New mainsheet blocks?

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by SFBayLaser, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. Laser of the Corn

    Laser of the Corn Member

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    Tracy, thanks for the reply. First I didn't mean to imply that Harken does make sails. Secondly what I did mean is that the sail issue has one that should have been addressed long ago and should be the issue which has been in the development stage for some time.

    I realize all can be done on one ballot but what's the likelihood of that happening? The sail issue is far from resolved, honestly it will probably be another 5 years before we see anything in the way of motion for change.
     
  2. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Interesting point... I don't know that consideration has been given to this issue but will try to find out.
     
  3. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    The boom blocks resemble, more or less, the current blocks and attach in the same way but with SS pins at the wear points.

    Unfortunately, camera and I are not in close proximity at the moment.
     
  4. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Please, let's focus on the blocks in this thread and continue to comment on the sails in the "Victoria's Secret" thread.
     
  5. Ross B

    Ross B Guest

    I assume we will have to drill out the boom straps to add these new blocks? If so, that kind of sucks, and is the main reason I had to buy a new boom! Would be nice if they attached via pin and ring ding, would make life a lot easier too
     
  6. Laser of the Corn

    Laser of the Corn Member

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    Ok, sounds good, back on topic now...

    Really the main issues with the current blocks are A.) 30+ year old technology B.) straps must be removed to replace blocks

    Replacing or reconfiguring a part doesn't make sense just to do it. If the product will wear better, be more user friendly, i.e. install with pins or shackles, still be afordable and lastly not render all boats with old blocks obsolete then that makes sense.

    If this is being done because Harken wants a bigger piece of the Laser pie then that's just plain stupid. I don't think this is the case.
     
  7. TonyB

    TonyB Member

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    Am I correct in thinking that this change would not need to go the membership for a vote? If memory serves, the class rules don't specify the types of blocks that must be used, other than that they must be builder supplied. So the builders can change these whenever they want.

    For what it's worth, I think the new blocks are a good idea. Some sort of quick release so they could be removed from the boom easily would be nice too. You could then leave the mainsheet rigged on the boat - even 30 seconds of saved rigging time helps. It would mean also changing the boom eye strap though.
     
  8. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    better blocks should cost more. How can anyone make bearing blocks, including any other improvements, for the same price or less?
    With you on that one. Priorities seem to be up the duff.
     
  9. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Granting that some folks wear out the current blocks or think performance would be changed with better blocks .....

    How will the new blocks stand up to years of exposure to the weather?
    Will the ball bearings be damaged by the sun and salt and cause the blocks to fall apart?
    Will the new blocks stand up to chafing?
    Is our long time supplier being allowed to compete for the new contract?

    Note: I believe the traveler eyes problem is related to insufficient deck durability. it would be fairly simple to place material in the deck so the inboard screw would be much less prone to wallowing out its hole and slipping loose.
    There is also no "performance of the boat" reason the eye could not be reshaped and redesigned so it could be entirely secured by a single through bolted outboard fastener.

    But this discussion would require an entire new thread
     
  10. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    The drift I'm catching here is that an attempt has been made to use modern materials without using the material to it's fullest advantage: to make a better product.

    Harken engineers must be laughing all the way to the bank, more so than if someone came up with a new durable sail.

    Engineer 1: Can you believe this racket...they want a block that's 15 years old by design to update their 39 year old block, made with modern materials as long as it doesn't improve the performance and they want to pay more for it!!

    Engineer 2: (laughing) Money for Jam brother, money for jam...

    Everyone buying a low priced item like a block is going to nett more profit than few buying an extra sail.

    What exactly are we going to be asked to buy here?

    1) a block that "looks modern"
    2) a block that runs freer, doesn't twist the angle of sheet, and rdeuces friction
    3) a block that redices friction but doesn't change "performance"

    Come on guys, there's politics and then theres plain horsedung. It improves performance. What everyone wants. Now can we do away with this strange restriction to sensible improvements and tackle some of the other absurdities with the laser?

    Good example as above: the fairleads for the traveller.

    Harken make a micro "flairlead" that is reinforced with a metal bar. It's never going to break. It's cheaper. Harken is an approved supplier for laser. It's also "illegal". What rubbish this political game is, eh?

    Yes I want better blocks, but if you're going to do it, make them a good as they can be for the year we're living in LOL. Yes I want a better sail and I want the silly politics to end that restrict sensible existing options to the fairlead issue. (if one of those breaks in a blow kiss your tiller goodbye)

    and yes I'll pay more for it. There seems to be a strange interpretation of ILCA goals that any improvement shuts people out of laser racing. that it restricts the promotion of the sport adn "all aspects of laser sailing". Racing is a serious business, it can't be stalled for the guy who complains about a $30 increase in a block, but doesn't put any effort into racing, or turn up to meets often, and when he does, turns up with $55 worth of beer!

    Keep it real.
     
  11. Ross B

    Ross B Guest

    well put
     
  12. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I also agree. I cannot understand why the blocks must be cheaper. In fact I very much doubt they will be cheaper. However, you don't have to buy them that often (even stick with your old ones and remain completely competitive) so the real cost will be trivial.

    Ian
     
  13. mfrymier

    mfrymier New Member

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    I am hugely in favor of the new blocks....basically "evolutionary" improvements that are relatively inexpensive are EXACTLY the kinds of things we should allow as a class. I agree that other things could be improved as well. I STRONGLY believe that anything that ends up "changed" needs to be able to be retrofitted in a way that keeps older boats even competitively (ie, making a deck stronger isn't attractive)

    I do NOT believe the blocks should necessarily be cheaper -- we should have the best blocks available for the application, using cost as a limiting factor. I would also be in favor of the other changes discussed in the thread (better sail materials, traveller bail upgrades, etc. etc.)

    just my .02 -- sail fast

    MDF
     
  14. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    It won't be Harken that is laughing. It will be PSE.

    Instead of using off-the shelf blocks where there is price competition, PSE insists on having the blocks "custom" which means the price is going to be whatever PSE says it will be (by avoiding any competition and Harken will have no say in the price we the sailors pay)

    For example - look at the Holt Allen trav blocks (which you can buy at a discount from a stocking HA dealer) vs what the builder supplied blocks go for. Same basic block.. (Prices quoted on the APS site)

    Vanguard Upper (Large) Traveler Block - $19.50
    HA27874 Upper (Large) Traveler Block$11.60

    Vanguard Lower (Small) Traveler Block - $13.15
    HA17874 Lower (Small) Traveler Block$8.10
     
  15. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    That is mostly correct... builder supplied items are specified in the Laser Construction manual, not the class rules. So, changing a builder supplied item does not require a vote of the class membership. It does, however, require the approval of the World Council (in addition to the builders and Bruce Kirby). Hence the request for feedback from TLF in this thread...
     
  16. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    In the end, only time will tell. But it seems that Harken has a pretty good track record with these things, at least in my experience. In any case, it would be hard for me to believe that things would be any worse than with the current blocks.

    Do they have salt in Lake Travis?

    I dunno... was Harken given the opportunity to bid the first time around?

    For what its worth, I understand that Holt-Allen also has a set of prototype blocks (ok, I saw them in Roses). I don't know right now what the final plan will be but one could imagine we could be in the situation, as with the vangs, where we will have two suppliers. This would actually be an improvement over the current situation.
     
  17. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Pardon me while I get a bit testy here...

    Yes, and of course APS bought those same blocks direct from Holt. The other blocks passed through Vanguard/Laser Performance enroute to APS so there is an extra level of overhead built into the price (where some of that overhead helps support the dealer network - of which APS is a part - we take so for granted here in North America, like many of the other things that Vanguard did to try to support dinghy sailing in North America).

    And of course, some of it went to line Vanguard's pockets. In fact, Vanguard was reaping so much of a profit from all of us that their stock holders decided last summer to do some "industry consolidation" with PSE.

    There is also that pesky one design principle of the Laser which, apprarently, we also seem to take for granted. That's the one where you can show up to any regatta and YOU can tell, by simple visual inspection, that everyone else is sailing a Laser with legal equipment. No need to fly in a measurer, tack an extra day on the event for measurement, pay for it with increased entry fees, etc. Just show up and race, you against the other sailors. A really beautiful concept.

    A problem I have with using "off the shelf" items is that no two blocks are exactly alike and we've already determined that a critical measurement is how high off the deck the end of the boom lies. If strictly limited to production blocks (ie no custom equipment) then I'd imagine the world would quickly arrive at a single manufacturer and model of block. In the end, what have you gained? I'll bet the "best" blocks will end up being high end models, in the end you won't have saved any money, etc.


    Ok, testy mode off...
     
  18. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    I agree with pretty much all the above, I wasn't clear enough in what I was saying. I wasn't trying to say it should be a free choice amongst the sailors, but I can see how it could be read that way..

    I would prefer if the class could decide to use specific, already existing blocks by one hardware maker (or two - just so there was a global supply and all the eggs aren't in one basket if that's important to the class)


    ok, dreaming mode off...
     
  19. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Last summer we had an assortment of old salts from all over North America....and thanks for coming.

    I feel I have done my duty as an old measurer / officer/ employee/ Laser sailor/ and perennial regatta host to protect the one design concept of the Laser by screaming bloody murder, asking why, throwing up endless unreasonable hurdles and objections, pointing fingers at everybody, and even suggesting conspiracies until everybody who has invested time and consideration in the proposed change has become sick of responding.

    It seems the "improvement" is inevitable and will not harm the game.

    I will now shut up and hope the promoters will get over their frustrations from my impassioned objections to the block change before they see me using and enoying the new products.
     
  20. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Hi,
    like others, from time to time I already use ball-beared mainsheet blocks at the the Laser. Yes, my opinion, goes also into the direction: send those blocks, that at the Laser are in use in the moment, to retirement.

    The ball-beared blocks I use come from Germany (Manufacturer: "Sprenger"). I have them in use for over 30 years and they work realy fine. They only need a bit teflon-spray from time to time. Over the last years, intensive tests here have shown, blocks of Sprenger are in all much better and cheaper than those of Harken. Nothing to say against Harken, but we have a saying to those goods: they are "the Mercedes/Porsche" under the manufacturers (like Musto or Henry Lyoyd).
    I wouldn't wonder if also others say: "Take blocks of Ronstan or Wichard etc. etc. etc. ...."

    Since someone special, that left TLF some years ago, did say: "The Laser now has become an experimental sailing class ... " I am sceptical about the aspect: Do the manufacturers or LaserPerformance again want to put their sticky-fingers into our wallets or not. Why do I have such an opinion? Well, only see at the past and have a view (especially at the old continent Europe) how much the price of the single big basical-block of the XD-vang of the manufacturer Harken did rised here. In 2004 the price at the list has been 150 Euros (~200 US$ at that time). Now it does cost 193 Euro (actually: 281 US$). Take your calculator and count the %-tual rising ... Reason for that: The actual pricing-strategy of the Laserbuilder LaserPerformance and not the manufacturer Harken or the Laser stores. ...

    We, the Laser-sailors have one big problem / dilemma: We sail a strictly design dinghy and now are in a sort of "big" change to better and more durable sailing goods. If "we" (aka the Laser class and their official representatives) allow others, than only one manufacturer, to produce any goods for our lovely boat, the will have a never ending discussion about differences between those goods.
    F.e.: See the never ending discussions about the sails (North/Hyde) or the vang (Holt / Harken). But to the other side: I criticize here: already to say: "The new blocks definitely come from "Ferrari"-Harken, which ones do you want of them?" is not okay.

    Summary: New blocks for the Laser: "Yes, Sir", that's what we desire. But "WE" should decide what manufacturer is the one we trust most, not the patent-holders or the folks that try to put their hands in our pockets (=LaserPerformance) . The Laser class has the power to change the class rules, haven't we?
    For me, I use on my old ball-beared blocks, if I don't race. If I race, I'm very good able to live also with ball-beared blocks that come from Holt or Ronstan or Sprenger or whoever, if the price is lower than those really horrible expensive / "golden"- blocks of Harken.

    Ciao
    LooserLu
     

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