Award-Winning Four-Speed Winches Simplify Sailing and Boost Performance

Pontos Americas Logo
July 13, 2015

For Immediate Release    |   July 13, 2015

Miami, Florida—Innovative four-speed winches are enhancing life aboard race boats and other sailboats, thanks to Pontos Americas. The new four-speed winches from Pontos look like any conventional two-speed winch, but packed inside the same drum size are twice the number of gears, exponentially increasing the impact of each crank of the winch handle. The Pontos Americas Grinder four-speed winch offers tantalizing speed when sheeting or furling. The Trimmer four-speed winch supplies three times the hauling power of a conventional winch, reducing effort for the sailor. In addition to these revolutionary winches, Pontos Americas also offers the Compact Winch, a powerful two-geared solution for smaller sailboats (35 feet and under).

Pontos four-speed self-tailing winches won the Sail Magazine Pittman award for innovation at the Fall 2014 Annapolis Boatshow, and have been adopted by top racers around the world, including nine skippers in the 2014 Route de Rhum. Sebastien Rogues, Class 40 winner of the 2013 Route du Rhum, commented: “Pontos four-speed winches make a big difference.” Loick Peyron, who has Pontos winches on his multihull Happy, remarked, “Pontos has reinvented winch technology.”

Pontos four-speed winches revolutionize the winch operation by use of a clutch and trigger mechanism that allows seamless—and intuitive, with a simple change of direction in the winch handle--engagement of the two extra gears. The patented trigger mechanism moves up and down in the drum housing to engage the clutch; as load decreases the clutch automatically moves back down. This clutch system provides two additional speeds. In the Grinder those additional gears provide faster line handling; in the Trimmer more gears provide more line-handling power for the same winch size.

The Grinder speeds up the tack—and allows almost hands-free tacking—making it a boon for racers (the first haul on the handle brings 2.5 times the amount of line of a conventional winch). The Trimmer four-speed gearing mechanism provides added leverage—when the winch senses tension it automatically moves into third gear, the ultra-power gear that reduces effort by 50% while doubling the torque—reducing effort, meaning with a Pontos Trimmer anyone can trim and fine-tune even the largest sails aboard.

The Compact winch offers more power and speed by means of an improved two-gear mechanism. First gear on the Compact hauls in line twice as fast as a conventional two-speed winch; reversing direction on the winch handle drops it into second gear, which boasts the hauling power of a 45 winch. The Compact packs a lots of advantages--light weight (just under 8 lbs.), small footprint (just over 5 inches, equal to a 28), a working load of 1,870 lbs. that matches that of the others’ 40 winches, and the hauling power of a 45—increasing sailing performance and comfort.

Pontos winches are efficient and compact--changing the whole paradigm of winch selection. The usual sizing charts are no longer the only guide when choosing a winch. Now sailors can ask themselves do I want a winch for faster speed and performance, or is ease of operation more important? The choice is as individual as the boat. And the Pontos winches, since they are 100% mechanical, add no drain to a boat’s energy budget. Nor do they add any extra weight or demand any greater space on deck. 

Once you stop to think about it, the idea seems so obvious—why not an improved, higher geared sailboat winch? In fact, you begin to wonder what took the sailing industry so long. Yet the Pontos winches do follow a welcomed trend—making life aboard easier. The Pontos Americas innovative winches join the ranks of the roller fuller and the asymmetrical spinnaker—improving the sailing experience and broadening possibilities for sailors.

U.S. sailors have embraced the winches, taking home line honors to prove their worth. With a first place in Class B of the 2015 Marion-to-Bermuda Race Pontos Americas winched-boats are setting a new standard. One Antigua Race week sailor using the Pontos Grinders on his foiling catamaran observed: “The Pontos four-speed winches are the best I have ever used, bar none. The four speeds work flawlessly, and the high-speed low gear is unbelievable. It removes that awkward transition from hand-pulling to grinding….They are exceptional.”

Sailing families and couples are finding life aboard simpler and easier, too, with the Pontos winches. A couple aboard a Jeanneau 45 in blustery San Francisco Bay commented: “The Pontos [Trimmer 46] works as advertised: we were in 20 – 25 knots on Sunday and my wife could easily trim the main.” Another sailor commented: “...the era of the two-speed winch is over; it is only with extra gears that a family crew can properly operate a boat over 30 feet.”

Pontos Americas, headquartered in Miami, Florida, was founded and is staffed by veteran racers, sailors, sail makers, and marine equipment experts. Winches are in stock and available for shipment. 

FMI—Contact Molly Mulhern,; 207-975-2876

Photos and videos are available.  See our  press page.