drum?

    When designing a winch, ease of use and a dependable grip are essential for every sailor. However, with increased grip comes greater friction, and with increased friction comes greater line wear. The challenge for Harken's designers was to counterbalance the need for controlled easing with line longevity, while taking into account the differences in line quality. 

    Now throw into the mix that the winch will be operating with a product Harken doesn't make. This means the winch grip needs to perform equally well with high-performance lines as with older cordage.

    Initially the team were happy with the original sandblasting and knurling grip design, but the consensus was they needed to see if they could do more!

    And so the grip with a twist was born!

    Why do Radial  winches have angled grooves on their drums?

    Radial winches have grooves which are very different from other winches which tend to push rope up when easing.

    "The Radial grip works more like a screw, driving the wraps down when easing (for) the best control."
    Andrea Merello, Harken Technical Director.

    So the grooves are not just there as a pretty design feature, they actually have key performance advantages!

    What makes Radials so special?

    Design innovation is great but what does Harken's range of Radials actually do for you? Good question, here's a run-down of how they can help you get the most out of your boat:

    • Better trimming control: the drum grooves push the rope downward, putting it in the best position for controlled easing.

    • Minimal line wear: cheaper on your wallet! You won't chew through lines so quickly as the Radial grip pattern enables greater hold with less friction.

    • Fewer overriding turns: the downward pressure of the grooves helps prevent overriding turns and risk of trapping fingers!

    • Easy to convert, install and service: the same drilling pattern is used to mount manual and electric winches of the same size

    • Integrated stripper arm: a safety feature, particularly for electrically powered winches. Smoothly feeds the line in and out of self-tailing jaws whilst preventing fingers and clothing from catching on moving parts.

    Check out Harken's latest video on how to service a 40 Radial Winch.

    For information on winches and or anything else, feel free to email the UK Customer Service Team: sales@harken.co.uk or call us on 01590 689 122.

    That's all for now…

    Dr Harken

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