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main block and hiking straps?

Fremont

New Member
I have a 1978 (I think) Sunfish that has a hook instead of a main block, and no hiking straps. I bought a standup block, but am having second thoughts about installing it. When I tack, I often rotate my aged and non-limber body around the front of the cockpit, and find it's easier to transfer the sheet from one hand to the other with it not being held in a block. Is anyone else out there sticking with the hook instead of installing a block?
Also, the boat has no hiking strap, but I hook my toes under the opposite edge of the cockpit. A hiking strap seems like it would be uncomfortably close for my long legs. Again, anyone else forgoing straps?
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
My old Sunfish is a '77 and has the hook and no strap. I like this set up just fine when I sail that boat. It's easy and simple for tacking and though I like my set up in my new boat, I don't miss it all that much when I'm sailing the Old Fish in Wisconsin. We tend to sail longer distances and in changing conditions out here in California so that's a factor too. The block might not be what you want for your sailing style.
 

gzblack2

Member
I acquired an old hull, no storage compartment yesterday morning. After yard work I decided to test her sea worthiness. It only had the hook and I enjoyed sailing her that way. In the 8-10 mph winds Yesterday I didn’t see why I’d need anything more.

As for a hiking strap I haven’t sailed with one yet, but my first time out this year was a blustery day. Gusting at 20mph, I was hiked over toes under the edge of the cockpit. Suddenly the wind slowed and it took catlike reflexes and superhuman strength (or just dumb luck) to keep me from falling into the cold water. After that I decided to order a hiking strap to go with my new sail from intensity. Haven’t installed it yet, but if the strap is cumbersome it’s easily removed.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Also, the boat has no hiking strap, but I hook my toes under the opposite edge of the cockpit. A hiking strap seems like it would be uncomfortably close for my long legs. Again, anyone else forgoing straps?
Derrick Fries, multiple World Champion, sailed with his toes just like that. Not a problem if your legs are long enough.
Mine aren't :eek:

And for a long time, straps were not even legal for racing.
 

Lakechapinguy

New Member
My very first sunfish sail (labor day 2019) involved a boat with a guild/camlock. Within 30 minutes I was turtle because I couldn't get the mainsheet loose during a failed tack. I then purchased a 1974 with the hook only. I am landlocked due to Corona and have never sailed my '74. I was thinking a ratchet block might be better than a camlock. BUT...I'm going to try the hook and see if it really needs upgrading.
 

gzblack2

Member
Well I unintentionally discovered a down side to the hook. If you loose hold of the main sheet, not having a fairlead or block on the deck the sail can blow away from you and take the sheet with it. Don’t forget your stopper knot. I also noticed the hook definitely wears on the line much more.
 

RogerMusser

New Member
I think that the hiking straps are for people who’s legs are not long enough to reach to opposite-side lip.

My preference is to have a cam cleat that locks-in the sheet. But, be ready to ease the sheet at a moment’s notice.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I think that the hiking straps are for people who’s legs are not long enough to reach to opposite-side lip.
They’re important for racing. No matter your height you can hike harder with a strap. And for recreational sailors, the newer boats have a much wider cockpit opening, so you’d need really long legs to reach the other side.
 

Lakechapinguy

New Member
Well I unintentionally discovered a down side to the hook. If you loose hold of the main sheet, not having a fairlead or block on the deck the sail can blow away from you and take the sheet with it. Don’t forget your stopper knot. I also noticed the hook definitely wears on the line much more.
Thanks for that input. I'm not keen on the cam-loc since that lead to my first turtle. Maybe a ratchet block and stop knot.
 

andyatos

Well-Known Member
When I tack, I often rotate my aged and non-limber body around the front of the cockpit, and find it's easier to transfer the sheet from one hand to the other with it not being held in a block. Is anyone else out there sticking with the hook instead of installing a block?
A question. Are you tacking using the steps and style as shown in the following video? If not, your issues with the having your mainsheet in a block may go away by adopting these steps.

A good way to practice this tacking style is in your living room with a simulated mainsheet, tiller extension and two chairs by "tacking" and moving from one chair to the other.

Here's the video.

Cheers,

- Andy
 

Fremont

New Member
Thanks, Andy. Nice video!
No, I usually tack by turning my back to the bow. Maybe a habit from 30 years of Hobie Cats, where I have to hand the tiller extension around the back of the mainsheet, and the main block is at the stern.
I don't usually cleat my mainsheet, even on the Hobie. I've found it leads to more excitement than I like.
 
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