Posts Tagged 'mainsheet'

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.

 

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.

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.

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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