Never thought this topic would bring about such excitement. To the lake sailors, my sympathies. I learned to ride the main sheets in order to keep from a knockdown in Wisconsin lakes and on the Great Lakes, all of which I sailed as a much younger and less experienced sailor. On lakes one usually does not cleat the main as you would on the Ocean. The reason is exactly for the reasons ennumerated by our hobbie cat friend. If you do cleat tyhe main you are just asking for a knockdown. I was very surprised that this habbit of holding the main sheet in ones hands is very hard to break. It probably took me two to three years to get brave enough to cleat the main once I started sailing off California shores. The practice of holding the main in ones hands is by the way very tiring and hard on your hands. I remember some very memorable cramps that took days to get rid of. To all good sailing.