What is the Power Assist Winch?
The simplest, most efficient shortcut to understanding the Power Assist Winch (PAW) is to watch the five minute video presentation that can be found throughout this website (and immediately to the right of this text). If you are unable to do so, read on!
Simply put, the Power Assist Winch (PAW) is the future of sailing. But, to understand what it is, one must first be familiar with the basic idea of the sailing winch. (Those already familiar with existing winch technology may safely skip down to the next paragraph.) The sailing winch is a spool/crank combo used for pulling in and letting out a rope (or sheet). Manipulating (trimming) the sails with a sailing winch is one of the fundamental ways a sailor controls speed and navigation. Traditionally, operating a winch could be a cumbersome, time-consuming proposition, oftentimes requiring sheer, brute force. In recent years, the laborious task of trimming has been somewhat mitigated by the introduction of the electric winch. Though less exhausting, the electric winch still requires two hands for operation: one to press and hold down a button, the other to apply tension to the sheet. For sailors, the dream of simultaneous, intuitive control over trim and steering remains just that: a dream.
Enter the Power Assist Winch. The PAW represents a clear improvement over the existing electric winch. All that’s required to activate the winch is a simple pull to the end of the sheet. No matter the tension in the line, the same, minimal, initial tug will activate the trim. To stop tightening the sheet, one simply stops pulling. Sailors can then cleat off or let the line out as easily as before. By eliminating the need to leave the helm to press and hold down a button, the PAW ably facilitates single-handed sailing. From a single perch behind the helm, a sailor can now trim while performing a tack or jibe. Additionally, sailors can now activate a trim from anywhere in their vessel (provided they maintain a fingertip grip on the sheet).
Currently, the PAW exists in prototype form. However, it is our intention to implement Power Assist Winch technology in currently-existing electric winches. With its power, durability, ease of operation, and clear advantage over the existing technology, we believe the PAW will become the new standard in sailing. But, don't take our word for it! Take a few minutes to explore the site. Watch our video presentation, learn how the winch works, find out where it stands, and, of course, feel free to ask us any questions.