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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-24-2013
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Ratchet blocks

I got creative and put a ronstan 55 orbit ratchet block with cleat for my new main sheet system.

I like it. But I don't know how to use it. I thought it was a race type feature where I could lock the pulley and it would take the load off my arm for fine tuning. And that's probably what it does but I don't know how to get it to unlock. Sometimes a tug does it but it mid plus wind it gets pretty locked. Know how these work?
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Old 05-24-2013
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Re: Ratchet blocks

According to the literature you can switch from 'man' to 'auto'. In man you can turn the ratchet feature on or off, in auto it engages anytime the block loads up, but runs free when loads are reduced.

The photos show what looks like a red slider 'switch'.. I'm assuming that's your selector.

If it's locking and making it difficult to pull in then I'd suspect you're running over the sheave in the wrong direction... The idea is is turns freely on the pull, but with load resists turning back, reducing the 'pull back' forces from the loaded sail.
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Old 05-24-2013
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Re: Ratchet blocks

Mine doesn't have the red lever. So I'm not sure if I can to it to manual.

I may have said that wrong. It's easy to pull. But sometimes when I want to unload alot of line quick in higher winds its locked and won't let out.
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Re: Ratchet blocks

Could be auto-only I suppose. I don't see the levers on the blocks with cam cleats either. You'll have to try to ease more quickly to get the load off - I know, sounds counter productive....

The brochure doesn't say (or I didn't see) if the cam cleat versions are auto only... they are not specified either way as far as I can see..
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Old 05-25-2013
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Re: Ratchet blocks

That's right. It came with a little folded paper instruction sheet but was generic for all ratchet blocks by ronstan.
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Old 05-28-2013
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Re: Ratchet blocks

I have some of the Ronstan ratchet blocks, and I think the one with the cam cleat is auto-only. Even if you could switch it off though, that wouldn't be very convenient if you need to do it quickly.

The Ronstan ratchet blocks also grip the line tightly and can hold a lot more force than other brands... (I think around 60 pounds or so, iirc). That is great for saving effort, but if you need to ease the line, it needs to have either very little force on it (so the ratchet mechanism doesn't engage) or a lot of force, so the line can slip over the block.

There was a Practical Sailor review of ratchet blocks that listed their holding power - The Ronstan blocks were the highest by far. Other brands are designed to allow the line to slip back more easily, which I think would be preferable for a mainsheet.

(also the line type and size probably have a big effect on the ability to ease the line, so make sure the line isn't too big for the block)
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Old 05-28-2013
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Re: Ratchet blocks

Probably auto only if you don't see a switch.

Might want to look into a smaller mainsheet if its time to replace it.
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