Monthly Archives: July 2015

  • 74. Top Tips Tuesday - Pontos 4 Speed Winches - Getting Old (Like Me) But Can't Justify Electric Winches?

    Do you struggle (like me) to hoist the mainsail these days and also find that asking your wife or partner to winch in the genoa is met with that 'raised eyebrows look? What's the solution? Sail with a younger fitter crew member (might put the smile back on your partners face in more ways than one!) or go down the electric winches route which would be great, but at what cost to your wallet and the onboard electrical demand!
    Well you will be pleased to know that help is at hand with the Pontos range of winches. If you are a struggling crew member tasked with winching in the genoa, why not ask your skipper to consider changing to the Pontos Trimmer 4 speed winch. It features automatic low ratio gearing and, of course, with those two extra ratios it means that the effort required could be described as 'child's play'
    For the smaller yacht, or as a halyard winch, you could consider the 2 speed Compact. It's about the size of a 28 winch but with the power of a 45! Intelligent design has brought high line retrieval in first gear (twice the speed of a conventional winch) with exceptional power in second, just what the doctor ordered.
    Winch_COMPACT_1     Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.37.48
    If you’re an out and out racer the Grinder may well be the one for you to get one up over the opposition, two additional high gear ratios allow you to set up the sheet in the self tailer and just carry on winching even as the loads get greater!
    What about the expense I hear you cry, well just go onto E-Bay or Gumtree and see what elderly winches fetch!
    Testimonial from Finland-using a Trimmer 40

    Posted on 16th May 2015

    Simo  Brummer, who sails in Finland, has just installed a Trimmer 40 on his Jeanneau Gin Fizz. Totally unsolicited he decided to install only 1 of his winches in order to do a comparison with his Lewmar 44.3. This is his testimonial…


    I have replaced the starboard Lewmar 44.3 by a TRIMMER 40 and have been able to do a comparative test in 15 knots of wind. The fight against the tyrant, the genoa sheet , is over. The top gear power of 112 is not at all superfluous and guarantees the ability to bring in the sail in a civilised way whatever the conditions.

    My boat is moored on the pontoon reserved for the larger yachts ,that is to say those from 36 – 44 feet and I was able to talk with my fellow sailors whilst I was doing the installation. I explained to them that I was no longer able to grind in the genoa properly and that the biggest conventional winch that I could have installed was probably a size 50 and it would not have made any real difference. Many of them told me that they too face the same problem but they have solved it by using a jib instead of a genoa. Obviously that solution works but what a shame to sacrifice the light air performance of the boat by doing that.

    I don’t think that going electric is the right solution. If the boat was not designed up front to use electric winches the implementation will be awkward inelegant and very expensive.

    One of the peculiarities of the Gin Fizz cockpit is the ability to operate the winches from a standing position and thereby use both hands. That means that I can often do the job in second gear (40). However, to truly flatten the genoa I have to move into top gear (112). The ratio 112/40 between the top gear and the pump gear is well chosen. I have noticed the reduction in friction and therefore the improvement in performance.

    I feel justified in concluding that the era of the 2 speed winch is over and that it is only with extra gears that a family crew can operate properly a boat over 30 feet.

    I have a few more modifications to make to my installations before filming a comparison between the Trimmer 4O and the Lewmar 44.3 but I can’t wait to get rid of my port Lewmar.”

  • 73. Top Tips Tuesday - Back and Bum Ache - Boat Cushions

    RSS 63-04 34g Ryton

    At the tender age of twelve (which was an awfully long time ago) I used to crew a National 12 in the Tynemouth Sailing Club’s winter series sailed at Ryton Willows on the river Tyne. As it was in the days before wetsuits, never mind drysuits, cold/windy weather gear for me consisted of thick woollen garments topped off with a Norwegian oiled wool sweater, for buoyancy it was an Army and Navy store used RAF Mae West lifejacket. Ten years on when I was racing International 14’s and as an ‘Olympic hopeful’ I was campaigning Keith Musto’s Flying Dutchman, to increase our heavy air performance, both crew and I wore heavy jackets, now of course banned. Whether it was the cold of those early days that did the damage, the weight jackets or maybe it’s the years I have spent hunched over a cutting bench or sewing machine in the sail loft who knows, but for more years than I care to remember I have suffered from the occasional bout of backache. Regular trips to the bone cruncher do help but when cruising it’s great to have a little bit of back support and a soft cushion under the bum! If you are a keen racer, sitting on the windward rail and facing outwards, a little padding to cushion your chest does make life a little bit more bearable!

    Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 10.24.58

    Should you fancy some custom made cockpit cushions and backrests our sail loft is at your disposable to help ease the pain, image is of stern cushions and backrests manufactured using acrylic canvas that matched the sprayhood they are ‘filled’ with reticulated foam that allows any water to drain straight through and the base is mesh, means if they do get wet there is no need to carefully dry.


    Boat Cushions

  • 72. Top Tips Tuesday - Seabung Just Got Even Better!

    Last year, on February the 21st to be precise, I wrote in my 'Top Tips Tuesday' blog how I thought the Seabung breach control was so good that it was worth five out of five! Well the good news is that Seabung just got even better with the introduction to the market of a retainer for Seabung that will, should the need arise, allow you to get back to your berth/destination at a reasonable speed with your Seabung in place.

         Seabung and new bung insert       Seabung and new bung insert _02

    Please note however that some of the our customers who purchased the first batches of Seabung were concerned about the ‘3 year’ shelf life. Seabung have now removed this altogether confirming the product will not deteriorate with age – unlike your blogger!

  • 71. Top Tips Tuesday - I'm A Sucker For These Le Chameau Marine Boots


    Many, many years ago I had a pair of 'posh' Musto wellies, showing my age again as it was a long while before breathable boots came on the scene. The beauty of these boots was that they had a brilliant sole pattern and gave outstanding grip on all dry and wet surfaces including teak, glass fibre, painted steel, glazed deck hatches and if one was climbing a mast, well absolutely brilliant in helping the winch man as you could really 'push' with your feet to gain height! It was a sad day when, for whatever reason, they were discontinued! The other week I came down from the sail loft to find that 'young' Andy, my long suffering business partner, had given short shrift to a 'shoe salesman' (his mortal sin... he hadn’t made an appointment) and of course it was the height of our seven day a week/twelve hour day silly season) Fortunately Jim the Midlands and Northern England Sales Manager of Le Chameau had managed to hand Andy a copy of his company’s brochure before he departed with a flea in his ear. That night I flicked through the Le Chameau catalogue and just before I despatched it to the bin,  before my eyes was that sole pattern that I had fallen in love with all those years ago. The Le Chameau Marine sole has been developed with the brother of sailing legend Eric Tabarly.

    bcb1163-0546-1_5     bcb1163-0546-3@2x

    Avid readers of my blog, once again you can enjoy the benefits of the superb grip that I rave about, this time in a hand built (see video) natural rubber sailing boot which offers long term waterproofness for difficult coastal and offshore conditions, used and abused by superstar French sailing legends such as François Gabart - winner of the Vendée Globe race. And to top it off these superb sailing boots come with a two year guarantee.

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