Ideal for quick turns: the grinder pulls in the sheet at six times the speed
Does a cruising sailor need a winch with which the sheet can be tightened six times as quickly? Before testing the four-speed winches from the French newcomer Pontos, we would not have answered this question with an affirmative. But the effect is enormous: when turning or jibing with the grinder model, significantly fewer movements are required, and the maneuvers are easy and spectacularly quick, even with untrained crews. In contrast to previous models, no buttons or the like have to be pressed to change gears. Rather, the load on the sheet decides whether the second gear is followed by third gear or first gear again.
The 40 mm winch conveys 70 centimeters of sheet per crank turn in first gear. That's about as much as you would pull off by hand when pulling through. Only: There is no further handling of the sheet or the crank necessary, but it can be won through in one operation. This increases the speed so much that the accuracy is already tight if you expect to have to crank vigorously in the usual way. Side effect: With the hand movements, sources of error such as blown pods or overflows are eliminated.
The winch gears and pawls correspond to the tried and tested two-speed standard. Depending on the load on the sheet, a robust planetary stage switches in front of it
If cranking on the previous winches is too difficult, the French also have a solution: The Trimmer model does not convert the additional two gears into speed, but into force, so that even large genoas can be winched extremely easily. You can read in the current YACHT what else we noticed during the practical testing of the new fittings and how the technology inside the winches works. Issue 2/2015 is available from January 7th at the kiosk.