Jonty Pearce visited the Pontos stand at the 2015 Southampton International Boat Show. A respected regular contributor to Yachting Monthly, he was initially interested in the power and ease of the Pontos Trimmer because he and his wife had been researching different ways that she (at 8 stone) might be able to recover him (at 20stone) from the water. With increasing problems from an arthritis shoulder, they purchased a pair of Pontos Trimmer 40s for their Southerly 105 and have used them now for a few months.
Jonty recently sent us the following feature which he submitted for the “Tried and Tested” gear review section of Yachting Monthly. This was published in the July issue of the magazine.
We were delighted that Jonty rated his Pontos Trimmers at 10/10
“Winching in the 130% genoa on our Southerly 105 was beginning to hurt – I had long suspected that I should have opted for the next size up when I replaced the original Lewmar 30’s with a pair of Lewmar 40ST winches. Increasing shoulder arthritis meant that the strongest crew member (me) was beginning to suffer getting in the final foot of genoa sheet after tacking.
It was time to look for a solution, but I am not a fan of electric winches. When electricity and sea water come into contact there can be a sulphurous scent of malfunction and unreliability, usually just when you need it most. However, advancing years enforce many of us into upgrades in order to lengthen our sailing careers. Until now there has been no real alternative to electric genoa winches – until Pontos came on the scene with their clever 4 speed models.
The winch exterior looks similar to their competitors, but internally a clever dog clutch clicks into place under load to engage a lower (easier) pair of gears. In practice, this gives 112.9:1 rather than (in
my case) a 40:1 purchase – enough power to enable a 12 year old to be able to wind in the genoa, releasing far more power with less effort than even the 45 size winches I had previously envied. With no load, the winch defaults to its 11.6:1 gearing. When it gets a little harder, reverse the direction of winding to the next gear down – 40:1. The cunning part comes when the dog clutch engages with a soft ‘clunk’. The choice is then to continue to wind in the existing gear, or to reverse the winding direction again to engage 4th gear – 112.9:1. This brings in the sheet at a mere 1.4 cm per turn, so you might choose to reverse again to 3rd gear – now 32.7:1, or to continue in 4th with minimum effort until the sheet is fully in. The winch will stay at this gearing point until the load is taken off, releasing the dog clutch to engage the higher (harder) pair of gears again. It all works intuitively and superbly.
Some might worry about the level of complication with more than two gears, but in reality everybody starts winding in the highest gear, reversing the winch handle direction when the going gets hard. With the Pontos winches, the second reversal of direction engages the ultra-powerful gear, thus avoiding any discomfort from my shoulder. In practice, I do not even notice when the dog clutch engages, and I rarely use the third gear. Release the tension, and the winch clutch reverts to the highest gear again without conscious thought.
Fitting the winches was straight forward, although the holes did not match the Lewmar ones. I sold the (still excellent) Lewmar 40’s on an auction site for £975 to offset the upgrade cost.
The Trimmer is available in sizes 40, 46, and 52, and Pontos also offers other ranges of winches.”