Why is it difficult to ease my sheet?
Why won’t my sheet ease properly?
If your mainsheet does not ease well and the rope has a lot of friction, it is difficult to sail. This is particularly noticeable when there is not a lot of wind. This friction can have multiple causes. One of the reasons could be that there is a lot of resistance on the bearings. Read our blog on the different types of bearings in blocks and pulleys.
Check whether your ropes and blocks are clean. Especially when sailing at sea, dirt and salt can get into ropes and blocks. This will make the sheet stiff and the bearings will no longer work properly.
Avoid dirt and salt in your blocks and ropes
Rinse your ropes regularly with fresh water and keep them clean. Do not use aggressive cleaning agents. This will dissolve the protective coating on the ropes, causing the ropes to age faster and become stiffer.
Your blocks should also be kept clean. Dirt and salt will cause the bearings to malfunction. Therefore, rinse your blocks regularly with fresh water. For further maintenance and proper functioning of the blocks, you can use McLube One-Drop. This is the only recommended product for the maintenance of the bearings in the blocks. This conditioner and lubricant prevents salt, sand and dirt from sticking to the bearings. Be careful with other lubricants. Often the bearing becomes too slippery, causing them to slide instead of roll. The bearing will wear out and become ‘square’. Eventually the block will no longer work properly.
Comfortable in the hand might not be the right size
Sometimes a sheet get chosen because they are comfortable in the hand. It’s easily forgotten that it is important to choose the right diameter. Read our blog about measuring a rope’s diameter. It often happens that a sheet is too thick. This will lead the (bending)resistance to increase, and eventually the sheet will not, or hardly, ease. The average ball bearing has about 2% resistance. When in a block, about 3% resistance will be added due to the bending of the rope. If you have a thick and stiff rope, this resistance increases considerably.
A useful rule of thumb for blocks and ropes is to use a ratio of 6:1. Meaning that a 10mm rope will go well with a 60mm block/disk. A thinner rope (or bigger block) is not a problem, the other way round is.
It is often indicated what the maximum diameter of the rope is that goes with the block. We advise to always choose a ropes that is 1 diameter smaller than the indicated maximum. If you can put a 12mm rope through a block, a 10mm diameter is recommended. You will find that the ratio of 6:1 is about right.