The Pontos Story
Co-founders Michel Chenon and Darryl Spurling started Pontos with the needs of today’s sailors in mind: “It’s the user that interests us, to bring a solution to the sailor, not just his boat.” They knew the traditional reason for changing winches was because they stopped working…now they have changed the game and created winches that can be selected because they improve comfort and performance aboard the boat.
The Origins of the Pontos Winches
After a tight-tacking, hair-raising episode in the narrow straits of Bréhat—the winch was too physically demanding for the inexperienced crew just when the nearby rock required top-notch performance--the two combined their resources to address the critical needs often felt aboard a sailboat. Curiously, despite the fact that the winch is one of the key pieces of equipment on a sailboat—it can do a lot to keep you off the rocks--it has barely changed over the years. Chenon and Spurling founded Pontos and decided to completely rethink the winch, starting with an in-depth analysis of customer requirements: more power with less effort for some, more speed and efficiency for others. In both cases the quest for performance and safety was paramount.
The results of three years of work by the R&D team are the most significant advances in winch design in more than a generation.
So from the shores of St. Malo, France, home to many yacht racers, comes the Pontos line of winches, which débuted in 2014 and won quick acceptance and high praise by elite racers as well as the cruising community.
Continuous Development, High-Quality Research, and Precision Manufacturing
Early in their work Chenon and Spurling decided to focus on exceptional R&D that teamed materials laboratories and testing with the world’s fastest ocean racers to assure that Pontos Winches underwent thorough onboard trials and met high development standards.
Quality control is a top importance in the Pontos facilities in Saint Malo, France, with component parts coming from top-notch specialists. Pontos winches are manufactured in collaboration with Tekno, a high-precision firm in Italy. Tekno has a long tradition of precision winch manufacture—they made the Barbarossa winches.
Michel and Darryl have recently teamed up with Peter Meyer, with 25 years experience in the sailing market, to continue to bring Pontos Winches to the world’s sailors.
Pontos is now represented by an extensive global distribution chain, including Pontos Americas.
Pontos Winches for the Americas
Pontos Americas is staffed by knowledgeable sailors with decades of sales and marketing experience in the marine industry. Winches are in stock in Miami.
Pontos Americas Crew
Bernie Blum, Managing Partner, Pontos Americas, knows a smart idea when he sees one. Racer, singlehander, and confirmed sailing addict Blum has faced many of the challenges of all sailors: race crew who can’t quite get that tack down fast enough; sailing friends aboard for the afternoon who don’t have the strength to sheet in the main; the exhaustion and adrenaline rush of a singlehanded race where cranking on the jib sheet takes every ounce of strength after a sleepless night. Bernie started sailing at ten, cruised the U.S. East Coast from the Tortugas to Roque Island (Maine), Cuba, the Caribbean from Trinidad to Puerto Rico, as well as northern Europe, the Mediterranean and British Columbia. Raced one design (J27, T-10) and handicap-offshore races. Bernie founded Container Yachts, an innovative approach to getting your boat to join you for cruising far afield.
Mark Wood, Manager, Sales and Distribution, Pontos Americas is a sailmaker and owner of UK Sailmakers, Miami. With over forty years of sailmaking and racing and cruising support for Florida, the Caribbean and South America Mark knows the importance of a swift tack and fast sheeting.
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