Sunfish mainsheet cleat question

I need to start getting the replacement parts for the sunfish.  This gives me a chance to redo some things with newer/better designs.  I’ve seen several different layouts for the mainsheet cleat.  Here is what I had before.  Notice it has a cleat right there on the swivel base.  I didn’t take a picture of it, but I think it also had a cleat (might have just been the kind you tie off) right below the swivel inside the cockpit, on the front center.  (You can see the two holes left over from it)

2012-06-02  Original equipment

2012-06-02 Original equipment

I saw this swivel ratchet on a pretty boat that was on craigslist. Notice that it has a cleat on either side of the cockpit and the ratchet that the mainsheet goes through is on a swivel.  The sunfish at BCYC have the same kind of ratchet.  I like the ratchet and think I’ll switch over, what about the cleats?

Alternate MainSheet Cleat Position

Alternate MainSheet Cleat Position

Which way is better?

I’m especially looking for input from My2Fish, but anyone else with an opinion is free to join in.


2 thoughts on “Sunfish mainsheet cleat question

  1. ok, I’ll bite.

    definitely recommend a ratcheting mainsheet block (I have the Harken 2135, but I’m sure a Ronstan or other similar block would be fine). the ratcheting one I have has grooves in the sheave on the block that grip the mainsheet, and reduce the amount of line pull your hands actually see.

    for a cleat option, I wouldn’t recommend the 2 side cleats. I’ve seen them before, too… but I think they would really hurt if someone sat on them (you or your passenger sitting up in the forward area of the cockpit).

    additionally, the general vibe I get from reading the Sunfish Forum is that cleating your line while under sail can be a bit dangerous if the wind is gusting hard, and you might not be quick enough to uncleat the line, and then spill the sail to prevent a capsize.

    the 2 holes in the cockpit lip are from the original hook – that’s all it was. it was a knee killer, though, so I wouldn’t go back to it.

    I really like the small cam cleat (Harken 150) I put on my older Sunfish, right at that location, though.

    after this picture, I’ve since added the stand-up spring (Harken H071) and the spring cup on top of that (Harken HSB2) – it keeps the mainsheet block from flopping around and scratching up the deck.

    this small cleat does allow me to cleat the line, but I usually will only do so in really light winds, to grab a drink or something. I’ve been really happy with that setup.


    • wow. great answer. good point about the two side cleats being uncomfortable to sit on. I’ll go with the one cleat in the center. I trust myself not to cleat the main in high wind, and I’ll make sure I get that ratchet with the grooves.

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