Latest News: Forums Technical Ratchet blocks for genoa sheetss

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  • #4094
    nickgiles
    Participant

    With the passage of time we are finding it increasingly hard to sheet in our genoa and hold the tension as I am not keen to cleat the sheet for obvious reasons. Would ratchet blocks be a the answer? The Ronstan series 55 Orbit looks as though it might fit do the job. However before spalshing out £100 for the pair it would be helpful to know how well they or any other ratchet blocks work for the genoa.
    As always your views are much appreciated. Nick
    Lizzie B 9922

    #9535
    triton
    Participant

    Why do you not cleat the genoa, or do you sail in a very gusty area?

    I mainly sail in The Solent and have never really thought about not cleating the genoa, even in F5 touching F6.
    I do hold the uncleated mainsail sheet ready for easing when necessary, by which time my crew will have responded on the genoa if required.

    Having check out the specifications on your proposed purchase, it does specify applications for dinghy mainsheet systems, no mention of genoa.
    http://www.tridentuk.com/sailing/product-Ronstan_Series_55_Orbit_Ratchet_Block___Link_Head-RORF56101.html

    Judging by this, it seems more complicated to release than an ordinary cleat, unless I have misunderstood something.
    http://www.myboatsgear.com/featured_product/Ronstan%20Orbit%20Blocks.asp

    As you can tell, I have no experience of using such a system.

    #9540
    nickgiles
    Participant

    Many thanks Norman fo your reply. Cleating the genoa causes problems in that my crew has difficulty in uncleating! When a gust hits I often have to dive down to the leeward side to get sheet out of the cleat- not ideal. Perhaps I need new sheet and clamcleats, or crew but the latter isn’t really an option! Nick.

    #9541
    triton
    Participant

    Hi Nick,

    I think most of us have found a cleat not releasing as quickly as we would like on occasions.
    I use the standard fitting as shown here.
    http://www.tridentuk.com/sailing/product-Sliding_Sheet_Leads_with_Horizontal_Alanite_Cam_Cleat-1_JHHA4274.html

    Mine is mounted on the side deck. I use a Genoa sheet that is the same thickness as the mainsail sheet, about 10mm or 12 mm thick, which is more substantial than normal but does allow a good grip on it. Not wishing to teach you how to suck eggs, but a quick yank in an upwards direction will normally release it at the first attempt 90% of the time.

    Moving the Genoa track inboard onto the front side benches will not only allow better pointing but as the bench is lower than the side deck, it may help when yanking the sheet upwards to release it. This may not be practical if you go cruising or require the front benches for sitting.

    Obviously, check your existing cleats to ensure they have free but not excessive movement.

    #9543
    Bob Harland
    Participant

    Nick, The drawback with the std fairlead/clamcleat is that the clamcleat takes quite load – and as you say is difficult to release.
    A common solution is to use a swivel jammer in conjunction with a turning block. The turning block is usually ratchet.

    [attachment=0:3i1945ef]JibSheeting.jpg[/attachment:3i1945ef]

    The turning block in this photo is out of sight under the side deck. Because the turning block takes much of the load it is much easier to release the sheet at the jammer.
    And if the crew is occupied it is a simple matter for the helm to trim the sheet at the swivel jammer.

    Hope that helps
    bob

    #9544
    nickgiles
    Participant

    Hi Bob,
    That’s helpful. Looks very similar to the arrangement shown on page 9 of the new Wayfarer book.
    I’ll give it some thought and see how we could fix it up on our World.
    Nick

    #9545
    mhardman
    Member

    Having done some research on capsizes it seems most of them are associated with a Genoa. Very few had a 100% or smaller Jib up. A smaller Jib has much less tendency to scoop the wind. So if sailing in gusty conditions that’s my suggestion, switch to a smaller sail and it’ll be much safer to cleat it off. I’ve been in gusts to 30 knots with my 95% jib cleated off and the boat still doesn’t go over.

    I was sailing a 25ft keelboat the other day, exactly the same. With 150% Genoa out the boat heeled like crazy in the gusts, but with it furled to 100% the boat was much happier. Big genoas are for up to 12 knots, no higher! I’ve heard of the really big ones being good only up to 7-9 knots.

    #9546
    nickgiles
    Participant

    Hi,
    Useful comments. I realized the other day when we were out in a force 2 gusting 5 that if the main is sheeted and the gust overpowering the boat tends to come up into the wind and so lose some of the force on the main.However if the genoa is sheeted the same gust tends to make the boat go off the wind and so there is no respite, it just heels more and more!
    We have a reefing genoa and so can reduce the size when ever we want but it can still be tiring pulling the sheet in and holding it so I am hoping that ratchet blocks might ease the situation. We’ll see
    Nick W9922

    #11295
    PeterW3035
    Member

    @Bob Harland wrote:

    Nick, The drawback with the std fairlead/clamcleat is that the clamcleat takes quite load – and as you say is difficult to release.
    A common solution is to use a swivel jammer in conjunction with a turning block. The turning block is usually ratchet.

    [attachment=0:36kyzrct]JibSheeting.jpg[/attachment:36kyzrct]

    The turning block in this photo is out of sight under the side deck. Because the turning block takes much of the load it is much easier to release the sheet at the jammer. And if the crew is occupied it is a simple matter for the helm to trim the sheet at the swivel jammer.
    Hope that helps
    bob

    Hi Bob

    I’m considering changing my fairleads and cleats to blocks and swivel jammers, any chance of re-posting the picture?

    Does anyone else use blocks & swivel jammers? I’m sure I have seen the jib sheets led across the boat to the opposing jammer so that the sheet is in easy reach of the helm for single handed sailing.

    #11296
    Dave Barker
    Keymaster

    Hi Peter,

    We have blocks and swivel jammers and have been happy with the result. Although we used ratchet turning blocks on Cockle we always seemed to leave the ratchets disengaged, so I didn’t bother with them when re-fitting Shearwater last year.

    Not using the rear benches provided a space on the thwart and some spare material to make a transverse wooden mounting block/pad for the turning cheek blocks, one either side of the boat. They’re immediately aft of the front bench ends.

    I haven’t seen sheets cleated right across the boat, but it might be helpful when singlehanded either to tie the ends of the sheets together or rig the genoa sheets continuously, with the ends tied to the genoa clew. Either way guarantees that you can reach the sheet without leaving your windward perch.

    #11297
    nickgiles
    Participant

    Hi Dave,
    Backtracking to my original post, Ralph Roberts cast his eye over our setup when we met at the Isle of Wight rally two or three years ago. He pointed out that the cleats were raised too high on tall spacers with the result that the sheet had to be tugged upwards to release from the clam cleat. By lowering the cleats (and replacing them with new ones) a straight tug on the sheet releases it. To cleat one merely has to bend a little to pull the sheet down into the cleat. A much safer solution that hasn’t failed us yet and of course much cheaper than rachet blocks.

    Sorry to have diverted the course of the discussion but felt it appropriate to report a very satisfactory solution to our problem and acknowledge Ralph’s help.
    Nick
    W9922

    #11299
    Dave Barker
    Keymaster

    Hi Nick,

    That’s a very worthwhile point and a generous acknowledgement. The difference between a cleat that too high – almost dangerously so, and one that’s so low that the crew can’t comfortably cleat the sheet into it – is not huge, and not that easy to check without actually fitting the cleat to the boat and trying it out. Well worth getting it just right though.

    #11300
    PeterW3035
    Member

    @Dave Barker wrote:

    Hi Peter,

    We have blocks and swivel jammers and have been happy with the result. Although we used ratchet turning blocks on Cockle we always seemed to leave the ratchets disengaged, so I didn’t bother with them when re-fitting Shearwater last year.

    Not using the rear benches provided a space on the thwart and some spare material to make a transverse wooden mounting block/pad for the turning cheek blocks, one either side of the boat. They’re immediately aft of the front bench ends.

    I haven’t seen sheets cleated right across the boat, but it might be helpful when singlehanded either to tie the ends of the sheets together or rig the genoa sheets continuously, with the ends tied to the genoa clew. Either way guarantees that you can reach the sheet without leaving your windward perch.

    I do normally tie the sheets ends together making it easier just to hang onto the sheet rather than trying to find the new one.

    Any chance of a photo showing the turning block? Bramble is a Mk 1 composite, so layout is like a woodie. It seems to me there’s space to get the turning block tucked away at the end of the thwart?

    #11306
    Bob Harland
    Participant

    I don’t have a photo to hand of our boat, but I do have this one of “Bucks Fizz. You can just make out that the turning block is fastened to the knee adjacent to the thwart.
    This boat has a fairly standard racing layout – lots of string. The genoa sheeting also works very well on a cruising boat.
    If you can afford ratchet blocks then I think they are worth having – when cleated the ratchet will continue to take some of the load and make is easier to uncleat the sheet – especially if you are in a hurry.
    Hope that helps

    [attachment=0:1z2mwz4n]BucksFizz2.jpg[/attachment:1z2mwz4n]

    #11310
    Colin Parkstone
    Participant

    I would say to stay away from the mainsheet type jammer, cost is higher, more to go wrong and not sure you get the best cleat for the job in them.

    I would, and have gone for the cleat on a height block with a fairlead.

    I find the fairlead over the cleat lets me as a helm adjust the genoa sheet from an aft angle when the spi is up and it always goes into the cleat. Some people like them open to let you adjust the sheet from an aft or forward position, the choice is yours!

    Then have a floating ratchet block which is NOT automatic, a switched one is best so it lets you have it on or off as that clicking in light winds drives me mad!!!! Also a ratchet that has some adjustment in the time or weight it comes on for differing crew strengths.

    It is a 35 to 40mm dia block, I find i dont need the 52mm size and this one needs less room for fitting. Fit a hold up spring as a floating block falls over and hits things.

    Not that the others do not do a good job but after years of sailing I go for Harken, the cost to me is worth it as they just work and feel so good. But we all have a budget and Harken can take a big lump out of it!!!!

    Ratchet and good cleats also allow you to use a thinner sheet that goes through the fairleads and blocks better in light winds.

    CP

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