Difference between old Harken XD vang and new "race"version

Thread starter #1
Hello

I'm getting tired with my old 'Holt' XD vang as it seems 'sticky' at some points. Have seen that in UK we can buy the Harken 'race vang' for £135 base unit or £149 for the whole kit. Bit of a decision between those in any case, but more importantly, what is the difference between the revised harken kit? Is the new harken 'race vang' the old top version, with the new harken XD unit an upgrade, or is the new race vang a cut down version of the original. Broadly speaking, I'd be happy with an upgrade the equivalent of swapping the holt XD one to the old Harken top dog version!

Thanks
 

LaLi

Active Member
#2
seems 'sticky' at some points
What do you mean by this? How does it get "stuck" and at what points? Are you sure that it's because of the cleating fitting and not the other blocks or the lines?

I have the new (Holt) Allen fitting and have nothing bad to say about it. All the criticism I've heard over the years is very fuzzy (as above) and/or irrelevant. It usually includes the words "seem" or "feel".

Anyways, you're probably looking at this: Laser XD Parts | Dinghy Sailing at sailboats.co.uk
Looks like the difference between the two vang kits are: Sea Sure wire block vs Harken line/wire block for the vang key block, Harken Micro vs carbo T2 for the floating block, and a Harken aluminium cleat instead of a composite one. Neither is really better or worse in real life, certainly not worth a sixty-pound difference in price!
 
#4
I had a Holt Vang and changed if for a Harken for two reasons.

The Holt fitting is slightly lower and kept catching on the centreboard elastic - the Harken does not.

The Holt fitting had this irritating habit of the cleat locking itself at 90 degrees to the pully which also sent the rope forward. You had to find the rope straighten the cleat and then adjust the vang. This made the adjustment far less smooth using the Holt fitting because the cleat on the Harken self centres and is ready for instant adjustment.

This was my experience when the designs were first introduced, I am not sure if Holt have made any design changes since.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#5
The Holt fitting is slightly lower and kept catching on the centreboard elastic - the Harken does not.
The Harken actually reaches lower but has a shorter swivel arm. But if either catches the elastic then you've rigged the elastic wrong anyway.
The Holt fitting had this irritating habit of the cleat locking itself at 90 degrees to the pully which also sent the rope forward. You had to find the rope straighten the cleat and then adjust the vang. This made the adjustment far less smooth using the Holt fitting because the cleat on the Harken self centres and is ready for instant adjustment.
This is absolutely irrelevant. The cleat swings around in a split second (as fast as you can move your hand 13 cm), and has a 50 % chance of pointing your way to begin with. It's not two separate actions.
(And as you practically never pull in the direction of the vertical plane of the fitting, one could argue that the Harken is never "ready for instant adjustment".)
I am not sure if Holt have made any design changes since.
They're not supposed to change anything. Neither is Harken, but they changed the cleat from composite to aluminium anyway a couple years back. I don't know if ILCA even has a policy concerning changes within specified fittings.
 
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#6
This is absolutely irrelevant. The cleat swings around in a split second (as fast as you can move your hand 13 cm), and has a 50 % chance of pointing your way to begin with. It's not two separate actions.
(And as you practically never pull in the direction of the vertical plane of the fitting, one could argue that the Harken is never "ready for instant adjustment".)


I'm sorry but we have to agree to disagree, my experience is this is one of the reasons the Harken feels smoother. I will add pictures when I can showing the feature.
 
#7
I have the same feeling as Any (but I have never sailed the Harken). I do find that after a windwark mark rounding, when I want to adjust the vang one more time, the cleat is all the way to the bow and I cannot just pull the cord but need to swing the cleat first. No big deal and not a reason for replacing my 1994 Holt vang but I would have preferred something self centering.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#8
We're talking about the 2001 fittings here... I think.

To summarize to the original poster: try first a softer rope for the secondary (cleating) line. Something like a 5 mm Swiftcord could work nicely. As laserphoto said, simply going thinner is another choice; I use 4 mm Excel Racing myself. At the same time, check if all the sheaves in the system are running smoothly. If there's one that doesn't, change that block (fix only what's broke). Only if that sheave happens to be part of the cleating fitting, then getting a complete kit (the less expensive one) makes economical sense.
 
#9
Images as promised. The scenario is you are approaching the gybe mark and wish to let off some kicker for the gybe and then put it back on again on the next reach.

What has happened to me with the Holt vang is when I let it off the cleat sometimes stays on the windward side. After the gybe the cleat is now on the leeward side and as you try to let the kicker off it locks as shown in the first image and is impossible to adjust. With the Harken, first of all it does not remain at such an angle it tries to self centre. If you do force it into the extreme angle shown in the second image as you pull on the line it does not lock the cleat swivels around to the correct side as shown in the third image.

IMG_3812 Trim.jpg IMG_3813 Trim.jpg IMG_3814 Trim.jpg
 

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LaLi

Active Member
#11
you are approaching the gybe mark and wish to let off some kicker for the gybe and then put it back on again on the next reach.
Off topic really, but why do you want to do that?
What has happened to me with the Holt vang is when I let it off the cleat sometimes stays on the windward side.
Well, it stays pointing more or less in the direction you last pulled it. Which is basically a good thing if you adjust it a lot on a given tack, but not very significant really.
After the gybe the cleat is now on the leeward side and as you try to let the kicker off it locks as shown in the first image and is impossible to adjust.
Never happened to me. When I'm testing it right now (it's always good to keep your boat parts close to the computer :D), the swivel arm can go to about 135 degrees off-centre, but if there's any tension on the line (as is the case on the water), it doesn't go more than 110° or so. I can't get it to "lock", unless I'm pulling downwards on the line - which you won't do in real life as the cleat releases upwards.
 
#12
Second Images as promised.

In the first picture you can see a Holt and Harken Vang side by side. The Holt protrudes an extra two inches compared to the Harken. In the second picture you can see the clearance between the centreboard elastic and my Harken vang is only about half an inch. The elastic is threaded through the mast retaining line. I found that with the centreboard half to three quarters up during pre start manoeuvres or when coming ashore the elastic caught on the Holt vang as the boom came over the centreline.

IMG_3816 Trim.jpg IMG0008B.jpg
 

LaLi

Active Member
#13
It rained today so I didn't go to the club to measure these things... but now for more off-off-topic questions :D
with the centreboard half to three quarters up during pre start manoeuvres
Why do you do that?

Your attachment of the elastic to the centreboard looks interesting, but the picture is a bit fuzzy. You seem to have a handle there at the front corner, too. Would you have a clearer picture, or explain what's happening there?
 
#14
A closer image.

The handle is threaded through the front hole in the centreboard because I do not know if it is safe to drill the new composite board. If you look through the opaque piece at the top of the board you appear to see the sandwich material. I did ask the UK class measurer but he did not know so I played safe.

I would prefer the handle in the normal position, is it safe to drill the new boards or will it allow moisture to get inside?

IMG0009A.jpg
 

LaLi

Active Member
#15
is it safe to drill the new boards or will it allow moisture to get inside?
That's how I have done it. I asked others who had done it first, and nobody thought it was a problem. The foam is not like a sponge really, and the exposure is pretty minimal, too - it's not like it's submerged all the time.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#16
I found that with the centreboard half to three quarters up during pre start manoeuvres or when coming ashore the elastic caught on the Holt vang as the boom came over the centreline.
Went finally to the club today and tested this. Result: when the centreboard is as high as it can without hitting the boom (it actually hits the vang key block first), the elastic actually does touch the vang cleat... which then swivels out of the way, with no consequences whatsoever. If you drop the centreboard some 15 cm from that position there's no contact. The elastic never comes closer than about 1 cm to the "solid" part of the swivel arm.

So, I don't really understand what the problem is. I was actually curious to see if there really was something that I hadn't noticed since first rigging that vang in May 2002. :cool:
 
#17
My experience is similar to LaLi except that you have luffed up head to wind as he describes and the boom has come over the centreline and passed the centre board elastic which has turned the vang cleat as it was pushed out of the way. You now need to bare away after the luff and occasionally the centreboard elastic has caught the kicker cleat and become firmly attached to it. The elastic then keeps the sail sheeted in and if you are quick you can luff again, otherwise, the wind fills the sail and it's time to hop over the gunnel to right the boat or take a swim. I will take a picture of a hooked kicker elastic when I am next at the club.
 
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