By Eddie Cox

Having the correct amount of purchase on your mainsheet and hold on your mainsheet block can make a big impact on your sailing. More purchase on your mainsheet will make it significantly easier to trim, while more hold on your mainsheet block will make it easier to stay trimmed.

In the MC and Melges 14, having the proper mainsheet tension is key. We often see sailors under trimmed with the top third of their mainsail luffing. This is mainly a factor of not having enough hold on their mainsheet block but can also be due to not having the proper amount of mainsheet purchase. Being under trimmed reduces the load on the leach of your main and thus reduces your ability to point.

At the MC Blue Chip this fall, I switched my mainsheet block to a new 2x Grip Ratchet Block to facilitate trimming my mainsheet harder and keeping it trimmed. The benefits of this upgrade were even more apparent in heavy air; the 2x block drastically reduced the load on my mainsheet allowing me to maintain a tighter trim. This gave me superior height compared to the fleet while reducing muscle fatigue.

If you have an older MC, you may also need a ratchet extender. The ratchet extender raises the level of your mainsheet to prevent it from rubbing on the hiking straps and deck. The ratchet extender also serves as an adapter between the older Harken swivel bases and the new Harken ratchet blocks.

In the E Scow, C Scow, and X Boat, mainsheet block holding power is also extremely important. Holding power is the amount of load your ratchet block takes versus the amount of load you have to hold in your hand. Keeping mainsheet load out of your hand allows you to keep the mainsheet out of the cleat – something that is easier said than done. It also reduces fatigue allowing you to sail harder, longer.

Melges offers purchase upgrades for the MC Scow and the E Scow. The 5:1 mainsheet upgrade kit will make it easier for you to trim your mainsheet on your MC. On the E-Scow, 3:1 purchase is what is standard on all new models. If your boat has a 2:1 setup, it’s time to upgrade – your bow person will thank you.

Ready to upgrade? Shop Melges today at! Free shipping on all blocks and cleats.

Harken Grip Ratchet Blocks
Click to View All Ratchet Blocks
Melges 14: 57 mm T2 Soft Attach Ratchamatic Block – 2x Grip, Harken 2170
MC & E Scows: 75 mm Ratchet Block Swivel, 2x Grip, Harken 2176
C: 75 mm Ratchet Block – Swivel, 1.5x Grip, Harken 2174
X Boat Main: 75 mm Ratchet Block Swivel, 2x Grip, Harken 2176
X Boat Jib & Opti: 57 mm Ratchet Block – Swivel, 1.5x Grip, Harken 2166

Sheet Upgrade Kits
MC Scow: 5:1 Mainsheet Upgrade Kit
E Scow: 3:1 Continuous Jib Sheet Upgrade Kit