Posts Tagged 'torresen marine'

torresen marine: 2013 spring thaw open house

this coming Saturday, March 9th, Torresen Marine in Muskegon, Michigan will be holding their annual “Spring Thaw Open House”:

…a day full of fun, educational seminars, manufacturer representatives, new products, refreshments, special pricing and door prizes.


there will be several vendors and manufacturers at the event – Harken and Interlux to name a few – with most offering sales and/or discounts on their products. it is interesting to note that Laser Performance – the Sunfish & Laser manufacturer –  is not on the list of organizations that will be in attendance (although Torresen is an authorized LP dealer).

a few different seminars are available as well – “Do It Yourself Blister Repair & Prevention”, presented by Interlux sounds pretty interesting.

I’d like to make it, but it’s a long drive across Michigan to Muskegon – and I’ve got a full Saturday of clearing brush and chopping down trees planned.


spring thaw at Torresen Marine

this Saturday, March 12th, Torresen Marine in Muskegon, Michigan is holding their “spring thaw” event.

the event will feature several seminars during the course of the day:

  • 9:00 a.m. Fog, Lightning & Great Lake Storms – Capt. Jack Klang of Quantum Sails
  • 10:30 a.m. Blister Repair & Prevention – Kevin Kyle of Interlux Yacht Finishes
  • 11:30 a.m. Introduction to NOAA in Muskegon: Science, Charting, Forecasts & Operations – Dennis Donahue
  • 12:30 p.m. New & Current Product Line-up – Jeff Fink of Raymarine
  • 1:30 p.m. What’s Happening at GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute? – Amanda Syers
  • 2:30 p.m. Successful Application & Maintenance of Performance Coatings – Bob Harris of Pettit Paint
  • 3:30 p.m. Ten Sailing Skills Every Wife Should Know (Husbands welcome & encouraged) – Capt. Jack Klang of Quantum Sails

I’m probably not going to drive all the way across the state for it, but it does look interesting.  there should be several suppliers on site, including representatives from Laser Performance, Harken, and Interlux.

that weekend, they will also be offering a sale on Laser and Sunfish sailboats – $300 off a 2011 model.

sunfish mainsheet block update

early this spring, I laid out my plans to upgrade to a Sunfish mainsheet block for controlling/holding the mainsheet, as my current setup on the Sunfish left a little to be desired (but was better than nothing on my Super Porpoise).  here is the picture of my old set-up, a swiveling fairlead with a cam cleat to hold the mainsheet if I wanted.  I also had the old hook on the cockpit edge (the really old method used to hook the mainsheet and relieve the tension you had to hold with).

my original plan was based on a few posts over at the Sunfish Forum that recommended trying to use a low-profile swiveling cam cleat and modify it with an eyestrap and stand-up spring, and then add your mainsheet ratchet block of choice — similar to this diagram below:

but, the more I looked at the diagram, and thought about how this system would work, I couldn’t wrap my brain around something: after I fed the mainsheet through the ratchet block, and then the through the little strap over the cam cleat, I didn’t think I would be able to really take advantage of the ratcheting action of the mainsheet block.  turns out my suspicions were correct as noted here – scroll down to comment #38 on this post over at the Sunfish Forum.

I decided I’d instead go with a simpler and slightly cheaper route: I would just remove the old swiveling cam cleat, and install an eyestrap on the deck.  the mainsheet ratchet block would then connect to the eyestrap.  then, to give myself the option to cleat the lines in light air or similar situations, I removed the old hook, and added a standard cam cleat.  for my setup, I used the Harken 2135 57mm ratcheting carbo block and the Harken 150 cam cleat.

here is a picture of what the ratchet block looks like with the mainsheet running up to the sail, and the other end of the line held in your hand (picture is simulated – I didn’t want to set up the whole rig, so my 9-yr old son was just holding both lines up in the air).

here is a picture with the mainsheet fed through the ratchet block and then cleated in the Harken cam cleat, with a stopper knot tied in the end of the mainsheet.

I had also bought a stand-up spring that would keep the ratchet block standing upright, and prevent it from bouncing around on the Sunfish deck, but honestly – 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 (in fact, I never did get it fully installed).  after talking a bit with other sailors at the Sunfish Forum – some have had success using zip-ties or something of that nature to compress the spring, then install the ratchet block, and then cut off the zip-ties.  most of them leave the ratchet block on permanently, though, and I wanted to be able to easily and quickly install mine before sailing and then remove it after sailing so that I wasn’t trailering the boat with the ratchet block flopping around.  so as of right now, I will probably skip the stand-up spring, but keep it in case I figure out a way to cover/protect the ratchet block while I’m trailering the boat.

overall, I’m extremely happy with the setup I have now.  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.

sunfish mast upgrades

this spring (and sadly now dragging well into the summer) I have spent some time working on repairs and upgrades to my Sunfish sailboat, and a little bit as well for the Super Porpoise sailboat (slowly trying to cross things off my parts list). here is a picture of the old system on my Sunfish (similar set up for the Super Porpoise):

last fall, I had bought a new mast lower base cap and mast top cap with the integrated fairlead from Torresen Marine, but I hadn’t had a chance to install them yet.  I went ahead and ordered another set of mast caps from The Sailboat Garage to upgrade my Super Porpoise mast at the same time.  I also order 2 horn cleats (a much cheaper nylon cleat can be found via Intensity Sails) to install on the mast – this new horn cleat will allow me to tie the halyard tight after I’ve raised the sail, and reduce the uplift forces on the fairlead on the Sunfish deck.  you still need to run the halyard through the fairlead, and tie it off to the horn cleat on the deck, though, as this will prevent the whole rig from slipping out if you capsize and “turtle” your boat.  I also ordered a couple tubes of 3M 4200 marine sealant from Intensity Sails, and bought a rivet gun on sale for $3 at Harbor Freight.

so here’s my installation gear (the table saw is not required… it just served as my workshop “table”):

I’m not sure if it was because of the age of my Sunfish, or if the mast has experienced some damage at the base after years of use (and abuse?), but it did not come with a mast base cap, and the new one I bought would not fit at all.  it almost seemed like maybe the base was necked down just slightly at the base causing the too tight fit.  I spent several random nights using a utility knife to slowly whittle small pieces of plastic off around the perimeter of the base cap, occasionally using sandpaper as well to smooth it out some.  finally, on the last day, I dug out a rough wood rasp, and that seemed to shave off pieces a little more easily and I could shape it a little better.  I also used a curved metal rasp to smooth out the inside of the mast base.  after all of that, I was finally able to get the mast base cap into the Sunfish mast.  the mast top cap also fit very snugly at the Sunfish mast, but wasn’t nearly as difficult to get it to fit.  thankfully, both of the caps fit quite easily into the Super Porpoise mast, without any shaping or sanding required. you’ll notice in the picture below that the Sunfish mast (on the left) still has the cork plug in it – these used to be factory installed to help with flotation (I think), but have since been discontinued as an option.  I just left it in, but did pull some that was in worse condition out of the bottom of the Super Porpoise mast.

the mast caps came with varying sizes of pop rivets, and it seemed only 1 pop rivet per cap.  the rivet gun I bought came with (4) sizes of (25) rivets each, so I opted to install the mast lower base caps with just the (1) supplied rivet each, but then used (2) of my own rivets per cap for the upper caps.  I smeared some 3M 4200 marine sealant around each of the caps prior to installing them, as well as a small dab of sealant on each pop rivet.

here are the mast lower base caps installed:

and here are the mast top caps with fairlead (the masts now have extra holes from the through-bolts used previously – I might try to fill the holes with JB Weld or some other epoxy to seal up the mast):

for the mast cleats, I installed them just below the limit allowed by the Sunfish Class (max height for the cleat is 48″ from the base of the mast).  I used the blue masking tape to mark off the 48″ limit.  I used the 3M 4200 sealant behind the cleat, and fastened it on with #10 stainless steel sheet metal screws – I had to pre-drill the mast with small pilot holes.

so, other than the mast caps not fitting nicely to start out with, this should normally be an easy repair, is relatively inexpensive, should last me for quite a long time, and will be a definite upgrade.  additionally, by adding the horn cleat, you reduce the uplift force on the deck, which should help.  also, since my mast didn’t have a lower base cap, my mast well is probably going to be more likely to have wear spots and potentially could have leaks as a results of the bare pipe wall applying load instead of the nice flat surface that the base cap provides.

sunfish mainsheet block

NOTE: see my updated post with a new setup here: sunfish mainsheet block upgrade

my current set-up on my Sunfish for controlling the mainsheet is a bit out-dated (for any non-sailors, the mainsheet is the line you pull in or let out to adjust the angle of the sail).  here is a picture of my current setup on the Sunfish.  there is a swiveling fairlead and cleat, and then the original hook below it on the lip of the cockpit edge.  my older Super Porpoise has nothing to hook the mainsheet on – no cleats, no hook, no nothing! so this was a big improvement for me as I was learning to sail the Sunfish.

by passing the mainsheet thru the fairlead, I then have the option if I want, to cleat the sheet when I have the sail position set.  the 2nd picture showing the mainsheet in the fairlead – the sheet goes up to the sail, and the sheet coming towards me is what I’ll hold while sailing.

over at the Sunfish Forum, I have noticed a few threads over the past few months discussing options to upgrade the controls for the mainsheet.  in the same discussions, though, there is also the debate on whether on not cleating the mainsheet is such a good idea.  one side takes that stance that the mainsheet should never be cleated, as you should constantly be adjusting the sail trim to optimize the sail in the wind, and that cleating could also present a potentially dangerous situation if a gust of wind is too strong, and causes the boat to capsize. as a guy fairly new to sailing, I tend to agree with the other side, though, in that having the option to cleat the mainsheet certainly is nice on occasion.  it gives your arms/hands a quick break, and gives you the chance to grab a snack or drink of water.  and especially when I am sailing with a 2nd person or a child, I find it easier to set the sail position and cleat the sheet, and then fine-tune things with adjustments made to the rudder position.  I recognize that this can lead to capsizing, if a rather large gust were to hit the sail, and I wouldn’t be able to un-cleat it quickly enough to depower the sail.  I also don’t really mind the occasional capsize, though, and feel it gives me a chance to get cooled off, and practice righting the boat back up!  I only have to remember to uncleat the sheet prior to righting the boat.

anyway, going back to the debate on how to upgrade the mainsheet controls.  someone at the Sunfish Forum put together this handy diagram for an option to include a swiveling cam cleat and a mainsheet block.

it is more or less agreed upon that the harken 241 ($56) is a good option for the swiveling cam cleat base, which you then remove the fairlead, add an eyestrap and stand-up spring, and then a ratchet block.  the 2 suggested options for the mainsheet block are the harken 019 and the harken 2135.

the harken 019 ($58) is often referenced on the Sunfish Forum as the standard.  the 019 is a “little hexaratchet”, with a 2.25″ diameter sheave.

the harken 2135 ($52) is the other mainsheet block occasionally, but not as frequently, thrown out as a viable option.  it is specified as a 57 mm block (which is equal to 2.25″, so the same as the 019 above).  the 019 doesn’t specify it’s holding power, but the 2135 provides a 10:1 holding power, so significantly decreasing the amount of pull required to keep the sail sheeted in.

I decided to go straight to the (a?) source, and called up Torresen Marine (also online at, and spoke to a very helpful representative named Christopher (providing another example of great customer service).  we discussed the use as the mainsheet for a Sunfish, and the two different options from harken, 019 vs the 2135.  he mentioned to me that the 019 has been around since probably the 1960’s, and that they (Torresen) mainly keep the 019 in stock for people who are looking to upgrade their block, but match it with the look of other hardware on their sailboat. he continued on to say that the 2135 is the more current model, and as such has newer technology adapted into the design, and should be lighter as well.  he highly recommends the 2135, and as a bonus – it’s a couple dollars cheaper!

I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it, but that’ll be my plan going forward – use the harken 241 mainsheet cam cleat, but add on the harken 2135 with the eyestrap and stand-up spring.  I’ll probably use the old model off my Sunfish for the Super Porpoise, so it ends up being an upgrade in a way for both of my boats, and would cross a few things off my never-ending parts list.

windward leg – fall 2009

for quite some time now, I’ve heard things here and there about a newsletter published by the Sunfish Class, but as I have yet to join, I haven’t seen a whole issue myself (although I have seen pages from some of the old issues – they can be found in the excellent Sunfish Bible, also available from the Sunfish Class).  I’ve searched on Google for them before, but never had any luck finding any copies online.  I was pleasantly surprised a few days ago when looking at the main webpage for the Sunfish Class to see a little blinking red NEW tag next to a title: Windward Leg.  I clicked the link to download the .pdf file, figuring it would be a short little 2 or 3 pager with just some miscellaneous updates.  I was blown away when the file opened – it is 44 pages and chocked full of information!

there is pretty good coverage of the Sunfish Worlds, as well as plenty of coverage with race results from many of the regions, including coverage of the Midwest Regional #2 where I was able to watch the racing and take pictures of the Sunfish (and the Lightning sailboats).  there is some minimal advertising, but the majority of it is from the well-known Sunfish suppliers that most of us are already familiar with.

download it yourself and enjoy: Windward Leg (Fall 2009) (.pdf link)

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