Posts Tagged 'sunfish rigging'

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.

North Shore Yacht Club video

this is an excellent promo video for North Shore Yacht Club in Highland Park, Illinois (a northern suburb of Chicago).

NSYC

the club has a large fleet of Sunfish sailboats, also races Buccaneers, and has kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for it’s members to use as well.

this video was produced by Steve King, a member of NSYC – he also made this excellent video on “rigging a Sunfish sailboat“.

storing Sunfish sails with a chain sinnet knot

a handy method for organizing your Sunfish sail with the booms and mast after you are finished sailing for the day is to tie the whole lot together using a chain sinnet (or monkey braid).

make sense? probably not by just watching that simple video, so of course, a little bit more explanation will probably help.

1st – make sure your sail is dry.  if you have to put away your sail wet, make sure you unroll it ASAP and let it dry to prevent mildew from forming on the sail.

2nd – position the 2 booms (or spars) together. I also usually just leave the mast in the gooseneck, and rotate it down so that the mast is parallel with the booms.  pull the sail away from the booms and mast, and start to slowly – and loosely – roll the sail up towards the booms.  IMPORTANT: do NOT roll the sail around the booms, as you are more likely to damage the sail that way.

3rd – use both your halyard and mainsheet to tie a chain sinnet knot that wraps around and loosely secures the rolled up sail and the booms and mast.  I usually start with the mainsheet, with it pulled all the way so that the pulley that connects with the traveler is tight against the end boom block.  so my mainsheet chain sinnet starts at about the mid-point (at the forward boom block), and I tie the chain sinnet knot towards the tack of the sail (and base of the mast).  then, with the halyard, I’ll tie again the chain sinnet knot, working the opposite direction.

if some pictures would help, the Lansing Sailing Club has put together a pretty nice step-by-step pictorial – check it out here. an example picture is below.

SailTie5-s

 

working my way from the  using the halyard

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

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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