The Dame Awards are the leisure marine industry’s equivalent to the Oscars, awarded every year at the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS), held in Amsterdam each November. They are awarded to recognise products that demonstrate excellence in design and innovation.
For the 2019 awards, French sailing hardware manufacturer Karver Systems entered two products into the ‘Deck equipment, sails and rigging’ category and came away with a remarkable double category win.
Their KCW Compact 45 winch AND their KWH Carbon winch handle impressed the judges so much that they gave them joint Gold medal position over the other 18 products in the category.
Karver KCW Compact 45 Winch
When you put the KCW Compact 45 winch next to equivalent sized winches in the market it doesn’t take long to work out that Karver has a unique and innovative product.
|Karver KCW Compact 45||Andersen 40||Harken Performa 40|
|Base Dia. (mm)||130||152||157|
|Drum Dia. (mm)||84||75||80|
|Power Ratio 1||6.05||8.9||13.5|
|Power Ratio 2||45||40||39.9|
The two-speed KCW 45 is a lightweight, compact unit with a very small footprint. However, it is its gear ratios that make it really stand out from the crowd. In its size range, it has the fastest first gear and then the most powerful second gear, making it a perfect halyard winch for any boat up to approx. 40ft.
The step change between the two gears is pronounced which doesn’t necessarily make it a good racing sheet winch. You can see from the Harken Performa gear ratios that they assume the crew can contribute plenty of their own power and speed to bring in the bulk of the sheet by hand before requiring the first speed, with medium power. Then there is a gentle transition to the full power for the final few inches. The cruising-orientated Andersen winch, on the other hand, provides more speed in gear one, assuming the crew will use the winch to bring in the bulk of the flogging sheet. It is then a significant step change to the maximum power which means it will take some time to bring in the last few feet of sheet to achieve full trim.
The KCW Compact Winch is therefore a real cruising winch but in a performance racing package. For any boat under 40ft which either races short-handed or with older crew members, it will beat any of the competition out there for a perfect cruising sheet winch. At the same time its compact size, lightweight and power make it the ideal coachroof halyard winch on any performance race boat.
Karver KWH Carbon Winch Handle
The KWH carbon winch handle on the other hand is an out and out racing product. Karver are a racing hardware manufacturer at heart. Working closely with the French offshore racing teams, every gram matters and weight reduction is at the heart of their design philosophy. Made of carbon fibre, the KWH is the lightest locking winch handle on the market. It also has a simple, lightweight locking mechanism that can be used either left or right handed, high performance stainless and ceramic bearings, and the ability to order custom handles with your boat name added to a veneer laid over the carbon. However, its weight alone was enough to put it in the joint pole position, with the KCW, in the 2019 Dame awards.
This double category winner award is a fantastic achievement for a company that has always stayed true to its mission to stay focused on technical performance, using new, highly designed, ultra-resistant textile materials. Congratulations Karver Systems!