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Better block selection helps keep top sailors at the front

by Ben McGrane & Harken 6 Oct 2017 18:56 BST 6 October 2017
Harken blocks help keep top sailors at the front of the fleet © Alistair Deaves / OK Class Association

Tips from the Top - Better block selection helps keep top sailors at the front

When looking at this year's results in the International OK Dinghy class, there are two names that stand out above the rest: Nick Craig and Jim Hunt. For those following results in the build up to the World Championships, it quickly became apparent that one of these two multiple-World-Champions would likely be adding another title to their tally.

It is of no great surprise that Nick and Jim work closely together and have done for many years. Jim, being the H of HD sails, has long been Nick's chosen sailmaker and both recognise the importance of training with the best competitors available to have the best chance of victory at the main Championship.

With both Nick and Jim taking delivery of new boats this year and exploring equipment options, Harken used the opportunity to leave no stone unturned. Several small refinements were made to the fitting kits for these new boats. Tie-on products were introduced where the attachment point allowed the use of rope for better articulation and reduced weight. The key area of focus was the mainsheet system, which on a 3:1 purchase is quite heavily loaded and with a rule dictating the sheet most be trimmed from the last block of the system at all times.

Turning the ratchet off downwind to assist with fast trim changes and easier easing whilst pumping is common within the fleet. In considering options Jim took the decision to try a 75mm Harken ratchet block as the larger switch would be easier to change quickly and the larger sheave diameter would offer a reduction in friction.

Both sailors reported clear benefits of the considered features. They also found the bigger block beneficial upwind, with the 75mm sheave offering better holding power, smaller increments in trim between each ratchet click and smoother easing of the 9mm mainsheet. An all-round clear improvement and worthwhile upgrade which they will continue to use in the OK going forwards.

When asked the question why they chose Harken hardware both Nick and Jim deliver very similar answers, "why would you consider using anything else?" Both recognise the importance of using the best equipment available in their quest to record top results, acknowledging the superior performance and reliability of Harken equipment.

The future of the OK class looks bright, with multiple builders and strong International competition there is plenty to attract new sailors, what also looks certain is Nick Craig and Jim Hunt will continue to push themselves to stay ahead of the rest and Harken fittings will continue to be the widely chosen hardware manufacturer for the OK class.

To read more about ratchet blocks and how to choose the best block for you and your boat, whatever the application, see

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