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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction
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  #1  
Old 02-19-2008
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Mainsheet Cleats

My current mainsheet set-up uses a combination 2 x pulleys + cleat unit shackled to the top of the traveller car (can just be seen in the photo below):

Mainsheet Cleats-dsc00059a.jpg

In the John Brown Trophy race a couple of weekends ago, we got knocked down on the finish line 'cause the main was cleated off. I dumped the traveller but that wasn't enough and memories of my old teacher came flooding back: "A Mainsheet Cleat Will Put You In The Drink!" - how true that is...

I'd love to fit a ratchet block, but can't think of any good ways to set it up. Any ideas??
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Old 02-19-2008
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A mainsheet cleat won't put you in the drink unless you use it improperly. In heavy winds, gusty conditions, or with the wind changing direction quickly, you're really better off keeping the mainsheet in hand, and not cleated off. The cleat should only be used in light air or settled conditions.

I don't know of anyone that makes a fiddle block or multiple block setup that has a ratchet block incorporated into it off hand.
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Old 02-20-2008
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One would get pretty tired holding a mainsheet on a keelboat for any length of time. I suggest the "don't cleat the mainsheet" came from dinghy sailing.

When racing adjust your sail area for the average winds.
When cruising adjust your sail area for the gusts.

A knockdown while racing is part of the sport.
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Old 02-20-2008
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Cam

Harken's 060 hexaratchet fiddle block (bottom right in the pic below) should fit the bill....

Edit: sorry to cut off the prices.. it's listed at $133 in the West Marine catalogue.

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Last edited by Faster; 02-20-2008 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 02-20-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Cam

Harken's 060 hexaratchet fiddle block (bottom right in the pic below) should fit the bill....

Edit: sorry to cut off the prices.. it's listed at $133 in the West Marine catalogue.

Thanks, Ron - that looks like the gadget I'm after. It's listed at $149 on the Harken site - West Marine must have it discounted.

I know I can get a 2nd-hand Ronstan ratchet for a slab of beer from one of the guys in the club and that would leave me with at least 100 bucks in my pocket... but:

1. Is there any easy way to mount a ratchet block in/near the center of the traveller? The answer may be that it's not worth the extra shin-scraping..

2. It there any advantage/disadvantage in the final fall from the boom block going to a fixed point in the center of the cockpit rather than back to the traveller?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley18 View Post
1. Is there any easy way to mount a ratchet block in/near the center of the traveller? The answer may be that it's not worth the extra shin-scraping..

2. It there any advantage/disadvantage in the final fall from the boom block going to a fixed point in the center of the cockpit rather than back to the traveller?
I'm not real clear on what you mean with Q. 1....

But as to #2 - many boats use this set up.. the advantage is that the main sheet lead to the trimmer is always the same regardless of traveller position (often the traveller-attached cleated fiddle is leaning away so far that it's difficult to either cleat or release depending on the selected angle)... The downside is that your are slightly cancelling the effect of moving the traveller around as there is always a pull component to center. This could negate effectively using a very short traveller, but with a typical cockpit-wide set up I'd think it would be manageable.

But in either setup the ratchet feature is a huge help, esp when gybing in a breeze.
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Old 02-20-2008
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When you decide to buy you might want to try pyacht or defender for example. If the product is not listed in the catalog, make contact via email or phone and it is likely you can still get a quote at a lower price than West Marine.
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Might also call up Garhauer marine. They make really good hardware for this type of stuff and are reasonably priced.
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 02-20-2008
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I may be stating the obvious here, but whatever your setup, it should provide that when you, on the weather side with sheet in hand, put tension on the sheet, it should release, so you can ease it.

When you re-trim it after (we hope) avoiding that knockdown, it may require your foot as well as your hand to push it down and re-cleat it into the cam, but that's a price you should be willing to pay for being able to ease it in a hurry.

Some blocks are rigged "upside-down" so you have to "snap" the sheet down to get it out of the cam cleat. Not a good idea. It should be easier, and more "intuitive", to have it release easily, even if it re-cleats harder. Most mainsheets, I think, are set up this way. Hope so, anyway.
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Old 02-20-2008
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Nolatom:
I think you have it upside down. Most blocks that are mounted on seat or cabin level travellers are rigged to release from the bottom of cleat which is made necesary by the geometry if the sheet is intended to be trimmed from the weather side of the block. As the block leans over to leeward and forward the cleat angles upward so that you could not release the sheet at all if the cleat is mounted so that you have to pull upward to release it. The only time that the cleat can be mounted so the line can be released by pulling upward is the case where the block is mounted at foot level as you might see in a racing dinghy.

Jeff
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