Blocks for yachting, boats and sailboats: which is the best choice?

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Types and forms of use

Blocks have been used for sailing for time immemorial, they are used to reduce mechanical load and redirect lines such as halyards, sheets, and guys to more comfortable positions, thereby facilitating easier operation aboard a vessel.

There are many types of blocks with different configurations and accessories that facilitate sailing functionalities today.

Currently, blocks are used in all types of vessels, including dinghies, windsurfers, and kayaks.

There are two types of blocks based on their construction: ball bearing blocks and non-ball bearing blocks.

Ball Bearing blocks

Ball bearing blocks are used for moderate and dynamic workloads. The ball bearings offer low friction and good rotation.

Non-Ball Bearing blocks

Non-ball bearing blocks are specific for high static workloads and offer very high performance, mainly used with halyards, mainsheet systems, and reefing lines.

Small blocks can also be used for lines up to 5mm, and there are also very small ball bearing blocks available, such as the Ronstan Orbit Block Series 20.

One important thing to consider when buying a block for your boat is the diameter of the line that will work with the pulley. These measurements are in millimeters and are related to the resistance in kilograms you need. There are many options, from mooring ropes to anchor ropes and ropes for your sails.

You will see that each manufacturer makes their own recommendations, so it is always good to consult them beforehand.

In this article, we have included a selection of blocks that you can find in our online store so that you can choose the one that best suits the needs of your vessel.

Types of Blocks

SIMPLE BLOCK

Simple blocks are used for all types of tasks on boats, such as changing the direction of a rope and comfortably tightening or reefing sails. They are made up of a single pulley and transmit a force with an improvement in their load position.

In a simple block, the effort that is made is equal to the weight that is lifted, but the effort is facilitated by changing and adjusting the direction of the work done.

There are simple blocks with a swivel shackle such as the Ronstan Orbit Block Series 30 or blocks with a textile shackle such as the Ronstan Orbit Block 55.

They are specially constructed for nautical use, are waterproof, and resistant to corrosion by water and salt.

SIMPLE BLOCK WITH LOCK

You can choose the direction of rotation and leave it fixed to the side you need.

A good example of this type of professional block is the Ronstan 55 Orbit Block.

DOUBLE AND TRIPLE BLOCKS

They are blocks placed in parallel on the same structure.

Their uses can be very varied, such as in the main sheet or backstay systems for mounting lines or systems that reduce the workload required to hoist or trim a sail, for example.

An example of a double block is RONSTAN Series 30 Ball Bearing RF35202.

VIOLIN BLOCKS

Violin blocks are blocks composed of two pulleys or blocks, one located above the other (not in parallel like double blocks) with the purpose of achieving a better and reduced mechanical workload, being able to lift twice the weight with the same effort.

A good example is the Ronstan Series 40 Ball Bearing Utility violin block.

BLOCKS WITH ANCHOR POINT

The anchor point can be used for other uses.

The anchor point is an anchoring point located below the main block or pulley. It is used as an anchoring point to reinforce the line.

The anchor point also helps to maintain the orientation of the block by using an additional mooring line.

An example of a block with an anchor point is the Ronstan Series 40 Ball Bearing Utility Blocks rf40210.

JAW BLOCKS

They are those that have a jaw attached to the block structure, thus allowing the rope to be secured and held comfortably. Smaller blocks have a cleat instead of a jaw.

An example is the RONSTAN Series 40 Ball Bearing Utility Blocks RF45130.

FLAT BLOCKS

These are used especially to redirect a line. They are almost always fixed on the deck.

WINCH BLOCKS

Winch blocks are perfect for very high workloads. They work in two different modes that are operated through a switch and that allow the winch function to be connected or disconnected, allowing free rotation.

With the winch mode activated, it cannot be turned back, making it easier to hold the rope in one direction.

There are also automatic winch blocks. These are activated when a certain workload is detected.

In this way, the ratchet, the pawl or the holding mechanism is activated under a certain amount of load that allows it to rotate freely when the load is lightened.

This type of winch block is used for the mainsail in light sailing or for spinnaker sheets.

It is the perfect combination of control and comfort as it facilitates the grip of the sheet when it is reached, thus relieving the work of the person holding the sheet.

A good example of an automatic winch block is the RONSTAN Series 40 Ratchet Orbit Block RF46100.

TEXTILE BLOCKS

These textile blocks are designed to support very high working loads and their use is somewhat more static.

They are designed with a smooth and slippery half ring, with a very soft dyneema line and made of stainless steel.

An example of this new generation block is the Wichard MSLEvo.

RECESSED AND FIXED BLOCKS

The main feature is that they have a support that is screwed onto the deck at a fixed point. They are used to secure halyards or sheets and can have a cam cleat.

LOW-FRICTION RINGS

Low-friction rings are often used as a substitute for blocks without bearings.

They are a good choice, like textile blocks, for applications where a large, non-dynamic load is required. They provide very high working loads and require no maintenance.

They are generally made of anodized aluminum with a dyneema line, making them extremely resistant.

WINCHES AND WINDLASSES

This large lifting and hauling block for boats and ships is used for anchoring, mooring, raising the boat onto the trailer, and for lifting and hauling loads.

BOW BLOCKS AND ANCHOR ROLLERS

These blocks are fixed to the deck of the boat and are used in the maneuver of mooring and when hoisting the anchor, the auxiliary boats or other heavy objects.

Visit our main page to see these and other nautical blocks. Choose the ones that best suit your boat’s needs and enjoy your favorite sport on the sea.

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3 thoughts on “Blocks for yachting, boats and sailboats: which is the best choice?”

    1. Araceli Tanco

      Thank you for your comment!

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