samc99us

Harken GP Blocks

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So Harken has a new set of blocks on the market: http://www.harken.com/productdetail.aspx?id=47404

They were first spotted at N17 Europeans but demo sets have been around for longer. Top A-Cat sailors have been using them as well: 21273045_1179570335520824_60529277664716

So, my question is, does Harken plan to release these in a quad block setup rather than the 6x6 setup? 12:1 purchase is overkill for many situations IMO, and paying 3x what a standard 10:1 mainsheet costs only to re-reeve the 12:1 down to 10:1 seems ludicrous to me.

The other question is, does Harken have any plans to carry these blocks into other product lines? Word on the street is they are much lower friction than anything else out there.

 

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I have no idea about the block supply, but I do have a question about how come catamarans seem to need a billion to one mainsheet when  a keel boat with a similar size main has like 4:1 or 5:1... does anyone know why the need for the extra purchase? Thanks! and sorry about the threadjack, it's just something I've always wondered about...

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I have not called Harken directly, that is on my to do list (they are usually rather responsive). Was hoping someone here had some insight/feedback from the design team.

Overdraft, a big reason is we don't use vangs for leech control. Second reason is our apparent wind speed is in the neighborhood of 3x that of keelboats with similar sized mains, hence ~9x the force.

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I understand the need and the interest... but my first reaction when I clocked on the link was... Wow that's expensive! And it looks huge and clumsy. 

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Martin,

  Its cleaner than their stock 12:1 mainsheet systems: https://www.murrays.com/product/28-121/

  I spoke with the lead engineer over at Harken on this project, the design brief was to develop the ultimate N17 mainsheet system, where there are a lot of smaller female crews doing the brunt of the work (and the loads are higher than pretty much anything out there because of the foiling). They aren't expecting to sell a lot, and right now they don't have any 8:1 or 10:1 systems in the works.

Also, I believe the block setup shown above isn't a Harken product.

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Yes, but in a configuration that is a bit bulkier than a standard 10:1. There may be a lower purchase version coming at some point.

Regardless it's a niche product with a specific use case-the N17, as posted by the detailed Q&A Harken recently posted. The 12:1 is needed in that application because of the female crew and the block configuration required to get maximum aft mast rake in breeze on conditions.

I will say I have recently switched from 10:1 to 12:1 on the F18 with the boomless Decksweeper, loads are higher than on the conventional setup and I can see how a smoother running system would be nice in lighter conditions.

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Oh yes! I did see those in our local chandlery Fox's Chandlery here in Ipswich but they were quite pricey. Anyway went to actually buy some of the new Soft Attach blocks carbo air blocks. Didn't have a chance to try them out yet but aren't they pretty similar to the ones above? They have a wide range of products from other manufacturers also like Barton, Lewmar, Allen Dinghy but I still believe that Harken ARE BEST!!! Anyway, the setup above it doesn't look like a Harken setup for me or maybe I'm wrong :)). 

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On 1/9/2018 at 1:13 PM, Steal Your Face said:

Sam C.  Have you called Harken and asked them?

Yur funny.

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A friend of mine who works for a local chandlery told me that Harken asked all it's retailers to stay within 10% of their RRP otherwise they will no longer supply them. 

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On 10/01/2018 at 12:46 AM, overdraft said:

I have no idea about the block supply, but I do have a question about how come catamarans seem to need a billion to one mainsheet when  a keel boat with a similar size main has like 4:1 or 5:1... does anyone know why the need for the extra purchase? Thanks! and sorry about the threadjack, it's just something I've always wondered about...

I’m no multihull expert but from what I have learned from chatting with multihull mates it is to do with the fact that there is no vang on most multis, but there is a traveler. On fungus and skiffs the vang takes the vertical loading of the boom and the leech tension while the main sheet plays the boom twist and a bit of the vertical play. On multi’s the main is all into the leech tension and vertical boom movement while you play boom rotation with the trav. 

Maybe another contributing factor is that the masts on cats are usually so much thicker than skiffs and Singh’s so it takes a bit more grunt to get some bend in  

Again, I’m no expert on this. I sail skiffs and fungus and this is just what I am thinking and deducing from bits I’ve heard from multihull sailors

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On 4/16/2018 at 7:03 AM, sor1n3l said:

Oh yes! I did see those in our local chandlery Fox's Chandlery here in Ipswich but they were quite pricey. Anyway went to actually buy some of the new Soft Attach blocks carbo air blocks. Didn't have a chance to try them out yet but aren't they pretty similar to the ones above? They have a wide range of products from other manufacturers also like Barton, Lewmar, Allen Dinghy but I still believe that Harken ARE BEST!!! Anyway, the setup above it doesn't look like a Harken setup for me or maybe I'm wrong :)). 

Those blocks have been on the market for quite some time. They are nice, but depending on the application Ronstan has some nice alternatives. I prefer the Orbit 20 lashing block to the Harken 18mm T2 as it accepts a larger range of line sizes for the same weight, has never failed me and is quite reasonably priced. For high load applications where friction is also a concern, the Ronstan Orbit 30mm Lashing with Nylatron sheave is hard to beat (RF35101D). I do like the Harken 40mm T2 if you need a block of that size range.

inebriated, you have it correct in terms of how the loads are applied, though getting mast bend in isn't really the issue (spreaders, diamond and downhaul does most of that work). The trouble is the leech loads keep going up as we are now foiling, or if not foiling running decksweepers which have longer luffs and hence more power in them. I used to comfortably run a 10:1 mainsheet on the F18. Now I'm at 12:1. Once you are there, you introduce another problem-rolling friction in 12 sheaves is not zero! Its actually quite high, and that can limit the release speed. This is why Harken developed the GP blocks. From all accounts they are a marvel of engineering. Pricey, but solve all the base problems inherent in the 10:1 and 12:1 stock systems.

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Oh, I should point out the Harken Carbo Air blocks DO NOT use the GP ceramic bearings.

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No, they don't actually! These ones are on Delrin ball bearings with curved bearing races. I will have a look at the Ronstan ones. They don't sell them in our local chandlery but can search online for them. I do like to feel them before I buy them though :D

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Oh yes! Agree! Allen is part of Holt manufacturer now and to be honest I noticed that Holt has also launched a new range of blocks for dinghies which are a much better alternative for the Harken ones. Also, Allen blocks are very competitive on prices comparing to the BIG BRANDS and if you are not ready to spend a fortune on your deck hardware then is the go-to brand. I also must say that they don't just do blocks. They have a wide range of parts for almost any boat like cleats, clams, shackles if I'm not wrong and all sorts of bits and bobs for boats.

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have never been impressed by the HA stuff i've seen - but it's been half a decade. 

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They are getting better and better at it. But is all down to own preference I should say. 

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There are certain blocks that HA is building/developing that the other guys aren't, for example their 2020XHL blocks for example that offer 50% greater working load than any other 20mm block (300kg vs. the Ronstan series 20 at 250kg, or even the Ronstan wire block at 200kg, or the Harken 22mm block at 95kg). The only issue is they aren't making these blocks in doubles and triples and I'd take a Ronstan Series 15 or Series 30 triple over the equivalent HA product most any day of the week. Still, I'm glad they are innovating as it pushes the competition to innovate back and we all win!

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May I point out that Allen has not had any dealings with Holt for well over 10 years. Allen continues to design, develop and manufacture Allen products here in the UK,  Allen are totally independent and still family owned. Besides the catalogue items we also made many bespoke products for boat builders around the world and I would hazard a guess that many of you have Allen products on your boats with out even knowing.

Perhaps you guys need to to at the Allen product again you may be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

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I still believe that Allen blocks are more for small dinghies rather than cruising yachts. You might be right! Actually, I believe that the reason why I have associate Allen with Holt is that Holt is the ones who market the products on Allen's behalf?

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