When Tangleberry was ordered from the factory, I made one mistake. I should have ordered the optional electric halyard winch. To upgrade now would be extremely expensive. We tried a large Milwaukee drill as a way of powering the winches. It was a mixed success. It had enough power but was heavy and cumbersome to handle, recharged only on AC, and the charge didn’t last all that long. When new it would hoist a person up the mast in the Bosun’s chair, but when we tried that recently the battery died half way up. A new replacement Ni-Cad battery was no better. I don’t recommend this unit for the purpose, although it is a good drill.
I considered retrofitting an electric winch. Lewmar makes the most cost effective model, and my friend Pierre has installed one on his X-40. It was a lot of trouble to install, particularly attaching the motor as there was not enough clearance to get the mounting bolts in. He had to use allen head bolts and drill holes through the deck to tighten them. It looked to me as if I would have the same issues. The cost by the time it was all installed would likely be over $4000.
Instead I ordered a Winchrite Electric Winch handle. This was under $1000 CDN, 799 USD. It is more powerful than the drill, and has a better battery, Lithium Ion. It came with a fabric case and a cradle for storage. I haven’t decided where to mount the cradle yet.
The Winchrite is much smaller and lighter than the Milwaukee drill, weighing about 6 pounds. It is reversible so you can use either speed on two speed winches. It easily raises the main sail in the fastest gear.. The manual specifically says NOT to use it for raising a person in the Bosun’s chair but I’m pretty sure they are covering their legal butts! I actually think it is safer for this than an electric which because if it failed to stop you can just yank it off the winch.
It was able to send me (200 lb.) up the mast twice without recharging, and seemed to have plenty of power left.
The best use I found for it is furling the jib. Using the port sheet winch I can hold the Winchrite in my left hand and pay out the jib sheet with my right. Because of the steady pull it is very easy to get a smooth even furl.