Posts Tagged 'rigging'

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

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how to rig a Sunfish [video]

here is an another video on how to rig, or set up, your Sunfish so that it is ready to sail.  this video was created by Carolina State Parks – it looks like Sunfish are available to use at Lake Norman Community Sailing.

they give the following steps:

  • Securing the Drain Plugs
  • Attaching the Rudder
  • Attach and Hoist the Mainsail
  • Rigging the Mainsheet
  • Rigging the Daggerboard

I’ve posted other videos and various topics previously on how to rig your Sunfish.

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.

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

 

 

 

invitation?

a friend from the Reef Warriors blog contacted me to see if I knew anything about this sailboat:

invitation

apparently, they have one that has been more or less abandoned near where they sail, and he’s wondering if any one can help figure out more details about it – and maybe where to find some spare parts.

the sailboat is an Invitation class, which with a bit of googling turned up some of the following results:

my guess is parts would be hard to find.  is it similar enough to a Laser? Maybe parts could be sort of interchangeable – and Laser parts would be MUCH easier to find.

anyone else have any comments or tips? I’m not sure how you could find parts, other than maybe getting lucky on ebay or craigslist.

 

rigging a Sunfish sailboat [video]

this is an excellent video that shows how to rig your Sunfish sailboat. it was created by Steve King of North Shore Yacht Club in Highland Park, Illinois. North Shore Yacht Club sails on Lake Michigan and has a fleet of 17 Sunfish. Steve mentioned to me in an email that the really nice thing about having a standard rigging for the club is that it keeps all the boats setup the same, and it keeps the storage area neat if all the sails are put away the same way.

there are some really good tips & tricks in the video – I don’t use all the same rigging settings, but most are very similar. the slipknot that he ties into the halyard to give a 2:1 purchase for raising up the sail is a great idea.

for more tips on how to rig your Sunfish, see my post with various Sunfish rigging guides.


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