Posts Tagged 'mainsheet ratchet block'

sailing log: October Sunfish sailing

right now it is cold and drizzling rain outside – the kind of weather where you just want to sit inside with the fireplace crackling and have a football game on the TV. but during the early part of October, we had some incredible warm weather days – and one weekend when T2 was home from college for the weekend, he and I took a short drive to sail a bit on Sunday afternoon at nearby Ford Lake. windfinder was predicting wind speeds in the mid-teens and air temps were in the low 80’s.

there were a couple boats out on the lake, but the boat ramp was pretty empty, so we just pulled up our trailer near the ramp, used the PVC dolly to take the Minifish and Sunfish down to the water and rigged up the sails. T2 set off sailing first while I finished getting my Sunfish set up, but I followed him towards the southeast end of the lake – it almost seemed like we had the lake entirely to ourselves.

we both turned around and ran with the wind at our backs for a long stretch, following the lake up towards the northwest. I cut my run shorter than T2 – he elected to go all the way around the small island in the lake. after that we zig-zagged back upwind, tacking back and forth making our way back towards the boat ramp. at one point, I saw a bald eagle soaring along the lake’s coastline! I’ve never seen a bald eagle this far south in Michigan.

I got a nice shot of my newer Allen ratchet block in action, with a gybe-ho sticker on display on my daggerboard.

I recently updated my everyday watch (I broke the glass screen on my apple watch), so opted this time for a Garmin GPS watch, the Garmin Forerunner 55. overall, I’m loving it – the GPS feature for tracking activities like hiking, biking, etc is fantastic, and the Garmin Connect app is really amazing. and the battery lift is amazing – I can go days, even weeks w/o charging, can sleep with the watch on so that it tracks my sleep patterns, where with the apple watch I had to charge almost every night.

for sailing, I select “other” as the activity on the watch itself, wait for it to sync with GPS, and then hit “go” to track the sailing activity. after completing the sailing and syncing the watch with the Connect app, you can then go into the activity and edit the type from “other” to “sailing”, and it will update the data to show speed in knots and total distance sailed in nautical miles.

is that little switch to knots and nautical miles necessary? no… but I like it. not sure that the calorie count is all that accurate for this activity, though…

usually my September and October weekends are pretty booked with kid’s soccer games and yardwork and house projects, and the weather doesn’t usually cooperate either – so I’m not sure I’ve sailed much past the 1st or 2nd weekend of September very much, and I’m 100% certain I’ve never sailed my Sunfish in October before. it was a great day for it, though, and I’m really glad that T2 and I took advantage of the Indian summer weather to get out on the water one last time for the year.

how to upgrade a used Sunfish sailboat [video]

Lee Montes has been hard at work putting together some great Sunfish sailing videos recently. I wanted to share this one – “how to upgrade a used Sunfish sailboat” – with some of my thoughts on his list of recommended items.

Lee recommends the follow items to upgrade your used Sunfish [with my thoughts in brackets]

  1. mainsheet hangers [my2fish: zip-ties are a really cheap and simple option for mainsheet hangers]
  2. dry out your boat [my2fish: install an inspection port and a cheap fan like a muffin pan, PC fan]
  3. gooseneck quick release [my2fish: agreed, but Intensity Sails doesn’t offer them anymore… need to find a new supplier]
  4. universal tiller joint (and tiller extension) [my2fish: agreed, this is a great improvment]
  5. daggerboard retaining line (bungee cord) [my2fish: agreed, I’d recommend a new line kit]
  6. trucker’s hitch or slipknot for halyard [my2fish: install a mast cleat]
  7. Seitch or Dynamic dolly [my2fish: our build your own PVC dolly]

I added my thoughts behind each item above, but a couple others I’d recommend as good upgrades to improve your Sunfish sailing experience:

  1. mainsheet ratchet block (my preferred setup) makes sailing the Sunfish so much fun and easier to maintain your grip on the mainsheet
  2. new racing cut sail from Intensity Sails ~$150 (this sail is not “class legal” but for rec sailors is such a good upgrade)
  3. mast cleat (mentioned above, important to minimize the tension force on the halyard cleat on the deck)
  4. new line kit (mentioned above, well worth the $50 or so for all new control lines)

I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my photos slipped into Lee’s video – showing my older Sunfish stored at my dad’s barn (at the 1:21 mark of the video).

Allen ratchet block for mainsheet

I recently installed a new Allen 60mm ratchet block on my Sunfish. the Allen Pro-Ratchet 60 (A2160WAVE) is a selectable ratchet, 60mm size, with Allen’s new wave sheave.

The NEW wave ratchet offers 20 to 40%* more grip without adding any additional wear to the rope.

The most effective way to increase friction is to add sharp edges to the ratchet sheave, but this quickly deteriorates and wears away the rope. So, after working alongside leading rope manufacturers the Allen design team came up with a simple solution which improves grip without chewing away at your expensive rope.

The Wave Ratchet sheave has an offset V style grip, made from a hard-wearing recycled plastic nylon, which does not have sharp edges that will eat into the rope. Instead, by adjusting the V formation in the sheave to be slightly offset, the ratchet now grips the rope at additional points around the sheave, resulting in more grip. However, the new Wave Ratchet not only improves grip but as a result of the design it also allows for a less ‘jumpy’ feel when easing the sheets.

img_1387

I’ve posted previously on my Sunfish mainsheet controls upgrades (ratchet block, spring, etc.), now I’ve now just opted to try this new ratchet block.

I moved the Harken 2135 over to our Minifish.

here is a pic of both blocks – the Allen 60mm and the Harken 57mm 2135.

I used the zip-tie trick to compress the stand-up spring again, such a simple and clever trick makes install of the mainsheet block so much easier.

Tillerman over at Proper Course (and now blogging about his RS Aero at Aerobian) a while back posted a snapshot from his RS Aero instructions that details this zip tie trick quite well:

ins & outs of ratchet blocks

here is another really cool video by Harken to visually demonstrate how their ratchet blocks work to reduce the load that your hands see for holding lines that are trimmed often (so your mainsheet on a Sunfish, and spinnakers or jibs & other lines on other sailboats).

they use a load cell (or load indicator) on the line going to his hand to show the load reduction that occurs with a ratchet block.  a key note: the load required to trim (or pull your sail in) is the same as without the ratchet system, but the load required to ease or hold the line is reduced (quite a bit) due to the ratchet block mechanism (a combination of the “stopped” sheave and the grooves that increase friction).

Sunfish sailors often use one of the following blocks for their mainsheet control:

I’ve traditionally used the 2135 (shown here on my mainsheet controls upgrade post), as it is usually cheaper, and the switch is usually easy enough to reach if I wanted to release the ratchet mechanism to allow the line to run freely.

Harken blocks: ratchet vs. ratchamatic

Harken has put together a nice video that explains the difference between a ratchet block and a ratchamatic block.

the main difference is that the ratchamatic blocks are load-sensing and have a “ratchet that instantly engages when a predetermined load is reached. When unloaded, the ratchet pawl seamlessly disengages to allow the sheet to run out instantly during mark roundings and jibes. The Ratchamatic allows lightly-loaded sheets to run freely in both directions for fingertip control” (source: Harken Q&A)

Sunfish sailors often use one of the following blocks for their mainsheet control:

I’ve traditionally used the 2135 (shown here on my mainsheet controls upgrade post), as it is usually cheaper, and the switch is usually easy enough to reach if I wanted to release the ratchet mechanism to allow the line to run freely. for a Sunfish sailor looking to race, the 2625 might be a better option as it will let the mainsheet out easier when your time spent changing tacks could make the difference in a race.

h/t: @harken

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.

 


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