REEL 50m Wreck Reel
A winder-reel is so simple, you could make one for yourself. Not so long ago, the first part of learning to use one the British Sub-Aqua Club way included the use of a jig-saw and drill!
     Then some clever-clogs invented a ready-made winder-reel and British divers had to find some other project with which to while away long winter evenings between diving seasons. Now many models are on the market, yet visit your local dive-store and you will probably be offered a choice of one.
     So winder-reels still occupy that twilight zone between home-made and proprietary kit. You can buy a ready-made one, but if you want one like the one you saw that geezer using last week, you should have asked him where he got it from or else be prepared to do some detective work.
     This reel from Kent Tooling & Components is a case in point. It must use materials and manufacturing so labour-intensive that there is no way the company can afford to build a proper marketing budget into its costings, so it relies on word-of-mouth to get noticed.
     It is solidly constructed from marine-grade 316 stainless steel in a heavy gauge (2mm). It comes with 50m of fluorescent plaited line on a 9cm drum, with an adjustable friction device on its spindle and a handy-size crank. An L-shaped handle or bracket is bolted on to its chassis, which might not be very nice to hold in an ungloved hand but allows it to integrate with other bits of kit.
     There is nothing as exotically complex as a ratchet mechanism. A heavyweight stainless-steel bolt-snap completes the picture.
     The reel is constructed using locking nuts and bolts rather than any welding. The Mechanical Millennium did not exactly dawn the day it was conceived, but it does appear to be very strong. The handle proved exceedingly uncomfortable to grip while winding in the line, however, and I tended to knock my knuckles on the centre knob in the process.
     Many years ago I tried another reel for Diver Tests. I took it as far afield as the Solomon Islands and reported it as being extremely rugged. After the test was published, I was packing it to send back to its manufacturer when I dropped it on the office floor.
     To my horror, one end parted from its spool and 50m of neatly wound line turned itself into a pile of unravellable spaghetti before my eyes.
     So I made a point of bouncing Kents model, and did so hard enough to bend it rather than break it. I can report that, if you buy one, it should last you longer than your stainless-steel kitchen sink.
     The 50m Wreck Reel is one of a number of similar products available and costs £55.
  • W Kent Tooling & Components 01227 372997

  • Divernet Divernet
    + Durable
    + Simple

    - Lacking in innovation
    - No ratchet