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Sailing!!!! New Viadana Mainsheet Block, Hiking strap and Hiking Strap Adjuster


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Back on the water!!!

I will try detail how I did everything, so people like me that are new to this class can find the information easily.

I installed a carbo ratchet Viadana block with a stand up spring.
I used one without a becket for the standard Sunfish mainsheet set up.
8 mm mainsheet, Robline, newer type with dynema in sheath

The Viadana oval shaped backing plate fits perfectly under the Sunfish lip.
If you preload the spring assembly on to the stainless eye strap, first it and then install the strap on the deck, it makes life a lot easier.
Sub a cotter pin in for the ring ding, while using zip ties to hold a spring compressed.
Started to use ovalhead machine screws but went to the flat heads, the spring seats nicely on top of the eye strap with flat head screws.

Also in the picture is the Rooster designed hiking strap adjuster, it works flawlessly even with just one eye strap on the cubby lip. You can buy the parts individually also, it’s a clam cleat brand cleating device.
Do go onto Roosters blog to see good pictures on how to reeve the line If you attempt this.
It looks confusing but it’s really easy.
It’s pretty ingenious, very simple, with dynema it’s slippery and works well, releases under load easily.
I installed a backing plate with stainless female threads and hiking strap plate on the front bulkhead.

Here is a picture, it’s kind of hard to see how it leads from this picture. I just left all the tails long until I tested it out, now I will neaten up. Daisy chain the leftover line tail to form a grab handle.
The little piece of bungee is just a scrap to hold the strap up out of the well while I have the boat outside uncovered

Went for a rollicking sail yesterday, 15kts with 20 gusts and it performed flawlessly. :D

to rollicking Sailing!!!!! after all that’s what it is about isnt it :p


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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
As long as you are not racing, the hiking strap setup is a good one. It is illegal to have a cleat in the adjustment system, so if you race you will need to take it out.


Active Member
I’ve heard that this has been very recently approved.....From Rooster....but I’m not racing now so I’m not worried.

We all listen to your sage advice Beldar, thank you so much

po-man sailor

Active Member
Where do you buy a spring strong enough to hold the block straight up to prevent scratching the deck. The ones I find are too week. Although I do have a different ratchet and cam cleat setup salvaged from another boat like a hobie or somewhere. I wonder if I could double the spring by twisting them together. (Not stacking them)

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Where do you buy a spring strong enough to hold the block straight up to prevent scratching the deck. The ones I find are too week. Although I do have a different ratchet and cam cleat setup salvaged from another boat like a hobie or somewhere. I wonder if I could double the spring by twisting them together. (Not stacking them)
The spring is supposed to bend while in use. The block needs to tip to align with the sheet angle.


Active Member
Did you put any backing on the hiking strap loop on the back of the cockpit? On older style boats we would put two loops on either side of the the lip of the cockpit storage and use through bolt method.

po-man sailor

Active Member
I dont mind and understand tipping and flex ability but the weight of mine just plop over on the deck when not in hand and tension. I dont want to scar up the deck. I'll find stronger spring maybe or change to lighter block. I like this block because it has switch to turn ratcheting on or off , has a guide to feed rope through prior to ratchet and also has cam cleat after ratchet. Whole unit can swivel back and forth.


Active Member
Did you put any backing on the hiking strap loop on the back of the cockpit? On older style boats we would put two loops on either side of the the lip of the cockpit storage and use through bolt method.
Yep there is a backing plate on the forward bulkhead install.
I’ll post the method used as I see this is a very commonly asked question.
This method is different from any others I’ve seen so far.
It is a very neat installation and it gives you a really good backing plate to evenly distribute the load of the hiking strap and the ability to easily change out a hiking strap in the future. beware...wordy :rolleyes:

I used a 4 inch Beckson deck plate in the cockpit well left forward bulkhead. Right handed so this side worked best for me. *******IMPORTANT: I did all the installation of the backing plate before I installed the deck plate so I’d have a hole large enough to put the 4 inch backing plate through it.*******

List of “stuff” needed:
Backing plate - a thin, wide, light but strong backing plate; 4” wide X 6” long X 3/16” thick Mahogany- with pre-drilled holes using the hiking strap plate as a template. I suppose teak would work fine also, but it’s resistant to being saturated with epoxy. There are extra holes in the picture because this was an old backing plate that I re-purposed.
Two 1/4” Stainless Togglers brand toggles (eBay cheapest)
Two 1/4” Stainless machine screws (Bolt Depot my fav, a great website that finally takes the pain out of buying fasteners)
Two fender washers
Laser Vanguard hiking strap plate or one you have made for yourself. If you use the laser plate you’ll have to upsize the holes from 10-32 to quarter inch
West System epoxy
3M 5200
A Wire coat hanger or a piece of wire
A water pump bottle to spritz the 5200 with water
Phillips Screwdriver that fits your machine screw head or driver for whatever type head you use
and by all means try to source anything you can buy from members of this forum.


1. West epoxy saturated both sides of backing plate a couple times let cure then pre-drilled holes using hiking strap plate as template. Let it cure away from moisture but if you somehow get an amine blush it’s safer to just scrub the backing plate with warm soapy water let it dry before you proceed. Read about amine blushes at the West system website, they are waxy, this will insure that the adhesion on your bulkhead is good.

2. Aligned and drilled the holes into the forward Bulkhead using the hiking strap plate as a template.

put it where you want or put it where the pros on this site recommend.
I located it where the holes would not be around the water that normally sloshes around in the foot well and also put it up a little higher so my feet slipped under the strap easily.
I still do use the piece of bungee to hold the hiking strap off the bottom of the foot well when I’m not sailing to keep it from getting cruddy.
I do use a Rooster Laser adjuster set-up but remember it’s not race legal. But it is easy to switch back to race legal mode.
I only have one eye strap on the lip of the aft cubby, I think it stock, but I’m not sure. The whole system feels very secure but I’m pushing it so I will find out. Some people put two eye straps on here but this was was already in place so I just left it and tried it

3. Glued 1/4” stainless Togglers onto the backing plate with 5200 after I scored the area under the toddler so it would have a better bite. Loop the 5200 over the togglers and smooth out.a Cut credit card works as tool...

4. Spritz with water, let this setup for days...the 5200 was layered on thick So it takes time to fully cure.

5. Butter up and stick the backing plate onto the bulkhead inside the hull after wiping all with Acetone. Try not to get 5200 around the threads when moving it around, but do either grease or tape the ends of the machine screws with blue painters tape so when you stick them in you won’t pick up 5200 on the actual threads . Keep 5200 out of the threads

Note: if you don’t have an inspection port on the forward bulkhead or aft of your dagger board trunk you’re going to have to install one. It’s much easier if you install one on the left side of the cockpit well. But there are differing opinions on this.

6. I Used fender washers to initially to spread the clamping force Until the 5200 cures, be careful snug it up but don’t tighten it too hard and crack your Gel coat. This can be the messy part :eek: but just be patient and try to mentally align the backing plate and then slide it into place and push the screws through. You can do it!!!
I used a small piece of wire as a feeler to find the hole And wore a sacrificial long sleeve “Painting” shirt too and nitrile gloves.
Let all of this set up again for days as you should’ve buttered the backing plate with a good layer of 5200.
Moisture speeds up the curing of 5200 so don’t worry about the humidity in your hull.

Then when installing the hiking strap ditch the fender washers and just use the hiking strap plate (stock Laser Vanguard plate) with no washers.

7. Remove The screws and fender washers after it’s cured and you’re ready to install your strap .
Note: I used butyl tape to seal base of screws
Also used a little “tootsie roll” earthworm sized bit of butyl rubber tape (Amazon) wrapped around the quarter inch machine screws (behind the plate) to seal around the screw that holds the hiking strap plate down, not that it really needed, but the foot well does have water it most of the time and can fully swamp. I try to keep all the water out of my boat if I can.
Butyl stays soft and is removable easily later, not messy.
it’s my preference when bedding down hardware on larger boats too.

Here is the order to install the hiking strap into the forward bulkhead:
Install the hiking strap on the plate
then push the screws through the plate
Then put the butyl “worm” around the screw,
then screw the plate into the new backing plate snugly.

8. Take a credit card and cut the squeeze out neatly.
This stuff sticks to itself, you can roll into a ball and stick it to the squeeze out on the other side of the plate After you cut it to help remove it.

9. Rig up hiking strap to your eye strap on your aft bulkhead or the eye strap under the cubby.
this is were some people install two eye straps. I have found that if you have the original single eye strap it’s strong enough.
I’m testing it out.

Last most important step:

10. Rig up and GO out and SAIL!!! :D


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Active Member
On your part 9 there is no backing on the rear eye strap. This will flex and fail have seen this happen that is why the through bolt through the lip.


Active Member
You are so right!!!

Mainly this little tutorial is for installing the backing plate in the forward bulkhead.

There was an eye strap already installed on the rear.
There are postings here and online where people feel secure with having two eye straps screwed into the lip of the cubby
and I agree, it’s a thick lay up on my era boat at least. Not sure how thick all the layups are if it’s standard on all Sunfish to have a thick layer up there.

I don’t know how it was installed but the one I have is really strong.
This is a mid to late 80s boat The lip is quite a thick layup I can tell.
When I got this boat there was an inspection port installed aft of the cockpit is well glued down,
so possibly that’s why it’s so strong, something has been installed on the backside of the eye strap?
I don’t want to tear it apart right now.
There is just Too much good wind for another project right now! :p

The next time I get the Marine Tex out though, I plan to pull the single one or maybe just leave it there and then add two more using the method you propose, just to be safe.

Some people may want to install two eye straps with whatever method they want but this is working for me and I’ve been sailing out in some moderate conditions.

I will give you an update if it rips out! before I get two installed in the aft. :rolleyes:

Have Fun SAILING!!!!! :D
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Active Member
Every time I read about these sort of upgrades I get really excited and think about giving them a try.
Until I remember that I could double the speed of my boat by just learning how to sail it better.
so maybe in a couple of years I will have to give some of these upgrades a try. In the meantime I just have to spend some more time out on the water!


Active Member
how did you attach the back loop to the boat?
I didn’t, it was already in place and it’s quite sturdy.

There’s an access port on this boat aft of the cockpit, it was there when I bought it three months ago.
The “loop“ or the eye strap was already in place. it’s very sturdy.
I suspect there’s a backing plate and nuts on the back.
But I don’t know because the inspection port is glued down nice and tightly not going to reopen it right now.
Annnnnd I don’t want to fix it because “it ain’t broke “ as they say.

The strap is quite sturdy. So I’m leaving it alone for now.
You can see online and on this forum where people think the cubby lip is strong enough to screw in the straps.
but don’t quote me on this I don’t know for sure I haven’t tried it.

Good luck I hope someone else will weigh in about installing eye straps on the back of the cubby On the lip.
eventually I may go with two also
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