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New force in Orbit Block™ technology

by Rob Crowe, Ronstan 8 Dec 2008 16:05 GMT

At Ronstan we have created revolutionary Orbit Block systems featuring sheave sizes from 20mm up to 70mm. These are the new force in hardware technology that is giving the winning edge to the heavyweights of the sailing world.

Our Orbit Blocks™ are a no-compromise solution for the world’s racing sailors. Our blocks boast the use of advanced fibre and polymer technology that is up to 10 times stronger than steel yet more compact and lighter.

We have replaced virtually all metal components in our ball bearing Orbit Blocks™ with hi-tech polymers and fibre equivalents for optimum heavy duty performance in the lightest product possible. We have engineered out the heavy steel load straps, head posts, shackle, fasteners and cleating accessories, replacing the traditional shackle and post head with an innovative Dyneema® Link configuration that reflects the latest trends in development classes and Grand Prix ocean racing.

Laser world champion Michael Blackburn says we have produced blocks with the lowest weight possible that are ideal to handle the demands of all levels of sailing: from Opti’s to small one designs.

“I’d been looking for a while for something smaller and lighter that would still do the job and Orbits are definitely it,” he says.

International 14 duo Lindsay Irwin and Michael Perry say their main and spinnaker system blocks are 35 per cent lighter than those of our nearest competitor and have the highest strength-to-weight ratio available.

Our precision design locates the optimum number of ball bearings in loaded areas and eliminates them in inactive areas. Ineffective mass is further reduced through fibre-reinforced composites in the block head, cleat arms and beckets.

“The best thing about them is how they run under load,” says Irwin. “Actually the mainsheet runs like a b*stard. They almost run too fast. I had to get used to it, but I can sheet a whole lot more now. The holding power of the 55 is the same as the 75mm ratchet that I used to use.”

Our multi-sheave blocks have only single intermediate cheeks and ultra-light head arrangements compared to other brands that just link together their single blocks. Their products result in unnecessary double cheeks between each sheave and extra weight to drag down boat speed.

Our Dyneema® Links are easily fitted and are secured by a moulded retainer clip. The flexible Link can be left with one end attached to the block when fitting, which means no more lost shackle pins. And the system is truly compatible with our Dyneema®/Spectra® strops, webbing and carbon connection points.

Other benefits of our Orbit Block™ systems include:

  • Low profile and compactness, with the flexible Dyneema® Link providing controlled rotation and 0 and 90 degree orientation. It connects directly to the head of the block for reduced weight and the lowest possible lead.

  • The ratchet blocks, which are the same price as our manual only models, are the only block available offering the flexibility of both manual and full automatic modes for smooth easing of sheets and high-performance cleating.

  • Fiddle block flexibility that is suitable for spliced and unspliced lines. A becket takeoff can be added to any fiddle block version by adding a Dyneema® Link for additional purchase.

  • Lightweight fibre-reinforced cleats, fairleads and cleat arms that have a wide range of adjustment and calibration marks that are perfect for selecting cleating angle settings.

3D modeling, FEA and stress analysis, lab cycle testing, and extensive water testing by elite sailors have ensured that our blocks have been pushed to their limits for all sailors to know they have the best on board.

Visit to find out more.

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