Finally, after a good seventeen years of heavy use, our GRCS has grown weary to a degree that I decided to replace it and ordered a new one. Well, actually, when I say replace… I actually mean that we will still be using it as a second lowering device when and where necessary.
I am really impressed by the pounding these devices stand up to. After all this time, yes, the device is starting to look a bit worse for the wear, but apart from a couple of bent bits, the winch is actually perfectly serviceable.
The other point that struck me is how Greg’s strategy of keeping the product the same, apart from a couple of fairly minor tweaks makes a lot of sense. It makes for a consistent product, a device you are deeply familiar with and could handle in your sleep (no, I am not suggesting you rig whilst sleeping, this is not advisable).
So why the GRCS? Since Greg introduced his device, a number of other people have developed lowering devices – Reg Coates, Steven Iblings, Andrea Trentini, to mention but a few – which you see widely used in the industry today. All of these devices have their justifications and uses, it is really up to every team to assess which one suits their needs best. Put it this way, the market has definitively become more complex than the decision which lowering device to buy back in 2000, which was essentially choosing between the Hobbs and the GRCS. Back to today, GRCS happens to suit our needs, based upon the type of rigging we do, well.
Is this kind of device indispensable?
In my opinion a simple lowering bollard is hard to beat for straight-forward rigging in terms of value for money. You cannot help but love them for all their simplicity, ease of set up, intuitive in use – yet step away from simple rigging to anything more complex where you are lifting loads, and yes, a lowering device with an integrated winch becomes indispensable. It certainly changed the way I view rigging. And most of the time, I find that what we use it for most is pre-tensioning lines, eliminating the elongation, allowing you bring pieces around much further on the hinge wood than you would otherwise. But also when using load-transfer systems, drifting or lifting loads, I regard this kind of device as a highly versatile tool.
So there you go… the serial number on our original GRCS was 145, the new one’s is 3140… I wonder how many tons of wood no. 145 handled over the years?!