Cam cleat for new sailor

Thread starter #1
I see I can change out my mainsheet pulley for a so called cam cleat( ability to lock mainsheet )

As a new sailor am I better off keeping what I have so I am always holding the sheet?

Seems like it would be nice to lock the main sheet for an extended run and give my hand a rest but on the other hand I can see where if I get caught up in my sailing and forget to unlock the sheet I can get into a bit of trouble.

Any thoughts?

Please forgive my possible inaccurate terminology, still learning
 
#4
this is my preferred setup (shown on a Minifish, but the same part #'s apply for a Sunfish - the cam cleat can be mounted on the cockpit lip of a Sunfish).


the location of the cam cleat (down on the cockpit lip) makes it sort of difficult to "lock" in place while sailing in a heavier wind, but on those light air days when you're drifting and want to let go of the mainsheet, it does come in handy.

cheers,
tag (my2fish)
 
#5
I second the ratchet block, which is what I use. I have never felt the need for cleats, although I do wear sailing gloves most of the time which helps to protect my hands.
 
Thread starter #6
I second the ratchet block, which is what I use. I have never felt the need for cleats, although I do wear sailing gloves most of the time which helps to protect my hands.
So I have been looking at ratchet blocks and as I understand them they do not make it easier to take up line but rather make it easier to ease out (if this is correct term) line.

They basically take the pulling pressure off your hand.

I see some can also be turned on or off.

What I cannot find is how do i regulate the speed at which line is let out.

Is this a function of the size of the rachet in mm?

I imagine there are times where you need or want to let out line quickly but if the ratchet is "one speed" you cannot regulate speed at which line is let out.

Any help on this.

I really found nothing that explains this on the Harken website.
 
#7
I'll take a stab at this:

the block does nothing really to help with pulling the line in, but gives a little more control for easing the line out. the grooves on the inside of the sheave on the block "grip" the line, but only if you are gripping the line and putting the line in tension.... and these grooves and the "grip" of the block do help to relieve the pulling force your hands end up seeing.

Harken has a FAQ here: Ratchet Blocks Q&A
and a video by Harken here:

I'm not sure about selecting the size of the ratchet question - 57mm seems to be pretty standard for use on the Sunfish.

the ratchet won't really "slow" the speed of letting the line/sail out unless you are still holding tight on the mainsheet. it should run pretty freely to let the sail out. if you are sailing in lighter winds and don't need the ratcheting "grip" effect, you can turn off the ratchet block.

APS has a little video showing it here:

I've personally always liked the Harken 2135 (has the switch). I know others prefer the 57mm from Harken that is load-sensing (2625 maybe?).

cheers,
tag
 
Thread starter #8
Tag:

I watched both those videos yesterday. Did not really help. I may call Harken today for a better explanation. I understand you can switch off ratchet for light air but still not clear on how to regulate speed of easing out line.

I see how the mechanism grips the line to take pressure off the hand holding the line and maybe the line only eases out at one speed? Or possibly in stronger winds it will ease out quicker but still grip to prevent you from being "pulled in" toward the block.

Anyway appreciate the reply. If I go for a ratchet block I am liking the Harken with the red sheave

Harken 57mm Carbo Ratchet w/Red Sheave

Add a little bling to the boat.
 
#9
I like those red sheave blocks, too! just couldn't justify buying a new one when my current version is hardly used. 15% off at APS right now, too.

hopefully someone else will chime in to explain it a little better for you, and your phone call to Harken might help as well. best of luck.
 
Thread starter #10
I like those red sheave blocks, too! just couldn't justify buying a new one when my current version is hardly used. 15% off at APS right now, too.

hopefully someone else will chime in to explain it a little better for you, and your phone call to Harken might help as well. best of luck.
Thanks again
 

mixmkr

Active Member
#11
The ratchet causes friction against the rope in one direction...like wrapping the rope around something. There is no speed control...just increased resistance to go in one drection. With the ratchet turned off with the switch on the block, it acts like a normal pulley. Turned on, the pulley/wheel only turns in one direction with the sheeve of the pulley offering resistance with the grippers built into the sheeve
 
Thread starter #12
The ratchet causes friction against the rope in one direction...like wrapping the rope around something. There is no speed control...just increased resistance to go in one drection. With the ratchet turned off with the switch on the block, it acts like a normal pulley. Turned on, the pulley/wheel only turns in one direction with the sheeve of the pulley offering resistance with the grippers built into the sheeve
Got it. When sheeting in device clicks (ratchets) and no friction. However when sheeting out (letting line out) the line simply rubs against the sheave and that friction is what eases the pull on the hand/arm. Poor analogy but i suppose same type of friction if one were to let out line as it rubs against side of a fairlead or capstan of a winch. Interesting that small amount of friction makes a difference in the perceived pull on the hand by the line.
 

mixmkr

Active Member
#13
Yes and yes....the grippers help more than just a smooth capstan. Like the grippers on a self tailing winch on keel boats
 
#14
I have the Ronsten 55mm Orbit block. It grips better because of the cutouts. But it is *expensive*. I previously used one of the cheaper Nautos blocks but it wasn't too grippy and didn't help much.

A couple of other things can help too:
1) A thicker diameter mainsheet is easier to hold, and grips in blocks better as well.
2) Sailing gloves! You can get rubberized fishing gloves at Academy for $5 that work as a good cheap substitute.

ronstan55Orbit.jpeg
 

LaLi

Active Member
#17
You don't see that too often.
There's a reason for that. Whatever cleating angle you choose, it's good for either upwind or downwind, but not both. The way to do this right would be to have the cleat on a separately swiveling arm, but that's probably getting a little complicated for a Sunfish (and probably illegal as well).
Here's a video I did on tuning it to work just right.
Andy, I've seen that before, and I still don't believe that that works! The video doesn't really show the sheeting and cleating angles upwind non-hiking/hiking and downwind. I'm pretty sure the cleat does the wrong thing at the wrong time... (The original location of the forward boom block was painfully wrong in all possible ways anyway.)

To the original poster: if you don't have an adjustable cunningham & outhaul (as I assume), then sheet cleats are pretty useless. Get a ratchet block (you should have one even if you have cleats, they're not each other's alternatives); if you want more grip, go for a Ronstan, and if less so, a Harken. Also, I can recommend an automatic (or "load-sensing") ratchet - I've had a 40 mm Ronstan on my Laser for years and been very happy with it.
 

andyatos

Active Member
#18
There's a reason for that. Whatever cleating angle you choose, it's good for either upwind or downwind, but not both. The video doesn't really show the sheeting and cleating angles upwind non-hiking/hiking and downwind. I'm pretty sure the cleat does the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Nonsense. It works PERFECTLY in all points of sail and all sheeting angles. Upwind, downwind, in breaths of wind or howling. You do realize LaLi that the entire block and cam cleat rotates 360 degrees, right? Why do you suppose that someone who has been sailing for over 50 years would own 3 of these... one on each of his 3 Sunfish, hmm? Because they work, that's why. Good grief. :confused:

- Andy
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
#19
Having retained the original set-ups on my three Sunfish, I have retained three alternative set-ups. When I sail the two that don't have the combination cam-cleat and ratchet block, I miss that set-up very much. :(

You have to be prepared to instantly remove the mainsheet from the cam-cleat. (You don't get whole seconds to react). :eek:
 
Thread starter #20
As a new sailor I appreciate all the replies. Of course I am sold on the ratchet block and now must decide between ratchet or "Ratchomatic". Also enjoyed Andy's video on the ratchet/cleat combo. Not sure which way I will go.

Last question: My current set up is a spring loaded main sheet "pulley block" held to an eye strap via a pin and retaining split ring. I need to see what brand and size pin/ring I have to assure fit with new ratchet block or is pin size universal?

It is mounted in the forward end of the cockpit just below the deck.
When I make the change is it recommended I keep this location or better to mount on the deck as did Andyatos?

To my eye the location in the cockpit is "cleaner" and I am curious, Andy why you have chosen to mount on the deck? Mechanical advantage?
Does it ever get in the way if you need to adjust daggerboard or possibly sit way up front for some reason?

Thanks again.
 
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