Harken vs. Ronstan

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Garrett12, May 22, 2012.

  1. Garrett12

    Garrett12 Member

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    I am looking into buying a block... What is your choice and what are pro's and con's
    [​IMG]
    Harken 57mm Manual Ratchet Carbo Block

    or

    Ronstan Orbit 55 Auto/ Manual Ratchet Block
     
  2. tag

    tag my2fish

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    I have the Harken 2135, and really like it. the grooved sides of the sheave really grab the mainsheet quite well, and it is very noticeable the amount of load it helps keep out of your hands.

    I had also bought a Ronstan block (a cheaper one, can't remember the model) but it wasn't a ratchet block, and it also had the rope link at the base which I didn't care for, so I returned that one.

    I was originally going to buy a swiveling cam cleat, but decided against that. I instead mounted a Harken 150 cam cleat on the cockpit lip of my old Sunfish. positioning it there means I can really only cleat the line in really light air, to grab a drink or something.
    [​IMG]

    my newer Sunfish has the trim around the cockpit lip, so I haven't mounted a cleat in that one yet as there isn't quite enough room. I did use the zip-tie method to install a stand-up spring and the spring cup.
    [​IMG]

    even though the stand-up spring is really tight, the block will swivel around when you tack. I occasionally have to reach up and turn it by hand if I'm sailing in lighter air, though.

    I don't have any personal experience with the Ronstan block you refer to, but wanted to at least let you know I've been extremely happy with the Harken I'm using.

    cheers,
    tag
     
  3. douglas_zargham

    douglas_zargham Member

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    i installed the harken 57mm on both my 1972 fishes. i also installed cam cleat in accordance with tag's pic's which is nice for cleating in light airs, but i find myself in need of a jam cleats on the deck for when the cockpit is too far of a reach...
     
  4. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    I have both..on different boats. I'd say that it depends on how you use the boat. The Ronstan teeth seem to grip a little better, and I like it for racing -- prefer it, probably. It spins freely.

    However -- and this is just my opinion and experience -- the Ronstan is more fragile. I have 'busted' a couple of Ronstans - one so the ratchet on-off flip doesn't work (it just spins now and doesn't ratchet) and one by getting sand in the bearings somehow. You can't abuse the Ronstans. (I thought it was just me, but I see others have had issues as well http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=130144).

    The Harken, on the other hand, seems indestructible. In my experience the Harkens are far less susceptible to problems from sand and such. Just my experience, but I've never had a Harken break or jam. Rumor has it that they'll replace failed blocks even years later, but I haven't had that happen to know that for myself. (To be fair to Ronstan here, I contacted Ronstan on the failed block that was less than a year old and they offered to replace it if I sent it to them, but I unfortunately neglected to follow up).

    I wouldn't underestimate the convenience of 'auto-load' features in any block, like in this Ronstan model.

    If you are the sort of sailor who is careful with equipment - for example, you keep your racing board in a protective bag between uses - the Ronstan is a good choice. For a boat I was using on the beach, or recreationally (or that kids - or my brother - would use) I'd go with Harken. For the short-term, I'd say Ronstan; long-term, Harken.
     
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  5. Garrett12

    Garrett12 Member

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    Ok I think im going to go with the Harken. Does anyone have a preferance on with a stand up spring or without? Tag I wonder if you cut one level off the spring how that would work... It would still hold it up but make it easier to spin? Has anyone tried this?
     
  6. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    I always use the stand-up springs myself, except in one boat where I remove the block each time so I use a Harken stand-up base, which is much more convenient but pricey (I also use a less fussy pin with that base than is shown, for quick release). There is a picture of the Harken base on the link. But generally I just use the standard-issue spring, and it's much cheaper.

    The springs are tight initially but you get used to them, and they protect the deck from the flopping block. I would not cut the springs, as they are made so that they are round on the last loop and lie flush (cutting would make for a sharp, un-level end). Instead, if the spring is really too tight for you I'd just go with a lighter or smaller spring. There are some alternatives on the link.

    http://www.apsltd.com/c-560-springsbootsstand-upbases.aspx

    There is also a rubber boot now as an option, but nobody in our fleet has used one yet so I can't comment.
     
  7. 58984 EW

    58984 EW Member

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    Regarding the Ronstan getting stuck. Try hosing it down. Mine tends to lock up too but squeezing a sponge over it works it loose
     
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  8. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    These springs are not as hard to install as people make them out to be. With practice it takes 30 sec and no zip ties!!
     
  9. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    The problem isn't just that the Ronstans get stuck (though they do get stuck, too) but that the flip switch mechanism actually is broken so that in either position of the switch - on or off - the ratchet still doesn't kick in -- it just spins freely.

    That said, you make a good point. Each time after you use the Ronstans in salt water or around anything gritty you do have to make sure you rinse them thoroughly in fresh water. I also made protective covers for them for storage, which I used diligently for awhile, but it made no difference. The blocks do need to be rinsed after use.

    Still, I prefer them enough for racing that I'll probably keep buying them, and just consider them like sails -- replaced as necessary. Meanwhile, for everyday use the Harkens have all lasted just fine.
     
  10. Garrett12

    Garrett12 Member

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    How much are the Harken Stand up bases? and has anyone used the rubber boot for the blocks? like or dislike?
     
  11. tag

    tag my2fish

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    I would recommend the stand-up spring. in light air, the block will flop around an smack the deck quite a bit... the spring prevents this. I also have the little plastic washer at the top, think it's called the spring cup... not sure if it is really a necessity, but it's less than $1.
     
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  12. Rob C.

    Rob C. Member

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    I have this Harken ball and socket base on my boat. I think the stand up bases cost about the same...unless you buy them at West Marine where everything costs twice as much.

    http://www.saltydogmarine.com/product_info.php?products_id=3873
     
  13. meech

    meech Member

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    I had the spring without the plastic washer on top for a while and it was difficult for the block to swivel. Once I installed a plastic washer it worked much better. Very much necessary.
     
  14. Garrett12

    Garrett12 Member

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    Where can you get the plastic washer?
     
  15. tag

    tag my2fish

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    it's called the spring cup - you can get one at APS here.

    cheers,
    tag
     
  16. FishingAgain

    FishingAgain Ready to come-about

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    Am reviving an old thread with a slight twist. I'm considering (right now) either a Harken 2608 or the Ronstan 46100 - or something equivalent. My decisions are: 1. Harken or Ronstan for quality/durability; 2. Full Automatic versus Manual/Auto Switch. There may be other options - I welcome all input. I've heard the option of turning the ratchet on and off is attractive, but to me the auto ratchet (on load demand) sounds attractive.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  17. FishingAgain

    FishingAgain Ready to come-about

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    I meant to also ask- I'm thinking of the 40mm instead of the 57mm- says max diameter of 10mm- seems more than enough of my 7mm main sheet. Thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  18. sailcraftri

    sailcraftri Well-Known Member

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    I would be worried the 40 mm is not strong enough. It is made for an Opti that has only 37 sq ft of sail area.
     
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  19. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    It sounds like you are recreational sailing so anything you choose would be fine. For the decision between Harken or Ronstan I think I still stick with my comments from 2012 above. I like either, but personally happen to prefer the Ronstan myself for racing because of the teeth and action, though I have had a few of those eventually fail while no Harken of mine ever has broken.

    I can't say this necessarily about the latest models from Harken, but one time I had trailer trouble on a really high traffic section of interstate and somehow lost a Harken hexaratchet and a few other things when I was working in the breakdown lane. On the return trip on a whim I swung around to check the site. Everything was there but severely mangled like it had been run over by trucks. The Harken looked badly abused and the attached spring was flattened, but the Harken still worked fine and is still in use today. That's my Harken story.

    I guess I don't understand why you would want the smaller diameter block, though anything is better than nothing. If cost it the issue, there is a $36 mainsheet block that looks quite suitable for Sunfish, the Holt Nautos 57mm on the Intensity site, but I haven't tried it and haven't particularly noticed them around. Hard to beat that price for any decent ratchet block, though, and if I was buying a block for casual use I'd definately look at those.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
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  20. tag

    tag my2fish

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    I bought that Holt Nautos block from Intensity - I put it on the Minifish I bought for my boys. I haven't sailed with it, but just holding it, playing with it, etc while installing it on the Mini - it seemed like a very servicable block, and I'd certainly recommend it as a cheaper option.

    tag
     
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