24 August 2007 | Prickly Bay
As usual I have a list of boat projects working. One of the things that I have resolved to square away is the swiveling main halyard block we have. Every time I attempt to raise the main I discover that the halyard parts are twisted, or worse, I don't discover this even though it has happened. There's nothing worse than raising a monster main sail and realizing that you can't take it to the top because the halyard is twisted (and it will not untwist on its own). Your choices are; lower the main and untwist the halyard or put in the first reef and leave it as is. I must admit I often choose the later.
I haven't figured out why I would want a swivel on this block yet. I sure as heck know that I want to be able to lock the swivel out though. The Lewmar block that came with the boat is fine but the lock out screws are too corroded to make use of.
Fred and I went to Budget Marine today to see about some parts. They had some blocks that would work but I just wasn't sold on the quality. This is an important and heavily used block. The riggers around back deal in Harken gear so I though I would give them a try.
They had a pretty good selection of stuff and I found a block that had been rated quite highly by Practical Sailor. After looking in the catalog to ensure it had enough working load rating I decided to take it. We are talking about a block here. Not a snatch block or a fancy multipart rig with a jammer, just a block. And the price was: $300 US. It was even scarier quoted in EC ($800). Folks like their Harken stuff and I'm sure that it is a great block, but please! I have it installed and will dutifully report on its performance. I am expecting the main sail to more or less raise itself.
Meanwhile back at the boat, Fred had gone on a mission to fix the Lewmar block. After snapping four or five drill bits he got the seized screws drilled out of the swivel lock out holes. This took some time. He then re-tapped them, which was fairly easy with the aluminum frame. Another trip to budget and we turned up the exact screws. Amazing! Now we have a spare block in reserve, which is always a nice thing. Thanks Fred!!