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Harken Cam Block

marcharlan

New Member
I puchased a Harken Cam Block to retrofit onto my 84 Sunfish. Right now I only have the ineffective Hook. (I also see that many now go with the ratchet block, but that doesnt hold the line which I find useful when sailing with the little ones.) Are there any pointers for placement. I was a little suprised when the dealer told me that no backing plate was necessary.

Thanks in advance.
 

hiltonfh

New Member
I am interested in finding out also. I am planning on replacing the hook and don't know if I should place the ratchet block (Harken 2135) back where the hook was or on the lip of the cockpit. What size eyestrap should be used? What about a swivel lead with a cleat instead of the ratchet block? I would assume the swivel lead / cleat would have to be mounted on the deck. :D
 
Use an eye strap on the deck (horizontal surface). Mount at the lip of the cockpit in the centerline of the boat and use fender washers under the lip as backup. STAINLESS. Get a stand-up spring for the ratchet block too. Watch out on the cam blocks, they may be difficult to uncleat when you really need them to uncleat.
 

Offramp

New Member
I just bought a 73 Sunfish this spring. It came with the hook (ouch on my shin when I banged into that thing this weekend while adjusting my gooseneck!) and an added on cam cleat. The cam cleat was mounted to the deck with the nuts under the lip of the cockpit. The previous owner did not use any backing but I wish he had because there is some cracking.

The Harkin cam cleat should work well but just be wary if you get out in high winds. A cleated mainsheet in gusty winds can lead to a capsize. I would add washers for extra strength although my boat didn't have any washers, and had been raced by it's previous owner. There wasn't any apparent damage without the washers but I would add them for backing to help minimize any gel coat or structural damage.

BTW, I replaced the cam cleat with a Harkin ratchet block. I hated that block the first day out, because I have always sailed with cleated main sheets and I struggled on how to pull in the main sheet without the aid of a cleat. I then talked to a fellow racer who gave me a few suggestions and last Saturday I loved that block when the winds came a howling.
 

Offramp

New Member
So, what were the suggestions you were given?? I'm thinking about making the same replacement.
His tip was:
Keep the tiller extension in front of you as you haul in on the main sheet.
Pass the main sheet to your tiller hand and hold the sheet in place with the tiller hand.
Using your now free mainsheet hand, get a new grip of the mainsheet.

I was not able to adjust to keeping the tiller extension in front of me but I was able to pass the mainsheet to my tiller hand with the tiller by my side.
 

marcharlan

New Member
Re: Harken Cam Cleat

Thanks for the replies: I now realize that the part that I am looking to use is in fact the Harken Cam Cleat. I understand that in the gusty area where I sail in Barnegat Bay this can lead to suprises, but with my son on board I need the free hand at times and dont want to install the ratchet block and then the cleats on either side of the cockpit where the little one sits.

Thanks.
 

supercub

Member
With "the little one" on board, please be careful about cleating. As you stated, gusty winds can cause suprises. I suggest sailing on calmer days with you son (wearing a life jacket) and then go out alone when the wind is stronger and leave your son onshore with mom (or a baby sitter). I have been there as a single dad and do understand the desire to have him with you, but capsize once with him onboard and you will understand my statements.
 

Falcon

New Member
Thats what im interested in as well.Im restoring My early 70's sunfish and am looking for all of the rigging upgrades i can find. Do you happen to have any ideas or recomendations for me. As far as blocks and ratchets and all?

Thanks,
Jonathon
 

supercub

Member
Falcon,

As Marcharlan mentioned, the Harken Clam Cleat is one possibility that personnaly I do not like. The racheting blocks such as the Harken Ratchamatic 019, 009 (larger) and others, IMO, are better for the task. As Gail mentioned in another post, a simple slip loop tied as a stopper is quite effective as an alternate to a cleat(s). Pictures 1 and 2, I do not like and I prefer P3, the Harken bolck.

P1 - Eye with cleat
P2 - Block with cleat
P3 - Harken 019
 

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marcharlan

New Member
Supercub,
I understand that you dont like cleating off the mainsheet line while underway. But do I understand corrently that with the ratchet you are forced to then hold the mainsheet the whole time?

I am not a competitive sailor and I am trying to teach my 8 year old. Thus, I want to have a cleat so that even though I am keeping the mainsheet in hand I can shift my focus a little to work with him.

If someone has a better suggestion in how to deal with this scenario, Id be glad to hear. In the mean time, I going to install the cam cleat.
 

Repete

Sunfish1909
Marcharlan,
Take my advise along with Supercub....................the rachet is your answer.
With the rachet in gear....."the clicker", tension is practically diminished from your mainsheet hand. I upgraded from a clam cleat set up myself and I wonder why I did not do it sooner. I am teaching a ten and seven year old and the rachet "on" in light air lets me turn my head and train of thought off the wind, temporarily, to mind my crew and their efforts. To have the senses of a cat to turn around in mid air to land on our feet we humans lack ( I am a cat owner). To uncleat in time is too much trouble and a distraction during "a lesson". Unless you are teaching recovery from capsizing quite often, I would say you would stay a lot dryer with the rachet and feeling the pulse of the wind by holding the mainsheet with "less effort".
 

supercub

Member
Marcharlan,

Since you are teaching your son to sail, why not let him hold the mainsheet? With the ratchet block the pull from the sail is reduced quite a bit and should be well within the capabilities of an 8 yo in lighter, teaching winds. Granted, he may need a little help in hauling in the sheet, but a gentile assist from Dad will go a long way in building confidence and knowlegde in sailing. Or switch positions and let him handle the tiller. Hands on teaching usually sees quicker results.

An example of why I don't care for the cleat. A friend capsized yesterday with the cleat engaged. When he righted the boat, the mainsheet was still engaged, the wind caught the sail and the boat capsized right over again before he was able to get on. This time he did uncleat the sheet before righting and all was well.

In light air I often throw a loop around the block and step on the free end to hold in place while I get a drink or something. Otherwise, I just transfer the free end to my tiller hand to hold and use my now free hand to do what ever (wipe sunblock from my eyes, scratch, push my glasses back in place, whatever).
 
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