Trailer winches let you pull your boat onto the trailer while it’s on an inclined launching ramp. Winches are mounted on a dedicated winch stand on
the trailer tongue, on the support for the bow stop or on the trailer’s hitch ball using an adapter plate. A reel or spool holds 20-50 feet of
cable, rope or webbing, and has a snap at the bitter end. With the snap clipped onto the bow eye of the boat, the winch operator can either crank
the boat onto the trailer or allow the boat to slide backwards into the water at a controlled rate.
Manual vs. electric winches
Hand-cranked manual winches multiply your strength, allowing you to pull a relatively heavy boat against gravity and friction. They also have a
ratchet to hold the boat at any point on the trailer so it doesn’t slide back into the water, allowing a normal person to retrieve a boat weighing
over a ton, using a crank about a foot long and simple gearing. Larger models have a lower gear ratio to multiply your strength even more and two
speeds for extra power.