Are you sure that you have the pedal pulled forward and up so that it engages with the
When the pedal is in the "stowed" position it acts like there is no spring or contact.
If you pull the pedal up and forward, it will snap into place over the release bar and the spring in the release bar acts to give the pedal it's release/locked positions.
It was made this way so that sailors who do not take full advantage of the sliding mast
foot can simply disengage the pedal and the mast foot stays in whatever slot it's locked in.
My early Phantom was a little tricky to figure out just how to pull the pedal to get it to engage, but once I learned the trick, it became very easy.
Hope this helps,