Installing blocks at the mast
21 January 2008 | The Lagoon
Brent and Ian came by early today to push forward on the final grinding in the bows. Richard from Turbulence Rigging also came by in the afternoon. Richard brought the rest of our hardware. Bringing reef one leach and luff, reef two leach and luff, the topping lift, and the main halyard back to the cockpit required a bit of gear. We purchased the Lewmar rope clutches in Trinidad at Budget Rigging and bought everything else from Richard. Richard was able to get the bits we needed that he did not have in stock (Turbulence carries an impressive bit of stock) in less than a week.
At the end of the project our parts list looked like this:
Lewmar Triple Rope Clutch WLL:1,550
$245.00 2 $490.00
Clutch Mounting Nuts, Bolts and Washers
$1.00 12 $12.00
Harken Large Boat Quad Sheave Deck Organizer (6067) WLL:8,000 $124.15 2 $248.29
Organizer Mounting Nuts, Bolts and Washers
$1.00 8 $8.00
Harken 75mm Black Magic Air Blocks Double Straphead (3095) WLL:7,500
$641.13 2 $1,282.26
Harken 75mm Black Magic Air Blocks Single Straphead (1999) WLL:5,000
$356.89 1 $356.89
Harken 75mm Black Magic Air Blocks Single Footblock (1972) WLL:5,250
$297.06 1 $297.06
Harken Diamond Pad Eyes (688) WLL:5,000
$30.06 3 $90.19
Dynema Attachment Loops WLL:5,600
$2.00 3 $6.00
Reef #1 Luff Line (12mm Dyneema) * WLL:750
$3.70 100 $370.00
Reef #1 Leach Line (12mm Dyneema) * WLL:750
$3.70 125 $462.50
Topping Lift Line (12mm Dyneema) * WLL:750
$3.70 175 $647.50
Reef #3 Luff Line (12mm Dyneema) * WLL:750
$3.70 150 $555.00
Reef #3 Leach Line (12mm Dyneema) * WLL:750
$3.70 175 $647.50
* Safety factor of 10x used for lines (MBL 7,500 = WLL 750)
Grand Total $5,473.21
I watched carefully as Richard installed the pad eye for the double strap head block that would carry the lines for reef one. I the only thing I hate more than drilling holes in my boat is watching other people drill holes in my boat. I have become very particular about the process.
After drilling the holes in the mast, bedding the hardware with 5200 and isolating the screws with Tefgel we mounted the pad eyes for the double strap-head blocks for reef one and reef two.
I love the strap-head blocks. They are much more flexible than shackled blocks. You can completely and easily adjust the length of the Dyneema attachment loops to get a perfect fit, unlike shackles. The Dyneema loops are much stronger than the 316 stainless shackles and in the basket configuration you have four lines connecting the block to the pad eye. Lastly the Dyneema connections don't clank around and they are easy to replace when need be. This seems to be the way racing boats are going more and more but I think it is the best attachment means for many cruising applications as well.
Richard and I replaced the reef one leach line with a longer Dyneema 12mm line that reached back to the cockpit and then installed the new luff line. Some folks tie the luff line to the boom and then run it through the cringle and back. I just put a bolin on the existing webbing ring and brought the line back. This way I don't have to spring for another block or deal with chafe from the line running through a raw cringle. I lose the double line from the boom but if things are that hairy I will just clip the tack in using the old, fully functional, reefing system. Incidentally, this old system uses clips attached to mast pad eyes with Spectra. The luff lines run cleanly right from the cringle down to the blocks at the base of the mast without requiring any holes in the sail bag.
Richard had to call it a day but I was happy to have witnessed an entire set of operations necessary to attach hardware to the mast. As Richard informed me that he wasn't sure when he would be able to return, the Regatta was coming up and he is an avid racer, I had the feeling that I might require these skills sooner rather than later.