Posts Tagged 'halyard'

10% off orders at APS

APS has a quick promotion going on right now for Sunfish sailors – 10% off on orders over $100, from now until August 15, 2017.

Sunfish parts can be found here.  might be the perfect time to upgrade your Sunfish lines package, and maybe get a Harken ratchet block and the other various parts for your mainsheet block upgrade.


sailing supplies

I was trying to organize my basement shop, and had my sailing supplies in 3 or 4 different boxes.  I decided to organize them a little better, but before I did that – I laid most of it all out on one of my workbenches.

sailing supplies

there is a little bit of everything there: an old rudder head that needs to be cleaned up.  a pair of old tiller straps that have been polished up to look almost like new. a new tiller extension (a Ronstan Battlestick). bailers, old and new.  sail rings, old and new.  inspection ports. new lines – a mainsheet, halyard, outhaul and cunningham.  cleats – cam and clam. two options for Sunfish mainsheet control – a new ratchet block and an old swiveling fairlead and cleat. eyestraps, standup springs, hiking straps.  Interlux varnish, West System epoxy stuff, and the remains of my 2-part expanding foam (use to reset my foam blocks).

anything else I should add to my collection?


two are better than one

the Sunfish Class has voted to allow the use of 2 halyard lines, and an additional line for a Jens rig – all to allow for a more simplified method of depowering the Sunfish sail for heavy winds (official release).  it is often beneficial for lighter sailors, who don’t have as much body mass to balance the heavier wind forces on the sail (and hence the reason I’ve never had to use it…).

here are some of the specific rule changes.

3.7.2 One or two halyards may be used. Halyards may be of any length and diameter. The running end of one halyard may be used to create a boom vang and/or to pull the boom out in light air. A single purchase loop may be tied in each halyard to help draw the halyard tight, provided the sail can be quickly lowered in an emergency.

3.7.3 A rig to lower the point at which the upper spar lies against the mast (known as the “Jens Hookansen Rig‟)may be tied with an extra piece of line used solely for that purpose. The rig must be tied in such a way that the sail can be lowered quickly and easily by releasing the halyard(s).

here is a bit more information on the Jens rig (via MSYC blog):

A Jens rig, named after Jens Hookanson who used it in winning the 1976 Sunfish North American Championship (at age 16!), lowers the point at which the upper spar is attached to the mast. This leaves more of the upper spar unsupported. In heavier winds, the upper spar can bend more, twisting the leech and “spilling” air. Since the upper part of the sail is depowered, it is easier to hold the boat flat without easing the sail out. Therefore pointing is not sacrificed.

here is an excellent video (about 10 minutes long) with demonstration of the “Gust Adjust” – a class legal version of the Jens halyard setup for your Sunfish rigging.

Greg Gust also just won the Sunfish International Masters earlier this week – I think he knows what he’s doing!

sunfish rigging knots

here is a quick refresher on how to tie the knots required for rigging your Sunfish.

Basic Rigging

the halyard connects to the upper boom with a clove hitch:

the halyard should be led through the deck fairlead and then tied off to the deck horn cleat using a cleat hitch:

if your mainsheet does not have a snap clip on the end of it, then you can tie the end of the mainsheet to the bridle at the back end of your Sunfish with the very useful bowline knot:

after passing the mainsheet through the (2) boom blocks on the lower boom, feed the mainsheet through your mainsheet ratchet block (or similar).  as a safety measure, you should then tie a stopper knot into the end of your mainsheet.  I like to use a figure 8 stopper knot:

as an alternative, you could also use an Ashley stopper knot (as recommended by Shoreline Sailboats):

all of these knots (and more) are detailed at Animated  Knots.


if you don’t have a ratchet block for your mainsheet, I would highly recommend one.  I’ve been using a Harken 2135, and it is a very nice system for controlling your mainsheet.

Img0213_019 mainsheet block

for additional information on rigging your Sunfish, see my compilation of various Sunfish rigging guides.

upgrading Sunfish lines

if you are in the market for new lines for your Sunfish, there are a plethora of options to choose from at the various Sunfish parts suppliers, as well as by calling your local sail shop, or even going down to the nearest hardware store to find some cheap line.

while the hardware store line is probably your cheapest option, the difficulty is usually that any line you find there will most likely not be low-stretch line, and the line could also absorb water when you are sailing – making it heavier and harder to handle.  neither of those things are deal-breakers for a recreational sailor, but your time of the water will probably be improved by getting sailing line instead.

the Sunfish halyard in a Flemish coil for O’Docker

the Sunfish manufacturer, Laser Performance, has some “official” line kits available at Sunfish dealers.  there is both a recreational ($83) and pro level ($134!) line kits that come with all the lines you could want and need, all pre-cut to the proper length and with the optimized line type for each line use on the Sunfish.  these “official” line kits are rather expensive, though, and there are some better and cheaper options out there.

there is also the Sunfish “Tune-a-Fish Kit“, which includes the standard lines for your Sunfish, but also a hiking strap, plastic sail clips, and a tiller extension universal… all packaged in a cute little cooler with a Sunfish logo.  the kit comes in at a pretty steep $130, though.

Sunfish Tune-A-Fish kit

Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS) also has their own custom line kits: a pro/racing line kit ($~95) and a recreational line kit ($~45).  the recreational line package is a pretty good deal — I actually bought this line kit last year – and have been very happy with it.  the APS website also shows the approximate line lengths, diameters, and types of line you might consider for each line if you want to buy them individually.

if you are a purely recreational sailor, though, and have found an older Sunfish to start sailing, you might be better off just buying the line individually.  there are the (2) basic control lines – the mainsheet for adjusting sail trim, and the halyard to raise and lower the sail.  a 3rd line to consider is a piece of shock cord, sometimes called a JC strap – to act as a daggerboard retainer.  this shock cord, if long enough, can also be run from the daggerboard up to the tack of the sail (where the 2 booms meet) and back – this will then double as both a daggerboard retainer, and will also help to hold your sail out when sailing downwind in light air.

Intensity Sails has some pretty inexpensive choices for these lines: the mainsheet is Bzzz Line available in 7mm or 8mm diameters ($25) and the halyard is 24 feet of 5mm line ($20).

a final line choice is if you want to switch away from the plastic sail clips to sail ties.  I bought a small pre-cut kit last year and switched my new Sunfish sail to the sail ties. the colored line on the right-hand side is the outhaul line that connects to the boom end-cap.

for the future, though, for probably both the sail ties and maybe even the outhauls, I am planning to buy this spool of 1.8mm line from Intensity Sails.  at 100-ft of line, it’s probably more than a typical sailor might need, but I don’t mind having enough to switch over several sails to the sail ties. the 100-ft spool should be enough for 3 full Sunfish sails.

for more information on Sunfish rigging, check out my list of Sunfish rigging guides.

I also went into detail on how I set up my new Sunfish sail (w/pictures).

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