Pontos Trimmers on a Contest 38: “My quality of life was transformed by your winches”

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This year, John Ashworth fitted a pair of Pontos Trimmers to his Contest 38, which he sails in the Ionian. Recently he wrote to Pontos to let us know the difference the winches had made to his sailing.

John Ashworth

“Ihave now returned home from Greece after 8 weeks with the boat. Our sailing was delayed for technical reasons with the new engine installation (the suppliers, not the engineer), but finally we stopped playing and started using the new winches! The Greek summer was late in settling in June and we had some good breezy sails but not above 6/7’s (“the art of cruising is not to flog to windward” if you can avoid it, especially in one’s late seventies!). We had on board our usual mix of inexperienced  and/or ancient mariners on second shoulders or third hips, leaving the “grunting” to me as usual. But my quality of life was transformed by your winches; tacking and trimming once again became a sailing pleasure, instead of sweaty, superspinatal shoulder torture. I have returned home in good order, endorsing the performance of my Pontos winches to anyone who will listen. So there you have it –my  gamble in the dark of winter, talking with you and studying your tech. specs., to underwrite future sailing in “Morangie”, has paid off.

The feedback from my engineer who fitted them was that getting the old Enkes out was a struggle, due to a small bulkhead aft of the cave lockers, and some boltheads had been glassed in. Regarding the new fit, he commented that the winches had five bolt-holes but the template enclosed had six (this was said in passing whilst otherwise occupied so I failed to corroborate it – can do by e-mail if you wish). He had to fit them a couple of inches forward of the old Enkes because of the bulkhead, which resulted in the old 12” handles just fouling the bimini support when rigged; easily resolved by using 10” handles (I needed to replace one anyway, with a two-handed lightweight Lewmar handle for grand-children to use). In fact the Pontos 40’s are appreciably smaller than the Enkes; without talking to the previous owner who had “Morangie” from new, I suspect he over-specified the Enkes winches, knowing he would be sailing trans-Atlantic, using a 165% genoa. And so I also replaced the old sheets with new shorter 12mm as we have a Sanders 135% genoa (41.2 msq.) – that’s reduced the spaghetti in the cockpit too. I concluded that the 40’s are the right size for my purposes, but have stored the Enkes in case a future owner wanted bigger classic winches.

The winches performed exactly as specified and apart from the shiny new sheets slipping until they were run-in a bit we had no negatives. Obviously we have no feedback to offer on maintenance etc. I found the ratios and the auto click-over change of gear perfect, and to be able to indulge my sail- trimming pleasure (First Mate’s joke, as I’m sure most sailing husbands have to suffer) without strain was mind-blowing. I recommend your Trimmer without reservation to young and old, male and female – after all, you don’thave to use the lowest gear, except to “pump”, if you need speed and can manage the load, until the last important inch or so.

I enclose a photo off the Epirus coast, steering and trimming under full genoa in 18/20kts, no doubt G&T close to hand – that’s the life and long may it last – thank you!