Harken classic winches are reliable, rugged and extremely efficient. They come in a wide variety of sizes and in manual, or with hydraulic and electric drives. Below are answers to questions that are often asked about our Classic winches.
How often should I service my winches?
You should service your winches at least once during the pre-season. However, if your boat lives in a salt water environment, where the seasons are longer, servicing your winches twice a season is best. If you race your boat hard, you may want to maintain your winches before every regatta. The more often you service your winches, the faster you become.
What kind of tools do I need?
You'll need a straight blade screwdriver to remove the drum. Some of the larger winches require a set of metric Allen wrenches (4 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm, and 8 mm). You'll also need a thin utility knife or small pocket knife to remove the pawls.
What materials does the Classic line come in?
Harken Classic winches are offered in all-chromed bronze, polished bronze, and in stainless steel.
The Radial® winch line is available in aluminum alloy, chrome, or in chrome with white composite accents.
Our racing line of winches features aluminum and carbon fiber construction.
Oil or Grease
Can I use McLube™ Sailkote™ to grease my winch?
McLube™ Sailkote™ is a great product and you can use this dry lubricant to make sails, hulls and rigging more efficient and last longer. But for winches, we recommend Harken Winch Grease, a special all-temperature grease that is very resistant to salt and fresh water.
What parts of a winch get oiled and which get greased?
Clean the winch parts with a mild solvent and then lightly grease the gear teeth and roller bearings with Harken winch grease. Don't overdo it. Too much grease can pick up dirt, sand, etc. and damage the gears.
The pawls (they make the clicking noises as the winch rotates) should be lubricated with a SAE 30 weight oil. Don't use grease. This heavy lubricant may make the pawls stick so the winch backwinds.
How do I remove the drum?
Remove the screw that sits in the bottom of the winch handle socket. Lift the socket out and then the drum. Remove the drum carefully because sometimes the roller bearing cage sticks in the drum and could drop in the water.
How do I adjust the stripper arm?
To adjust the stipper arm on winches from 16ST to 53.2ST, remove the top screw and the winch handle socket from the winch. Lift the stripper arm, turn it to the position you want, and put the socket and screw back in place. For more information, read the appropriate service manual, or call us at Harken (262-691-3320) and we will walk you through the adjustment process.
Will the self-tailing mechanism work with a variety of line sizes?
Yes. The upper jaw of the self-tailing device is spring loaded to accommodate different line sizes. For example, the 40.2 self-tailing winch will handle 8 mm to 12 mm line.
Will a Harken winch handle fit other manufacturers' winches?
Yes, so long as it isn't a very old bronze Merriman style that takes a unique side handle.
Should I use a 203 mm (8") or 254 mm (10") winch handle?
Published power ratios for most winches are based on a 254 mm (10") handle length because it is the most comfortable length for most sailors. 203 mm (8") handles are faster because they swing through a smaller circle. However, power is reduced by 20%. 203 mm (8") handles are ideal for smaller boats and for light air, where speed is needed and power is not.