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irwinr

Winches: Lewmar or Harken

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I asked this in the Cruising forum, now for the racers.

 

I'm outfitting a new boat and have come to the decision on winches. It's 54' and designed for short handed cruising. The current plan calls for three pairs of Harken 70/53/48 with electric drives. Plus one more 48 at the base of the mast. With vertical motors the winches can be cranked by hand or you can hit the button (for my gentle first mate).

 

I've had Harken 53's and 48's on my current boat with no reliability problems.

 

The Harken's are definitely more expensive than Lewmar so before I place the order I thought I'd lay this open to the accumulated SA wisdom and see if anyone can convince me to go with Lewmar. The casual input I've gotten is that the Lewmar's are just as good, though I hear bad things about parts availability and service responsiveness.

 

So what say you?

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My experience has always been that Harken does there best to support their customers. After looking for support from Lewmar once, I won't buy their product anymore and my local retailer avoids them when possible.

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No brainer. Harken customer service is second to none in any industry, not to mention that Lewmar's is the worst.

 

I'd happily pay 5x for Harken, cheap Lewmar crap sucks and when it blows up (it will) they don't give a shit.

 

Mumm 30's are forced to sail with Lewmar and, I promise, it SUCKS. Underbuilt cheap shitty stuff and I their lack of accountability and customer service means I look for every opportunity to talk about it.

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I think it will be worth to have a look at the Andersen winches. You can get this stainless steel winches with both electrical or hydraulic? power too. Not cheap but very much recommended by the heavy cruising guys over here in Germany and the scandinavian Countries.

 

All the best for a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year

 

Cheers from Berlin

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I would second the recommendation to check out the Andersen winches. Otherwise the Harkens win as equal products to Lewmar but Harken has the better customer service that just might come in handy if you need a part in a far away place.

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yupp.. I'll tripple the Andersen-recommendation..

nice stuff for what we do (day-cruising and beercans)

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when i started to setup as a retailer, there was no question in my mind that harken was the brand to carry. even as a boat owner, harken hands down.

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I have Andersen 40's and think they are the bomb, plus they look so good and Harkens drums start to look like shit.

(A little pricing info in case anyone cares) I got mine at cost plus 10% (the old West Marine employee discount) and they were about 600 bucks apiece. The Harkens were 480 and the Lewmars were 550. I had a choice and I do not regret my decision.

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1. Andersen -> IMHO, a superior winch; lightest weight, look great.

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2a. Harken -> Good customer service, currently most expensive.

2b. Lewmar -> OK product, usually a few bucks cheaper.

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Go with the Harken. You've had them before with no problems. Stick with what you know unless there is a compelling reason to change. I haven't heard the compelling reason in this thread.

 

You have your own experience with Harken and mostly good comments on this thread. Seems like less favorable response for Lewmar.

 

The Holmatro and Anderson have been recommended and both are probably good products (I have limited experience with Anderson and none with Holmatro), but if you do a Google search for them you won't find too many sources for parts in North America. Do the same for Harken and even Lewmar and you will find plenty of sources. You are in the US and you are going to have to buy spare parts eventually. If you are going to spend much time in Europe this might be a different story.

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Agree with the Anderson recommendation. Much lighter relative to the Aluminum winches than you would think and the power rib design works unreliably well, not to mention it does not wear on your rope like the knurled drums do on either Harken or Lewmar.

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Im not as big a fan of the Harken winches as everone else. We got them on the new 109 and they have been nothing but problems. They require tons of maintinance needing greese one a month the other boat I sail on has Lewmars and they need service one every 2 years.

 

The Harkens have also been eating lines like crazy, after 9 months we have allready replaced 2 jib sheets, a jib haylard, and the spin sheet set is up for replacement next season. Even after knocking down some of the texture it still leaves line fuzz on the deck. I think the texture on the drum is much easier on line on the Lewmar.

 

As for customer service Harken is defintely top notch, I have not had to deal with Lewmar because nothing has ever gone wrong! :P

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Go to a show and do the research. They are all at Chicago. Talk to a factory rep and see about the customer service. You'll see that people here who gripe usually wanted something for nothing...

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1. Andersen -> IMHO, a superior winch; lightest weight, look great.

.

.

.

.

.

.

2a. Harken -> Good customer service, currently most expensive.

2b. Lewmar -> OK product, usually a few bucks cheaper.

Agree with the Anderson recommendation. Much lighter relative to the Aluminum winches than you would think and the power rib design works unreliably well, not to mention it does not wear on your rope like the knurled drums do on either Harken or Lewmar.

I can't dispute the quality of the Andersons, but it has been stated twice so far in this thread that the Andersons are lighter than the Harkens. Quality is hard to quantify. Weight is not. I can provide some information regarding the weight.

 

These weights are comparing the weight of the Anderson vs the Harken. The results are listed from lightest to heaviest for each winch size that Russ Irwin is intending to use.

 

All of the Anderson winches labeled "below deck" are from their line of "compact" electric winches, but from the specs and description they provide it appears that they use a two speed motor connected to a single speed gear box. These winches may be single speed when under manual power. It is not clear from the web site. It is hard to imagine winches this size being single speed though.

 

The Harkens are available in aluminum or chromed bronze. The Andersons use a combination of stainless steel drums and aluminum-bronze internals.

 

70 (Since Anderson does not make a 70, the Anderson 68 and 72 are listed for comparison.)

Harken Aluminum 70.2STEV ------ 82.9 lbs

Harken Chrome 70.2STEV -------- 96.1 lbs

Anderson 72 STE (below deck) --- 96.3 lbs

Anderson 68 STE (below deck) --- 96.3 lbs

Anderson 72 STE.2-2 -------------- 106.9 lbs

Anderson 68 STE.2-2 -------------- 106.9 lbs

 

Note: All of the above winches have electric power in 2 speeds. The below listed Andersons have a single speed electric. Also, the Harken 70s are available in 3 speed and electric power is available in all 3 speeds. The weight for the 3 speed option is not available.

Anderson 72 STE.2-1 ------------ 93.7 lbs

Anderson 68 STE.2-1 ------------ 93.7 lbs

 

 

53 (Since Anderson does not make a 53, the Anderson 52 and 58 are listed for comparison.)

Harken Aluminum 53.2STEV -------- 59.1 lbs

Harken Chrome 53.2STEV ---------- 66.4 lbs

Anderson 52 STE (below deck) ----- 66.6 lbs

Anderson 52 STE.2-2 ---------------- 72.5 lbs

Anderson 58 STE (below deck) ----- 80.2 lbs

Anderson 58 STE.2-2 ---------------- 85.5 lbs

 

Note: All of the above winches have electric power in 2 speeds. The below listed Andersons have a single speed electric.

Anderson 52 STE.2-1 ---------- 58.9 lbs

Anderson 58 STE.2-1 ---------- 71.9 lbs

 

 

48 (Since Anderson does not make a 48, the Anderson 46 and 52 are listed for comparison.)

Anderson 46 STE (below deck) ---------- 41.9 lbs

Harken Aluminum 48 STEV -------------- 53.1 lbs

Harken Chrome 48 STEV ---------------- 58.4 lbs

Anderson 46 STE.2-2 --------------------- 65.3 lbs

Anderson 52 STE (below deck) ---------- 66.6 lbs

Anderson 52 STE.2-2 --------------------- 72.5 lbs

 

Note: All of the above winches have electric power in 2 speeds. The below listed Andersons have a single speed electric.

Anderson 46 STE.2-1 ----------- 51.6 lbs

Anderson 52 STE.2-1 ----------- 58.9 lbs

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I installed Antal as replacement winches for some old barients on my boat. I specced the Antal racing version, which are reasonably lighter than either the Anderson or Harken equivalent.

 

The antals look great, grip well and are a piece of cake to service. I would strongly recommend them.

 

I have not personally owned Harken or Anderson winches, and can not comment on those. I do have one single Lewmar winch and concur with the other posts here.... the build quality is a bit flimsy, and the engineering is something less than really percise.

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You pay for what you get,

 

Go Harken. If you plan to spend time short handed the reliability factor is out standing as you mentioned. I have had both Lewmar and Harken. Lewmar I love for engineering simplicity however the servicability is shithouse. Harken all the way

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Having to remove my Harken winches from the deck to clean them drivers me crazy. Definitely not impressed with Harken winches.

 

I'm not familiar with servicing harken winches. I hope youre joking,right? Please elaborate.

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Having to remove my Harken winches from the deck to clean them drivers me crazy. Definitely not impressed with Harken winches.

 

 

last time i checked you just removed the little ring thing at the top, and the whole drum lifts right off, nice easy access to its guts

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last time i checked you just removed the little ring thing at the top, and the whole drum lifts right off, nice easy access to its guts

 

The drum lifts off but you can't get at all the pawls and bearings on the two speed winches. Harken support is great and told that the winches were being redesigned. I can't service the winches without taking them off the deck my 2006 J109.

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Anderson winches are far superior to both Harken and Lewmar - with Lewmar being on the bottom.....

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The drum lifts off but you can't get at all the pawls and bearings on the two speed winches. Harken support is great and told that the winches were being redesigned. I can't service the winches without taking them off the deck my 2006 J109.

 

 

I'm not saying I'm happy with lewmar - i'm not, but I can't see how anyone could even consider using a winch that can't be fully serviced while still attached to the boat. If this is a Harken design problem, its a fatal one. If its a problem caused by J/boats placement of the winch on the j/109 (too close to cabin or some other structure, such as a deck molding, that prevents removal of gears) then i can understand it. I had to reposition deck hardwear (a cam cleat .75" too close) on my 105 to get full access to my port primary.

 

That said, we (unfortunately) have gotten very good at servicing our Lewmar winches between races. So much so that anyone on my core crew can completely break down, troubleshoot, clean and relube a winch in under 5 minutes. Thankfully they are easy to service! I have seriously rebuilt (major parts) these things 2X in 7 years and they need more work again. I completely service the winches 2 times a year and we still end of with at least 1 misbehaving winch a month (in a 45 race day per year program. The 105 has 44s as primaries and 30s as halyard winches. Most of the breakdown stem from cheap internal bronze pawl gears. Lewmar has finally come out with hardened parts (for the 44s only) for these at 2 and 3X the price of bronze but worth every penny. I understand that this only came about from repeated failures of the smallest pawl bearing gear. It got the attention of Lewmar as the Farr 40 uses the 44s as secondaries. Over the years Lewmar has struck me as the slowest at providing parts when distributors are out of stock.

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We have been happy with the Lewmar's, Approximatly same size boat as you are building (56'). There a fewer moving parts, and they seem require less service than the equivilent Harkens.

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The drum lifts off but you can't get at all the pawls and bearings on the two speed winches. Harken support is great and told that the winches were being redesigned. I can't service the winches without taking them off the deck my 2006 J109.

 

 

i just pulled apart 2 harkens a couple days ago with out any problem...

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i just pulled apart 2 harkens a couple days ago with out any problem...

They come apart no problem. I think the controversy is that there is one inaccessible bearing that requires lubrication. Here is a link to the manual for the Harken 44.2ST, it says "To reach interior shaft bearing, winch must be removed from deck."

 

I know a lot of people with Harken winches and I don't recall anyone removing the winch from the deck to do maintenance. My guess is that this bearing never gets lubricated. I'm wouldn't endorse this as a recommended practice but I'm not aware of any problems as a result.

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Im not as big a fan of the Harken winches as everone else. We got them on the new 109 and they have been nothing but problems. They require tons of maintinance needing greese one a month the other boat I sail on has Lewmars and they need service one every 2 years.

 

The Harkens have also been eating lines like crazy, after 9 months we have allready replaced 2 jib sheets, a jib haylard, and the spin sheet set is up for replacement next season. Even after knocking down some of the texture it still leaves line fuzz on the deck. I think the texture on the drum is much easier on line on the Lewmar.

 

As for customer service Harken is defintely top notch, I have not had to deal with Lewmar because nothing has ever gone wrong! :P

What kind of problems have you been having other than chewing up lines?

What is the symptom that makes you say they need grease once a month?

Other than grease, what parts have needed replacement due to damage or wear?

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Is anyone aware of any electric winches which are controlled through a NMEA2000 interface? <end hijack>

 

 

 

Don't think you would find any - think liability here when the nav system goes bonkers and somebody has their hand on a sheet............

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They come apart no problem. I think the controversy is that there is one inaccessible bearing that requires lubrication. Here is a link to the manual for the Harken 44.2ST, it says "To reach interior shaft bearing, winch must be removed from deck."

 

I know a lot of people with Harken winches and I don't recall anyone removing the winch from the deck to do maintenance. My guess is that this bearing never gets lubricated. I'm wouldn't endorse this as a recommended practice but I'm not aware of any problems as a result.

 

 

ive been staring at that for the past 10 minutes and for the life of me havent figured out what the interior shaft bearing is

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ive been staring at that for the past 10 minutes and for the life of me havent figured out what the interior shaft bearing is

STOP NOW -- Your wasting your time. I already wasted enough for all of us.

 

Its not on there. I wasn't able to find it either, just the reference in the written instructions.

 

The nearest I can figure, it's probably underneath the hump in the base (27804) where either the gear shaft (27816) or spindle (37676) inserts, or both.

 

I have two of these brand new in storage. I'm going to have to open the box and take a look now. I'll post photos.

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It looks like the bearing that they are referring to is bearing (726073) from the drawing. You must remove the Center Stem (37876) to get to it and just about everything else that needs to be cleaned, greased, and oiled. The center stem can be removed by removing 5 screws which can be done from the on-deck side of the winch.

 

The base 27804 does not need to be removed. This would would be a good thing because depending on the boat and where the winch is installed may require crawling into some small space or removing interior trim or headliner.

 

The screwdriver is pointing to one of the 5 screws that must be removed to access the internals

 

post-12296-1167434720_thumb.jpg

 

I'll post a pic of the bottom view in another post. They are too large to fit in a single post.

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Here is the second pic. Sorry for the quality, phone camera. The screwdriver is pointing at the base. Above and below the screwdriver are what I thought in post 36 might be the shaft bearings. Being able to look at the real thing instead of the drawing clarifies that this is not what they are talking about in the instructions when they say the winch must be removed to reach the interior shaft bearing.

 

post-12296-1167434911_thumb.jpg

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Harken is junk, they are just good at selling things.

Lewmar is even worse.

 

Andersen, you probably will never need spareparts anyway B)

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Harken is junk, they are just good at selling things.

Lewmar is even worse.

 

Andersen, you probably will never need spareparts anyway B)

 

 

I second the remark about not needing spareparts, but Andersen do have a world wide dealer network, not as big as Harken and Lewmar but its there. Order a service pack with the winches and that will properly be all the spareparts you will ever need.

If you go for the Full Stainless versions, you will not have the problems with the black plastic cap changing color after years under the sun.

 

The compact motors are not with single speed but with variable speed. its a different button, and the more you press it the quicker the motor moves.

 

There was some problems with the first variable speed motors they send on the market, but Andersen lived up to their name, and recalled all motors for free replacement, though the fault was only found on a few motors.

 

The drum grip is really good, and does not wear out the ropes as quick as other brands, and the selftailing grip on the rope is second to non...

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I like Lewmar for a few reasons:

Easy to Service (Save time & $)

Cheaper cost, parts cost less also, fewer parts.

You can still get parts for older designs and the standard design hasn't changed in years.

Customer support isn't superior, but buying critical spares ahead of time is a good idea for any boat.

Performance is good, and the drum grip is good, self tailer design good.

 

Harken has more friggin parts, most of them plastic, and the designs changed a lot over the years making it difficult to get spares for older winches.

It takes twice as long to service a Harken winch, and if it's a deck mounted smaller winch, it has to be unbolted from the deck for full service. I've made mounting plates for removal of these winches for race boats out of 3/8" or 5/16" aluminium, depending on the winch.

The drum line grip is poor, and the self tailers eventually bite the line and that plastic wedge fails.

Ever service a Harken 3-speed winch? If you have a pair of them it's an all day affair.

Lewmar 3-speeds can be seriviced in 1/4 of that time.

A good race boat will service the winches regularly, and the ability to open the Lewmar winch without tools is very accomodating. Harken winches need a screwdriver or allen wrench. Older Lewmar winches open with a knife to remove the circlip.

 

But if it were up to me I'd avise everyone to buy Harken, since I'm also in the winch service business... I make more money on Parts, and it takes more man hours.

 

On another note,

Anderson winches are great.

 

How about Maxwells?

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We've got six Lewmar 40st 2 speeds on the 'Wave. They're all 20+ years old and they still work great. We had to replace several pawls when Burnsy purchased the boat (the boat was pretty neglected), but haven't had any problems since. Maybe we're just lucky.

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We've got six Lewmar 40st 2 speeds on the 'Wave. They're all 20+ years old and they still work great. We had to replace several pawls when Burnsy purchased the boat (the boat was pretty neglected), but haven't had any problems since. Maybe we're just lucky.

 

 

 

 

I don't think your lucky. The standard self tailing winches are very robust. The only problems were with the racing versions as stated in a previous post, and I believe since the stainless pawl gear was introduced a few years ago, even those problems have trickled away..

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... I was servicing some 20 year old Lewmar Winches for a friend the other day. These winches hadn't bee serviced in a long time (probably 20 years! ) but still, I didn't need to replace a single part. Only needed grease and a bit of light oil...

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Hi Russ,

 

Both, Lewmar and Harken are very strong and reliable winches. A lot of the cruising and race/cruise sailboats out there come with Lewmar as an original equipment fropm the factory / boatyard. The Harken are more common to be found on racing boats. On either case here are the links to compare prices and more specific data:

 

Harken Winches

 

Lewmar Winches

 

Give us a call if need any other info.

 

Happy New Year!

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Its funny, so many people on here recomend Andersen winches. But you rarely see them in the US, at least where I sail. I have the only pair that I am aware of on our lake.

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Vote 1 Harken!

 

I think you will find that the Harken overall is a better package. A few years ago I did an in depth comparison Harken v Lewmar powered winches - just sifting through the mind dust - I think it was for electric?

 

The current draws compared with line speeds were much better (based on data from both catalogues at the time) and the weights were pretty similar.

 

I don't have the comparison anymore, but with a little bit of time and graph paper you can make a clear decision pretty quickly.

 

No question in my mind.. But then again, I might be biased!

 

Good luck with your choice..

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Guys,

 

It's pretty simple. Harken uses a higher factor when determining their safe working loads. As a result, Lewmars are always going to be a little smaller and cheaper than a Harken at the same published safe working load. This means that the Harken parts are not working as hard with a given load and they will last longer and work with less effort. This also means they will be more expensive to buy, but less expensive to own as you won't be repairing/replacing as often.

 

Andersons are bigger, heavier and more expensive for all the reasons I just gave you RE: Lewmar vs Harken.

 

T

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I can't dispute the quality of the Andersons, but it has been stated twice so far in this thread that the Andersons are lighter than the Harkens.

 

My statement regarding weight was in reference to non-powered winches. The SS Andersens were lighter than the equivalent H46A’s & 40A’s they replaced. As noted above, the Andersen ribbed drums are also much easier on sheets.

 

I love Harken gear—but they’ve been flogging those old Barbarossa’s forever. It was an easy way to get into the winch business (and some big boat hardware) at the time, but the 'consumer' grade winches have never seemed to be as good as the rest of their hardware.

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Anderson seems like a High Quality alternative. I'm not sure of their service level but I've never heard a bad word about their product. Lewmar has a quality product but the service is at best - questionable. Harken has excellent service but their winches are probably the weakest of the three listed here.

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SA is a great resource! Where else could I get so much experience focused on a question?

 

Overall the ranking seems to be:

 

Cost: Andersen, Harken, Lewmar

 

Quality / reliability: Andersen, Harken, Lewmar

 

Ease of service: Andersen, Lewmar, Harken

 

Support (in the US): Harken, Lewmar, Andersen

 

I've had very good reliability and support with our existing Harken winches (48's and 53's) and haven't found servicing them to be a big problem. In the interest of cost we're going to go with Harken.

 

Thanks for all the great input!

 

Russ

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SA is a great resource! Where else could I get so much experience focused on a question?

 

Overall the ranking seems to be:

 

Cost: Andersen, Harken, Lewmar

 

Quality / reliability: Andersen, Harken, Lewmar

 

Ease of service: Andersen, Lewmar, Harken

 

Support (in the US): Harken, Lewmar, Andersen

 

I've had very good reliability and support with our existing Harken winches (48's and 53's) and haven't found servicing them to be a big problem. In the interest of cost we're going to go with Harken.

 

Thanks for all the great input!

 

Russ

 

I think the discussion of support from Andersen in the US has been more speculatory than anything. The US importer is a company "Scandvik". I believe you will find they are very strong in customer service. I am sure their merchants can compare support from Andersen (Scandvik) and the other winch lines they sell. As far as I know, these are the Andersen "US Master Distributors":

 

Rigging Only, http://www.riggingonly.com 508-992-0434

Defender Industries, http://www.defender.com 860-701-3400

Fawcett Marine, http://www.fawcettboat.com 800-456-9151

Rigging Solutions, 508-496-5670

Fisheries Supply, http://www.fisheriessupply.com 800-426-6930

Svendosons, http://www.svendsensmarine.com 510-522-7860

Florida Rigging & Hydraulics, http://www.rigginghydraulics.com 800-718-1649

Mack Sails, 772-283-2306

Nance and Underwood, http://www.riggingandsails.com 954-764-6001

Sailor Man, http://sailorman.com 800-523-0772

Stix & Rigging, http://www.stixnrign.com 281-334-7849

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Having had both Harkens and Andersens, I understand now why X-Yachts uses Andersens routinely. The aluminum Harkens work well and are lighter than the SS Andersens comparing sames sizes. Pulling the 40s off the deck isn't that bad- the 48's have a base that stays on. But- the lines do get chewed and the Harkens seem to need more attention.

I think I miss the Andersens- they were bulletproof.

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