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Old 15-12-2009, 10:09   #1
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Rigging Primer

Hi All -

I am a relatively new sailor, and trying to make some improvements to my rigging. It seems everywhere I read uses different language - for instance I want to install a jib downhaul - some of the online guides say to use a 'snatch' block at the bow plate. Some rigging websites/stores list snatchblocks and then other blocks with no 'name' that look just the same.

Another example - turning block - I can't get a straight definition of what this is.

Does anyone know of a good resource for breaking the jargon down?

Thanks

Sandy
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Old 15-12-2009, 10:34   #2
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Sandy -
Invest in a West Marine catalog. Not only does it show you what the item looks like, you have a source if you want.
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Old 15-12-2009, 11:28   #3
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Go to Brion Toss dot com and order his rigging primer. Good place to start or end for that matter.
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Old 15-12-2009, 15:34   #4
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Thanks - west marine is a great example - they list 5 snatch blocks, and all except for their 'dinghy' snatch block are over $100.00 - now if I go to a website like Sailboat blocks they have blocks that look like they would serve the exact same purpose for $30-$50 with no 'type'

Any input?
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Old 15-12-2009, 16:07   #5
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good blocks are expensive; cheap blocks are cheap. if you're trying to save a buck, what you want to do--assuming here that you're a cruiser--is to avoid paying for lightweight racing blocks that you'll never take advantage of. If you look at the Harken catalogue, for example, you'll discover that they have a line of heavier blocks for cruisers called their "ESP" line. Check out pages 71-73 of their 2009 catalog. I can assure you from experience that these are great blocks that will outlast the generic gear made by such manufacturers as Lewmar, Shaefer and Garhauer.

A block that has to turn a load 180 degrees is going to do a lot more work than a block that only turns a load 90 degrees. In high-load situations where the load changes more than 90 degrees, turning blocks are often the solution because they can deal with the greatest load. Like cheek blocks, they attach directly to the deck without using shackles for attachment. You'll often see these used on big boats between the jib fairlead and the winch.

I would not want to use a snatchblock for a jib downhaul. Some sort of stand-up block will fare much better on the bow over time. A snatch block is going to want to beat itself to death up there.

Realize that all rigging is impermanent. Just as running rigging and standing rigging needs to be replaced periodically, so do blocks. Good blocks not only last a lot longer than cheap blocks, but they are safer because they'll be less likely to blow apart at precisely the wrong moment. I've seen a vang block blow itself right through a dodger window. Once you've witnessed such a thing, you don't mind paying a few extra bucks for the good stuff, especially once you discover that a block that costs 30% more lasts more than twice as long.
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Old 15-12-2009, 16:13   #6
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Might try Garhauer for your hardware Garhauer Marine Hardware -487241. They generally have decent prices on their stuff which is all hell for stout.

Snatch blocks can be opened up so you can insert a line at any point along the line. Invaluble for sheets or other lines that will be rerun or changed often. They also have snapshackles so the can be moved to different locations easily. There are two types of snap shackles on the blocks, the original style have a standard snap shackle and will work on almost any padeye or track car. The trunion snap shackle style have greater articulation needed for the perforated aluminun toe rails like are on the C&C boats. The trunion snapshackles are expensive so cheaper to go with standard shackle type unless you have the need for the trunion.

A turning block is a deck mounted block designed to redirect a line close to 180 degrees like for a spinnaker sheet run to the stern and then forward to a winch. A lot of racing boats also use them for regular sheets so various lines can be run to one winch and not interfere with other hardware. Because they turn the lines way more than 90 degrees, the loads are close to doubled so they tend to be pricey because of the strength required.

There are also deck organizers that are designed to change a lines direction by less than 90 degrees. These are typically used to run lines back to the cockpit from the mast with angle changes of less than 45 degrees. Because of the low angle change of the line, these are typically lightly built and cheaper that turning blocks.

You can pick up midsized snatch blocks on Ebay for around $50. Used seems to be just fine as these blocks are built strong. Mine are going on 40 years and 3 boats. For a downhaul, a small snatch block should work just fine.
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Old 15-12-2009, 17:01   #7
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Sandy -
You don't say what type of boat you have or where you're located, but your next order of business should be to find a near-by used marine equipment store. If you are just learning on a small used boat your mantra should be "Never pay retail", followed by "Never buy new when used will do".
Chandleries which deal with commercial fishermen rather than yachties usually have much better prices although they might not have everything you want.
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Old 15-12-2009, 17:45   #8
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go to marine consignment shops once you figure out what you need as Roverhi said his are 40 yrs young. our's are 30 yrs young (snatch block), just cleaned them last winter, don't when if ever they cleaned an lubed before. bought boat in 04. anyway you don't need new unless you can't find what you are looking for used.i don't know why you can't use a non-stand up block for this you just have to hoist sail then put a little tension on the down haul line to stop the block from flailing around when changing tacks or getting ready to drop it.!
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:47   #9
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Thanks for all of the terrific responses!

First of all, the boat is a 23' south coast seacraft sloop.

Attached is a couple of pictures of the boat. The mast has no plate or step (actually I am not sure how it's attached to the boat), and the cam-cleats for the jib on top of the cabin need to be replaced (and relocated if I want). The winches on either side are apparently for the genoa only (the angle causes the sheet to get fouled if I use the jib sheet with the winch) and has NO cleats behind it so I need to add a cam or deck cleat there.

I'd love suggestions on the simplest way to rig this for single-handed sailing - it would be great to run the halyards further aft, although it's fairly easy to stand in the cabin and work them from the mast without putting myself in any danger if the water is rough, but it means I have to leave the tiller. Likewise, it would be nice to cleat the jib-sheets closer to the tiller, and be able to work the jib down-haul I want to install.

Do I need to attach some sort of blocks to my mast to turn the sheets into a deck organizer or other leads, or is there a clean simple way to lead them without that?

Thanks

Sandy





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Old 16-12-2009, 14:49   #10
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Hi - The pictures don't seem to be showing up, but they are in my gallery. I copied the link from there...
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