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Situated in Sydney, Australia, THE AUSTRALIAN YACHT WINCH CO is a family company, owned by the Hutton family and managed by myself for the past 25 years.
Our primary products, ARCO yacht winches and ORCA windlasses for sail and power boats, are designed and engineered at our premises by a close knit team, where each member has had extensive experience in research, product development and manufacture of yacht winches.
That experience started way back in the mid sixties, when Malcolm Barlow first started to build BARLOW winches in a small garage in Sydney. Even though, or maybe because of the uncanny resemblance of those early winches to the American manufactured BARIENT winches, they have stood the test of time.
In those early days, money and technology was not available to manufacture today's high tech tooling. So major components were sand cast from wooden pattern almost exclusively in manganese bronze. As weight in those days was of little concern, and we, quite frankly, did not have a clue on how to calculate minimum design requirements, we opted for the safe way - the bigger and heavier the better. To this day we are servicing winches from that early area, and we have never encountered a winch that could not be brought into service again. This has served us as an important lesson in the value of solid engineering.
Throughout the subsequent years, everyone of our team has in some way been involved in many major developments in our industry, i.e. the introduction of the self-tailing winch systems, forged and injection moulded plastic componentry, die casting processes and three-speed winches. The list goes on.
Many of those innovations have revolutionized the industry. Others, driven by the demand for ever lighter and more powerful winches, were on the cutting edge of technology.
Inevitably, costly mistakes were made. In those hectic years, many winch manufacturers engaged in a frantic search for innovations. We have seen everything except square winch drums.
Some of the so-called advances in technology have added little to the reliability of winches, rather, they were embraced to aid mass production at a lower cost.
It is of some regret from our perspective, that, for instance, plastic winch components have become an acceptable alternative to metal. While those parts are inexpensive to replace, it is of little comfort to a crew stuck out in the ocean hundreds of miles from the nearest ship chandlery.
THE AUSTRALIAN YACHT WINCH CO has, in accordance with our primary goal, stuck by the original concept to manufacture winches that are reliable, efficient, easy to service and match in presentation and style the best on offer on today's market.
We believe that today's ARCO and ORCA winches are a very successful and desirable blend of old fashioned engineering integrity, combined with the style that enhances the deck layouts of modern sail and power boats.