How to use the ratchet block?
The ratchet block supplied as standard with all Tiwal boats helps you to hold the sheet without having it cleated off: as soon as you release the sheet, it releases the sail which then spills the wind.
This is very reassuring in gusty conditions or if you lose your balance, to avoid capsizing and to bring the boat back level quickly, or to simply slow down.
To sail well, the use of a ratchet block is very useful because it allows you to be in direct contact with the sheet, to feel the tension on it and to quickly adjust your sail trim. What’s more, you’ve got the option to disengage the brake function for better feel in light airs.
For example: when the sail loses the wind, the tension in the sheet decreases, you know right away that you have sheet in (pull).
Also, at each change of course or speed, it is important to try to maintain the optimum sail/wind angle by adjusting the angle of the sail in relation to the boat (sheet control).
For example: when coming closer to the wind, you sheet the sail in, and when bearing away, you ease the sail out. In the same way, when you accelerate, you sheet in and when you slow down, you ease the sheet.
The same goes for negotiating waves and any chop, managed by coordinating the actions of the helm and the tension of the sheet. Ultimately, you can be trimming the sail incessantly if you want to get the most out of your boat. But you can also choose a more relaxed way of sailing 🙂.
Sailing solo, you only have two hands and one of them is already busy holding the tiller, or tiller extension. To be able to sheet in easily without letting go of the tiller, nor using your teeth, the trick is to take the sheet in your hand that’s further back, to free up the other hand and allow it to haul it in a little more.