Maurice Owens is a singlehanded sailor, who has been happily living aboard “Old Possum”,his Nauticat 33, for the last 15 years,regularly sailing in the Solent and along the South and East coasts of the UK.
In September he is 93 years old.
Yachting Monthly featured him in their September 2015 edition. “Sailing with Britain’s oldest solo skipper”, and he appears in a Youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar5QTbEVpe8
In this video he described his life aboard and his sailing, mentioning that the most difficult aspect for him was winching the genoa.
However, earlier this summer he read about Pontos four-speed winches in a sailing magazine and quickly decided that they were for him. Supply and fitting were arranged through YouBoat of Gosport, and the original 2-speed Size 30 winches were replaced with a pair of Pontos Trimmer 40s.
After he had been using them for several weeks, I went to see Maurice on “Old Possum” to find out how he had got on with the four speed winches.
Maurice is a small and agile man, with a ready smile and a real enthusiasm for his life as a liveaboard
His Nauticat 33, a ketch rigged motor-sailer, is very well suited to his needs. Substantially built, with a fine wheelhouse and good heating, she makes a cosy and well-ordered home, but one that is regularly taken to sea. All the sail controls lead back to the outside steering position on the aft deck. The two Pontos winches for the headsail are mounted on the aft of the coachhouse roof, within easy reach of the helmsman, and where they can also be used for the in-mast furling mainsail.
Maurice was very pleased with the transformation that the Pontos Trimmer winches had made to his sailing
“The biggest difference is in speed, I suppose. Even though I still feel fairly strong, there is a real difference between the old winches I was using and the new ones.
I used to have to make a tremendous effort to get the genny in. To my way of thinking, the genny wasn’t coming in far enough…..I couldn’t bring the winch handle round. I now find that I am doing that quite efficiently….I’m not kidding! In fact I couldn’t believe it at first! I hadn’t had an “ooh- aah” to get the genny round and in. It was just in!”