Posts Tagged 'harken'

harken red blocks

Harken is celebrating 50 years in business this year, and is offering a unique twist on their traditional 57mm blocks by adding a bit of color: bright red sheaves.

you can find them at various Harken dealers and of course at APS.

you can enter for a chance to win a 57mm carbo ratchet block from the Harken blockheads here.

the Harken 2135 is my go-to choice for a mainsheet block for a Sunfish, although I only have the old boring black versions…

sunfish mainsheet controls upgrade

I’ve written several posts in the past about upgrading to a Sunfish mainsheet ratchet block and the associated rigging to control your mainsheet.

six years ago, I said the following, and I still believe it to be true:

I really enjoy playing the mainsheet through the ratchet block, and enjoy how the sheave on the ratchet block grips the mainsheet, so that the amount of pull I see is reduced, helping to keep my hands and arms from tiring as quickly.  I also like that this setup will force me to focus more on the sail trim, instead of just using my old setup to set it and then forget it.  I’d highly recommend this upgrade to other Sunfish sailors.

the Harken 2135 ratchet block, in particular, has grooved edges on the inside of the sheave.  these grooves help to “grip” the line and reduce the amount of line pull by a factor of up to 10:1.  so if the sail is pulling with 100 lbs, your hands gripping the mainsheet could see a reduced load, maybe as little as 10 lbs.  over a long day of sailing, this will be significant!

part numbers and such are strewn along between the various blog posts, so I wanted to pull everything together in one place with a nice summary parts list and I made a labeled diagram to show what parts go where.  the picture is from our Minifish, but a similar setup is what I use on my Sunfish as well.

mainsheet cleat parts list

here is the parts list (while most of these parts are available at most Sunfish suppliers, I have the links all directed to Dieball Sailing.  you can find the same part numbers at your preferred or local supplier as well):

  • Harken 2135 ratchet block (link)
  • a cheaper ratchet block option is the Holt Nautos block, via Intensity Sails (link)
  • Harken 150 cam cleat (link)
  • Spring Cup HSB2 (link)
  • Stand up spring H071 (link)
  • Eyestrap, LP91100 or H137 (link)
  • Stainless steel fasteners (I use machine screws, with a large flat washer and a nylon locking nut on the interior of the boat)

all told, you’re looking at an upgrade in the $70 to $100 range (depending on which ratchet block you pick).

if your Sunfish was a barn find or a cheap pick off of craigslist, this might be a lot compared to the price of your boat, but trust me: you’ll be happy with the upgrade if your current Sunfish setup only has the old “knee-knocker” hook at the lip of the cockpit.

upgrades for a Minifish

the recent addition of a Minifish to our fleet required some minor upgrades to make it a little bit easier for my boys to sail. typically with an older Sunfish style boat, it is almost always a good idea to get rid of the old style of mainsheet control, a snub-nosed hook on the wall of the cockpit.

a few recommended upgrades to consider (in no specific order):

  1. a mainsheet ratchet block
  2. a cleat for the mainsheet
  3. a mast cleat
  4. a hiking strap
  5. a tiller extension

our Minifish already had a decent hiking strap, but the other upgrades should be simple enough.

the mast cleat is a horn cleat, screwed onto the mast a couple feet above the deck.  I typically use stainless steel screws, with small pilot holes drilled into the mast.  a small dab of 3m 4200 or caulk helps seal everything up.  the mast cleat allows the majority of the tension on the halyard (the line holding up the sail) to be resisted by the strong aluminum mast, and more importantly – it doesn’t put that very large tension force on the fiberglass deck of the boat.  important note: you should still run the tail of the halyard down through the fairlead on the deck and cleat off the line.  this will prevent the entire sail/mast/booms from falling away from the boat if you do end up tipping over and turtling the boat.

minifish mast cleat_2

the mainsheet controls (a ratchet block and a cam cleat) are a little bit trickier to install on a Minifish, as the cockpit is a bit different style of construction than a Sunfish – there is not a cockpit lip that gives easy access to the underside of the fiberglass at that location.  so you will have to install an inspection port somewhere in close proximity to where you’ll be placing your mainsheet controls. I chose to cut mine in on the deck, off to the side of the daggerboard slot. depending on where you cut the deck, you may run into some of the flotation foam blocks that stiffen the deck – removing a small portion to give you access should not be a concern.

minifish port_2

for the mainsheet ratchet block, I bought a Holt Nautos 57mm block from Intensity Sails.  add a stand-up spring and an eyestrap, and screw it down through the deck – some larger fender washers below the deck are a good idea to help spread out the load.

minifish mainsheet block_2

on the front edge of the cockpit, I install a cam cleat, a Harken H150, in the same location where the old snub-nosed hook used to be.  I like this location for a cam cleat, as it is not really practical to cleat off the mainsheet while hiking out and sailing with decent winds.  but in a lighter breeze, it does give you the option to cleat the mainsheet and grab a drink or just float along one those calmer days.

minifish cleat

lastly, I replaced the old wooden tiller extension with a Ronstan Battlestick.  theses newer tiller extensions have a rubber universal joint – which allows for more degrees of freedom while holding the tiller extension.  the old wooden ones just fastened to the tiller with a single bolt, only really allowing left/right movement.

minifish tiller ext

all told, there are mostly easy and simple upgrades that will make a Minifish (or similarly for a Sunfish) a much nicer sailing experience!

and the end result? happy boys sailing the Minifish!

Noah minifish

 

 

 

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?

 

harken h150

I was just browsing online for some new rigging to get for the Minifish that I bought in November, and came across a nice little video that Annapolis Performance Sailing just created that talks about the Harken H150 cam cleat and some of the accessories you can pair with the H150.

the H150 is a great little cam cleat that I have used before with my Sunfish if I want the option to cleat the mainsheet.  my setup includes a Harken carbo ratcheting block – the 57mm H2135 on a stand-up spring – that controls the tension on the mainsheet.  I mounted the H150 cam cleat on the turned down lip around the cockpit of the Sunfish.  the picture below is before I installed the stand-up spring, but shows the H150 mounted on the cockpit lip.

Img0187_072

this position is important for a few reasons: it keeps the cam cleat mostly out of the way, and it makes it fairly difficult to reach that far into the middle of the boat to cleat off the mainsheet when you are hiked out in a stiff breeze.  some sailors/racers like to install a cleat on each side of the cockpit near the outer edge of the Sunfish, but these can hurt your legs if you ever are hiked out and forward enough that they get in the way.

the reason to avoid cleating off your mainsheet in a medium to high strength winds is that you lose the ability to quickly spill the sails if you are hit with a quick puff of breeze.  it is recommended to learn to sail with the mainsheet always in your hand, controlling the sail and making minor adjustments with the wind.  if you were hit with a large gust of wind with the mainsheet cleated, it could cause you to flip your Sunfish and take an impromptu swim!

a note for newer Sunfish with the rolled gunwales – the cockpit trim makes it difficult to install the H150 on the cockpit lip.  you might be able to figure something out, but with my newer Sunfish, I just installed the H2135 and the standup spring, and skipped the cam cleat.  either option works!

Img0213_019 mainsheet block

HT: APS Stern Scoop blog

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.


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