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ratchet block/cam cleat /swivel base diagram?

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Not surprisingly, just about everybody that sails Lasers or Sunfish leaves the block on whether trailering or not...
Adding to Wavedancer's observaion, does anyone cover their ratchet block or ratchet/cleat?

I was thinking an inverted can cooler or short piece of swim noodle might at least keep the block on it's stand-up spring from bouncing like a Bobblehead on speed as the boat is trailered down the highway.




I think if I needed to remove the block regularly I would swap the standard clevis pin for a quick pin and devise some sort of fast install spring compressor.

Anyone using the plastic boot?

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tynwald

Member
Ok, now what? :confused:


Thought I’d share some of my (mis)adventures trying to make this modification. First thing I discovered was that the spacing for the screws in my eyestrap (LP91100) was too wide for that on the H241 swivel base (1-1/2” vs 1”). Found that the “Micros” (H281) fit better (spacing 1-1/16”), but still needs a little scrunching to fit. Also, the diameter of the 10-24 x ¼” shorty screws is a little too big to fit the holes in the eyestrap, so had to drill them out a bit. The screws are still a little long, so one needs to make sure they use flat-headed screws to mount the H241 to the deck as ones with a convex top might limit rotation of the swivel base.



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As commented on by others, compressing the standup spring is always a bear, but by using a vice and securing the spring with two cable ties it actually worked pretty well.



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The problem I’ve discovered, and don’t see any easy solution for, is that the position of the cams isn’t right to make this system work. The mount for the cams is too short and too low to allow the sheet to cleat. Because they’re below the level of the block, the sheet slips up out of the cleats with any force at all. With the original padeye, the sheet is held in the right orientation to the cam cleats, but with the block, the sheet is being pulled up out of the cleats. I don't think a shorter shackle (try saying that fast five times!) would help.



002.jpg


To make matters worse, the strap that goes over the cams pulls the sheet down so it can’t put proper force on the block. You can’t get any ratcheting effect.



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So, unless I’m missing something here, I just don’t see how this can work. Have people really done this or is this something that “looks like it should work”? If anyone else wants to make this modification, I’d suggest using something like the H144 (similar to what I have on my C14.2), which brings the cams up into the right position. Comments?
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
If anyone else wants to make this modification, I’d suggest using something like the H144 (similar to what I have on my C14.2), which brings the cams up into the right position. Comments?
Great feedback and fantastic photos..., thank you.

I have done this, but with a Ronstan base..., and I believe it had more hight to the cleat platform, as you've shown is a crutial ingredient. I no longer have that boat, but will try and determine which swivel base & cam it was for future reference.

Much appreciated !!

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davlafont

New Member
I can't give advice on which to choose... I asked once before, and never got an answer to the same question. I went to Harken's website to find the difference between the 2: http://www.harken.com/blocks/blockspecs.php

Any pro's out there care to weigh in on which is better and why?

thanks,
tag
Here's my question: Why not choose the Harken 2138 or 2139 that have the cleat integrated? Based on some of the discussion, my guess is that no one wants to HAVE to use the cleat, only to use it under certain circumstances. But it looks to me like the cleat bracket on these models can be rotated up and out of the way. If the cams will work with the fairlead removed, wouldn't that be the same a the collection of parts being described? I haven't done the math, but surely the cost difference can't be astronomical.

All this blocking stuff is new to me; I grew up with the mainsheet in my hand or in my teeth. I never even used the cockpit hook. You can probably guess that I only ever saw light to medium winds... Now that I'm grown up and dusting off the old "Fish, I'm looking into "modern" controls so this thread and others like it are very interesting.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Tynwald, how about this:
Here's the delema, as Tynwald pointed out, too low a line and the mainsheet doesn't engage properly, however, too high a line and whenever you hike out, the mainsheet engages in the cleat whether you want it to or not. Not only that, but if you are hiked out flat it's extremely difficult for most people to disengage the sheet by simply raising the angle they are holding the line at.

With the mainsheet captured and you hiked out unable to uncleat and unable to move body weight inboard, you have one of two alternatives if a gust of wind hits..., quickly turn the boat into the wind or go for a swim.

If the block to cleat line angle is too low they make risers to fine tune this situation. If the cleat is too high, about all you can do is bend the arm.



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davlafont

New Member
I use these modified Harken set up for the main-sheet and it works great. I turned the cleat right side up and removed the fair lead I posted the Harken model # in an earlier thread.
Don
This is what I was thinking in my post above. In my mind, the cleat bracket would have been flipped putting the cleat upsidedown and at a higher angle.

In your experience, does the mainsheet usually wrap around the block so much that the cleat is out of the way? (My guess is yes, but just thought I'd ask.) Also, how much clearance is there between the cleat and the deck once it's swivelled around? Does the block ever tilt enough that the cleat contacts the deck?

Your set-up looks the most logical to me (albeit coming from someone that has never used a block or cleat).
 

fbjru

Member
A couple of things. I have always used three zip ties on the spring when mounting it. This really works great and is easy. On the fly i have tried to go without the zipties. Forget about that.

As far as covering the blocks for travel...Use a koozie. Keeps your block clean when you're driving, keeps your drink cold when you're not driving
 

minas man

Member
This is what I was thinking in my post above.

In your experience, does the mainsheet usually wrap around the block so much that the cleat is out of the way? (My guess is yes, but just thought I'd ask.) Also, how much clearance is there between the cleat and the deck once it's swivelled around? Does the block ever tilt enough that the cleat contacts the deck?
Dave after sailing with the hook for a year I knew that I wanted something better. I bought a swivel base unit but didn't mount it as I was wanting a set up that would allow turning hull upside down without removing the and also wanted the smallest deck foot print for sailing with two people. This Harken 2627 with 57mm ratcgamatic with cam looked to be the setup that I wanted but I never saw another Sunfish with it. Bought it new on eBay for $15 ,a steal, and this is my second season with it with no problems. I have the cam angle set so cleating off is an intentional act and the cam does not hit the deck but is always on the high side when the main sheet is pulling. Cleat angle is fully adjustable to suit the skipper. Works with light air 1/4 and heavy air 3/8 sheets. Fasten Harken eye strap, only two bolts, to deck and use Harken Heavy spring to keep block upright. I use polyethylene cutting boards for the backing all hardware. 57mm adjustable Carbo ratchet makes sheeting in a breeze :) even in a howl.

><> Don <><
 

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tynwald

Member
These are some great ideas. As often as I’d cleat, I probably should have used the KISS approach that tag did (Harken 150 cam cleat mounted on the forward cockpit lip). I have to admit that option also appeals to the OCD in me (gotta cover up those holes left in the lip where the hook was!). The other way to go is to use a block with integrated cam cleats or a swivel base that brings the cams up into the right position (Harken 205 or 144), like raubvogel and NightSailor did. Is this the thread you are referring to?


http://www.sunfishforum.com/showthread.php?t=28892


[FONT=&quot]The bottom line is that the H241 DOES NOT work for this application.[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]What I've decided to do for the time being is to remove the strap on the cam cleats from the H241. This allows the sheet to play normally and gain traction on the block. To cleat, one can loop the sheet around the base and bring it up through the cleats. Takes a few milliseconds longer, but I’m not a racer, so who cares?

[/FONT]015.jpg
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[FONT=&quot]To uncleat, just pull up on the sheet and you’re free. I don’t see that the sheet binds on the base.

[/FONT]021.jpg

[FONT=&quot]An inelegant solution, but it’s probably better for me than scrapping the whole thing and going back to the eyestrap on the deck (and have to fill 3 new holes on the deck… it’s that OCD thing again) or investing in another set-up. [/FONT]
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
The bottom line is that the H241 DOES NOT work for this application. What I've decided to do for the time being is to remove the strap on the cam cleats from the H241. This allows the sheet to play normally and gain traction on the block. To cleat, one can loop the sheet around the base and bring it up through the cleats. Takes a few milliseconds longer, but I’m not a racer, so who cares?
Try the Harken H293 Cam riser (~$3.50) to put the cleat more in line.



The angled cam riser might even do better ... H294 (~$5.50)


In combination with your removal of the fairlead, this would give a setup more like Tag showes with the additional follow of swivel base. You get wrap on the block and cam when you want it with a lower risk of accidental cleating than you'd have with the H205 base.

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tynwald

Member
Well, Wayne, I don't think that would work. The base for the cams is so low on the H241 that you'd have to raise them about 2" to be able to securely cleat. I suppose one could add several of these to raise the cams up enough, but it probably wouldn't be very stable.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Well, Wayne, I don't think that would work. The base for the cams is so low on the H241 that you'd have to raise them about 2" to be able to securely cleat. I suppose one could add several of these to raise the cams up enough, but it probably wouldn't be very stable.
Ah, I see. I was thinking with the angled riser it would work like this...



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tynwald

Member
Now that might work. The key is that the angle on the riser will need to be such that it is close to that of the sheet as it's comes off the bottom of the block. I'll have to check the Harken website to see if it has these specific dimensions.
 

tynwald

Member
The angle of the sheet as it hits the cams now is ~35 degrees, so with the 15 degree angle of the riser, the sheet will be coming out of the cleat at ~20 degrees. These cleats are designed to hold a line whose pulling force is pretty much perpendicular to the cams axes. With a little experimentation, I found that they loose their grip when the sheet is directed more than about 20-25 degrees. Pretty close. However, the thing that makes this more likely to work is that the height of the riser itself lowers the sheet angle to some extent, providing a little margin of error. Think I'll give it a try... :)
 

tynwald

Member
Thought I’d give everyone a little update on my progress with this project. Ran into another problem; the H294 angled cam riser that was suggested in an earlier post turned out to be the wrong size (should have double-checked the dimensions myself!)!!! :mad: It’s actually the H296 that has the correct screw hole spacings to fit the H241 base. After waiting to get the correct part from APS, I then discovered that H294 wasn’t designed to have the cam cleat reversed (angled away from the block). The screw holes aren’t centered in the riser and each of the straight sides has little ridges that help keep the cam secure. If you reverse the cleat, it won’t lie flat on the riser unless you remove one of the ridges.

004sf.jpg



It fit OK after rasping the ridge off, although as you can see in the pics, the cleat hangs over the edge a small amount. The next obstacle was to find machine screws with the right length to hold this on to the swivel base. Standard 2 or 2-1/2 inch screws won’t do it (the optimal length seems to be ~ 2-3/16”). Not wanting to order another 100 odd-length screws (see earlier postings about the “shorty” screws) I was able to cut a couple of regular (not stainless steel) screws to a length long enough to hold all this together but not so long as to prevent the base from rotating (the little rise around the cockpit lip gets in the way). Even still, this is pretty close.
021sf.jpg



You may notice some scrapes on the cockpit lip from the ends of the screws (had to file them down a bit still).



Took the ‘fish out to the lake yesterday to give this set-up a test and get some “action” shots. It works (sort of). The main problem is that the swivel base doesn’t swivel with the block now that the fairlead’s been removed. I can still cleat off, but it’s inconvenient to say the least (and pretty much impossible when hiking out).

034sf.jpg 029sf.jpg



Also, the short length of the swivel arm limits movement of the block to some degree, although it doesn’t interfere with the way I sail.

035sf.jpg



My final impression about this modification is that it’s not worth the effort. For my needs, mounting a cam cleat on the cockpit lip would have sufficed (which is pretty much the way this set-up works now). Sailing on a Midwestern lake with constantly changing wind speeds and directions, I can’t imagine cleating the main while hiked out, so this is just for short emergency situations when you need a third hand in light air. I think some of the other arrangements suggested in earlier posts would be better, although someone who already has the swivel base mounted and just wants to swap out the padeye for a block might consider it. Anyway, too much time futzing and not enough time sailing; I'm going to the lake....
 

Fred P

Member
Simple is always better: Harken H019, eye trap, spring, backing plate, screws, 15 minutes, done!
You never need the sheet clamped, just leave the old hook there and slip knot the sheet to it or wrap the sheet around the block spring when you need that third hand.

Fred
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Thought I’d give everyone a little update on my progress with this project.

My final impression about this modification is that it’s not worth the effort. For my needs, mounting a cam cleat on the cockpit lip would have sufficed (which is pretty much the way this set-up works now).

Sailing on a Midwestern lake with constantly changing wind speeds and directions, I can’t imagine cleating the main while hiked out, so this is just for short emergency situations when you need a third hand in light air.

Anyway, too much time futzing and not enough time sailing; I'm going to the lake....
Whew..., Your efforts and feedback are very much appreciated !

Several years ago when I first suggested assembling the more popular Harken equipment to emmulate my Ronstan swivel I had no idea the subtle differences between designers would negate functionality the way you discovered it did.

Being from the school of not cleating when hiked out, I completely overlooked a couple of the aspects lost in the conversion process, primarily swivel follow for the uncleated lead. ... I only care if a cleated lead follows so it can be released as quickly as possible.

Next time I am in my local (65 mi away) sailing shop I will bench test today's equivalent of the Ronstan equipment I once had set up on an earlier boat, to see if it will function any better.



Ronstan RF58 Swivel & Cam, Ronstan RF4 Standup Spring, and Ronstan RF5402 Wedge Kit

Apparently the rise of the Ronstan base plate in combination with the lower profile of their standup spring & eyestrap make a more significant difference than I realized.

...and for the versatility, this Ronstan assemblage is nearly twice the cost of the Harken..., which probably explains gravitating toward Harken products in the first place.

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tynwald

Member
I agree, Fred, that simpler is always better. But I'm not sure that tying a slip knot with two hands addresses the "need 3 hands" problem (never was very good at the surgeon's one-handed knot). ;) Wrapping the sheet's OK, but I had in mind something really quick, like when I have to snag my hat that went into the water on the last tack!

Wayne, this was a bit of a slog, but after running into the first obstacle, it was clear this wasn't going to be straightforward. Options were either to bail and try to return the swivel base (good luck) or go for "the whole enchilada". Couldn't help myself. I just had to see if it was possible! It is possible, just not very smart! :)
 

jmart

New Member
From a purely simplistic standpoint, what's the downside of forgoing the cam cleat/swivel arrangement and just using one stbd- and one port-mounted clam cleat at the front edge of the cockpit? Is it the clutter? The need to drill and seal four more holes? The reach to the front of the cockpit when seated at the rear? It just seems much easier and cheaper and would work fine for those instances where you temporariliy need that third hand.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
From a purely simplistic standpoint, what's the downside of forgoing the cam cleat/swivel arrangement and just using one stbd- and one port-mounted clam cleat at the front edge of the cockpit? Is it the clutter?
It's all very subjective... All the setups work, each has its pros & cons. You choose what suits your sailing style.

Sailors with experience tend to know just what they want. New sailors want the "best" tricked out boat without first establishing a personal style, or in the case of this thread, an attempt is made to combine attributes ... directional access, quick cleating, avoidance of accidental cleating. A minor debate seems to ensue when inputs converge from all the different perspectives.

For me, outboard cleats get in my way ... I sometimes want to sit in that spot.

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oldpaint

Active Member
After reading this thread three years after it was a hot topic, and already having the major parts I thought I'd give this a try. The biggest unsolved problem seemed to be the top of cam fairlead. Without it no swiveling, but if its installed it is seriously in the way. To get around that I fashioned a bail out of nickle copper brake pipe, which is very malleable, that is roughly 2 inches tall. I made the angle block under the cam from 3/4 mahogany decking scraps and added another small block in front of the cam to keep the block from hitting the cam. I'm not sure its needed but I can remove it after testing next spring. I also put the next size smaller shackle on the block to lower it about 1/4 inch.
side view.jpg bail.jpg
 
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tynwald

Member
Wow, blast from the past! Nice to respond to a thread that includes sage advice from Wayne...

You know, after I went through this exercise, I discovered that I almost never cleat anyway, so it really wasn't necessary, but was fun working out the problem. If anything, I'd probably do what tag did and just put a cam where the "hook" is now and call it good. However, I've already drilled the holes for the swivel and being the OCD kind of guy I am, I'd feel compelled to fill them and try to make it look like they were never there (unlikely at my skill level). But I'm thinking about painting the deck anyway, so maybe that's what I'll do.

I think this is exactly what Wayne was talking about in his post. Before we know what we need, we try to get what we want. I'm not sure I need much more than a ratchet block (the hook's pretty lame IMHO) and maybe a cam cleat where the hook was...

Sail on!
 
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oldpaint

Active Member
As I said, I'll report back on this after I try it out next year. If it doesn't work well or I don't like it, I can go back to either the original swivel cam or the block, no damage was done to either of them to build this. I didn't bend the cam bracket and didn't drill into or scratch the deck. If the bail is not the right height I can make a new one and install it in 20 minutes. The information by the many posters in this thread helped a great deal.
 

oldpaint

Active Member
I finally took the Sunfish out for a sail in Buzzards Bay yestarday. The combination ratchet block & swivel cam worked very well and needs no modification. (see post 67 above) The tall bail kept the block and cam properly oriented. The primary benefit was one handed sheeting in. It took quite a bit of effort to figure this out so I'm not sure the benefit to effort ratio makes it something I'd recommend for people to try but I'll certainly keep it on the boat.
 
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