Posts Tagged 'ratchet block'

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.

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

mainsheet block stand-up spring

last summer, I upgraded from a swiveling fairlead and cleat to a ratcheting carbo block for my mainsheet.  the ratcheting carbo block (a Harken 2135) was/is a nice improvement – I like how the grooved edges of the sheave in the block grip the rope to ease the tension my hands/arms see from the sail pulling on the mainsheet.  I haven’t installed a cam cleat on the cockpit lip of my new Sunfish yet, though – the plastic trim on the cockpit lip is sort of in the way, so I haven’t decided what to do there yet.

I had originally bought a stand-up spring, but as I mentioned back in October:

it was ridiculously hard to compress the spring down and then to try to slowly feed the little split ring onto the pin holding the ratchet block in place

but, a few weeks ago I followed the advice of some posters from the Sunfish Forum, and used (2) zip-ties to slowly compress the stand-up spring (a Harken 071) so that I could install the ratchet block.  I also installed a spring cup (Harken HSB2) – which sits above the spring, and just below the base of the block. it’s about $2 for both the spring and spring cup, so a cheap upgrade.

for my sail on walled lake last week, I got to test out the ratchet block with the stand-up spring, and I must say – I am a big fan.  it works just fine, and will automatically rotate with the mainsheet when I change tacks.  there are a few times with really light wind where I’ll have to reach up and twist the block to the right direction, but overall it performed adequately.  I just wish I had installed the stand-up spring earlier now, as it keeps the block from flopping around and scratching up the surface of the deck.


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