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Old 10-26-2009, 02:23 AM   #1
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HI all

I am curious about the blocks you use aboard your boats.

i have looked around at rigging supply outlets, chandleries and on line. most often what i see are blocks that cannot be rebuilt at sea. I know that blocks are simple and dont break very often.

however; many blocks are in places that you cant afford to wait till port to make it right. Opinions and experiance/advice would be appreciated.
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:21 AM   #2
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HI all

I am curious about the blocks you use aboard your boats.

i have looked around at rigging supply outlets, chandleries and on line. most often what i see are blocks that cannot be rebuilt at sea. I know that blocks are simple and dont break very often.

however; many blocks are in places that you cant afford to wait till port to make it right. Opinions and experiance/advice would be appreciated.
Having an old boat, we've got tons of old traditional blocks which are infinitely rebuildable. Bronze sheave, bronze roller bearings, bronze shaft, bronze or stainless or carbon steel strap/cage and wood cheeks.

I was just in a local chandlery which carries spare sheaves for Harken, Lewmar, Schaefer, among others. Good quality blocks typically can be rebuilt.
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:33 AM   #3
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Hello There,

In trying to answer your questions will only deal with blocks that are found on the average cruising sailboat rather than delve into the hardware that is found on racing yachts and multihulls.

Here is a short list of the block types that could be found on a cruising sailboat of around 37ft.

Utility

All Purpose

Ball Bearing

High Load

Orbit Ratchet

Orbit

Lashing Block

Ratchet

2 Speed Mainsheet Systems

Roller Ball Bearing

And the most useful block to have when one of the above fails - is a 'Snatch Block'

Here is picture of a Ronstan RF 6841

Ronstan_Snatch_Block2.jpg



Applications


* Removable spinnaker sheet deflector blocks for boats up to 13m (43ft)

* Temporary sheeting point while changing sheets for boats up to 13m (43ft)

* Temporary reefing block for boats up to 13m (43ft)

* Spare or replacement block for general use on larger boats depending on line angle and load

* Temporary outboard sheet lead for headsail trimming

Ronstan_Snatch_Mechanism.jpg

Materials

* Grade 316 Stainless Steel frame, load strap sheave and needle roller bearings

* Soft, thermoplastic rubber cheeks

* Investment cast Grade 15-5PH Stainless Steel snap shackle

-------------------------------------

By the way, blocks do fail - usually because they have been installed where the loads and angles are too great. On racing sailboats and multihulls - blocks will explode when overloaded.
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Old 11-06-2009, 04:09 PM   #4
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To be able to effectively rebuild your blocks at sea, you would have to have parts for each type you have. Also, my experience is that whichever breaks first is the one which will break second, so you might need enough to rebuild that one more than once. Which one is it? You will probably have no idea until you get there.

I have an idea. I make no claim at all about the quality of this idea, I simply state that numerically, this is one (1) idea: Taking a spare block of each crucial type might not be more expensive than bringing rebuild parts for each. I don't know. This of course depends on your equipment, your ability to fix things, your tool set, your budget, the number of different pieces you would need to bring for spares, your storage ability, and many many other factors I couldn't even begin to think of.

Excellent question though.
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:06 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=name='MMNETSEA' date='Oct 26 2009, 02:33 PM' post='37582']

Hello There,

In trying to answer your questions will only deal with blocks that are found on the average cruising sailboat rather than delve into the hardware that is found on racing yachts and multihulls.

Hi,

We have a rule with all our blocks. First thing we do when we purchase them is to immediately drill out the centre pin and replace it with a heavy S/S bolt. We then buy some extra wheels (sorry a lil worse for wear this morning after some celebrations last night and I can't for the life of me remember what you call them ) We did this with all the existing blocks on Mico as some were looking a bit old and faded.

The point is, that should the 'wheels' fail under load (they usually explode) you can replace them easily and quickly. Undo the locknut and washers, slide out the barrel bolt, replace the wheel and reassemble.

Since we do this as a matter of course, we no longer have to undergo the frantic 'block two step shuffle' when one fails and we have to substitute it for another from somewhere else.

We have Ronstan cars and blocks through out and the only recourse you usually have is to replace the whole thing which is darn expensive. Drilling them out and carrying spare 'wheels' is a quick, safe and inexpensive solution we have found.

Fair winds
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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s (sorry a lil worse for wear this morning after some celebrations last night and I can't for the life of me remember what you call them ) We did this with all the existing blocks on Mico as some were looking a bit old and faded.

'sheaves'! they are called 'sheaves'

Thank gawd for strong coffee!
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Old 11-07-2009, 02:25 AM   #7
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Mico,

One of the things I like about having old-style blocks with wood cheeks and bronze sheaves is that pin you're talking about (the axle) is meant to be removed so the block can be taken apart, cleaned, lubed, etc. Whereas, new ones...seem to be put together to stay together...
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Old 11-07-2009, 03:34 AM   #8
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Mico,

One of the things I like about having old-style blocks with wood cheeks and bronze sheaves is that pin you're talking about (the axle) is meant to be removed so the block can be taken apart, cleaned, lubed, etc. Whereas, new ones...seem to be put together to stay together...
Couldn't agree more - not only practical but absolutely beautiful! I once purchased a broken down, worm eaten, carvel planked sloop just on the basis of the wooden and bronze blocks that came with it. Restoring the poor soul turned out to be beyond the stamina and expertise of my idealistic youth at the time - and while today, I'm probably in the same broken down state as that poor sloop - I still have the blocks

Things of beauty last for ever - the rest of us just go to pot
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:24 PM   #9
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since I posed my question i went looking for some more info.

I also looked at higher end blocks. while it is correct that some are fixable most are not now days. i just went and looked at a $400 block and its riveted/cast in one piece. the idea of drilling out the pin and replacing with a bolt is a good one. i cant think of how much money it would cost for a replacement block for every block on a boat.

I was kinda looking for alternatives; I think however i will stick to the simple home brew wood blocks. they might not cost 400 bucks but they aren't disposable either.
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:56 AM   #10
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Snatch blocks--oh, one of my favorite things

We have four and I'm glad of it!

Sort of like Norm Abrams on the New Yankee Workshop--the fellow who says you can't have too many clamps...well...I'm the gal who says you can't have too many blocks!

Fair winds,
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:51 PM   #11
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If your budget allows, buy good ball bearing blocks that are sized for the loads. The Harken and other block manuals show you how to calculate the proper loads for each use. Be conservative. The liklihood that they will break is miniscule. The suggestion that you carry a couple of good (read not cheap) snatch blocks is a great backup. I've got a whole lot of miles on some pretty highly loaded Antals, and havent seen a failure in 8 years of continuous service ... except for the snatchblocks of all things when they were used to rig preventers. They were Harkens and Harken rebuilt them for nothing ... not even freight ... just said that they were sorry and here's your new block.

If you are trying to rebuild ball bearing blocks, it might be difficult in an aggressive seaway.
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Old 12-23-2009, 06:29 PM   #12
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we will do that i found an outfit here that will make me blocks with sealed races that i just have to pop the old race out a pop in a new one. load calc is easy and all the blocks will be sized and a margin of error will be calc'ed in. the rigging will be on a cat so i feel better with a bit of extra heft. I am getting set to build the boat and the more bits i have in place now the better.
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