Posts Tagged 'Ronstan'

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

 

 

 

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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?

 

man at sea [video]

this is an interesting video by Alfred Dunhill, a “portrait of achievement”, this time highlighting sailing.  the video features Iain Percy, an Olympic champion and America’s Cup sailor from England.

… sometimes I just have to admit: our sport, and my passion, sometimes comes down to luck…

HT: @Ronstan_Crew

Video Source: Alfred Dunhill

et ego in Arcadia – Sunday

here’s the first day from our week vacation up at Camp Arcadia.  most of the post will be about Sunday’s activities, but technically the family week vacations up at Camp Arcadia are usually Saturday afternoon to the following Saturday afternoon.  the first day thus usually involves some frantic last-minute packing to get on the road ASAP, then a roughly 4-hour drive to get up to camp. here’s my Sunfish rigged up for the road, with a couple of the boys’ bikes riding along with my Sunfish PVC dolly.

after the long drive to Camp, the rest of Saturday is spent settling into the cottage, eating our first dinner at camp, and then watching the Talent Show by the Camp staff – mostly introductions, a few legitimate talent exhibits like singing or playing an instrument, and a mix of silly skits.

Sunday starts with a buffet breakfast, and then a short walk out of Camp and into the small town of Arcadia to Trinity Lutheran Church, a great historic church at 130+ years old.  it’s been a family tradition while driving into Arcadia on Saturday afternoon to see who can be the first to spot the steeple poking above the trees.

after the church service, we walked back to our cottage, and I started getting my Sunfish ready to take to the beach.  I used my Sunfish PVC dolly to roll it down some sidewalks and then the sand to the beach, and lugged all the extra gear down on a 2nd trip, and then headed to the dining room to have some of the buffet lunch before heading out to sail.  my youngest son (4 yrs old) was pretty geeked as usual to sail – he had his little sailing outfit on and everything, and was hanging around trying to help get it ready to sail.

it was a cooler day, and the water temperature was pretty cold, so I had a few layers on to make sure I stayed warm if I was to fall out or tip over.  on a day like this, I like to wear my Ronstan long sleeve rashguard underneath my shorty wetsuit.  and this year my new piece of gear is some NRS wetsocks from REI.  I really like all 3 of these pieces of gear – the wetsocks are a nice addition, as I have to wade in the water a bit to get the final rigging done, and then get the Sunfish started sailing.  the only disadvantage is that I can often get pretty warm if it is sunny and I’m not getting splashed with water (or falling out of the boat!).

the wind was fairly calm out of the south/southwest that afternoon, and the water was pretty flat, so it was a nice and easy sail across the Lake Michigan water.  on my first tack back towards shore, I could see my 11-yr old son T2 wading out in the water towards me, so I swung close and picked him up (and then gave him my life jacket because he didn’t bring one with him!).

while sailing with him, I sat to one side, and gave him both the tiller extension and the mainsheet – so he was in full control of the sailboat.  it was neat to see him learning how little adjustments to one or the other would affect the course we were sailing.  he also LOVED to hook his feet under the hiking strap, and lean so far back that his head touched the water!

after sailing with him for a little bit, I then gave rides on the Sunfish to both of my other sons, as well as several of my nephews, and a little girl who had been watching from the beach.  my oldest son T2 had switched over to the stand-up paddleboard that the camp owns – he spent a TON of time out on that, and was able to stand and paddle way out into Lake Michigan, often with one of his cousins riding along.  I only have this picture of him kneeling on it, but most of the time he was standing up.

while we were sailing, other members of my family took out the ocean kayaks, the rowboat, and the stand-up paddleboard – both adults and kids taking turns on each of them.  all in all, a great afternoon of messing about on the waters of Lake Michigan.  a couple of the kids took turning burying themselves in the warm sand on the beach.

then, they all joined together to bury their newest uncle and decorate him with beach toys.

I did end up missing the wine tasting that afternoon that was presented by Left Foot Charley, a local winery that is run by a previous staff member from Camp Arcadia.  after the awesome afternoon on the beach, it was time for dinner on the patio – amazing pulled pork sandwiches.


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