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Holt Vang vs. XD

Mashmaster

Active Member
I am refurbing an older Laser and don't have a vang. I was looking at the Xd vang system and the Holt vang. What are the differences between the two? My son has used the XD block before.


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Thanks for any help.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
If you mean Allen (formerly Holt) vs. Harken vang cleating fittings, this is a discussion that we have every couple of years... and everyone else thinks Harken is better, despite the lack of any convincing arguments for it :rolleyes: Both do the exact same job with no real performance difference. I've had the Allen since 2002 and haven't thought for a second to change it.

I believe the preference for Harken started because it's valued more than Allen as a brand, so that the top sailors tended to choose it, and then that choice sort of trickled down the fleets. Confirmation bias did the rest :confused:

Interesting fact by the way: West Coast Sailing seems to sell the exact same Allen vang kit as a "practice" part, although it's actually completely legal. That's another common fallacy, that is, when you don't know the rules, you tend to think they are stricter than they are in reality. (This just came up the other week, concerning the clew tie-down.)

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Mashmaster

Active Member
Thanks, clear as mud :) Does the Allen vang work the same as the Harken system? Seems like a way to save $100. What is the handle for on the Xd?

I am a sunfish guy that bought an old Laser. My son has more experience on Lasers than me, in fact I have never sailed one and he has in his high school sailing program.
 

LaserBill

Member
Not sure what you mean by "what is the handle on the XD?" Most sailors I know just tie a loop handle, or some other knots at the end of the line to make gripping it easier.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Both fittings are essentially quadruple blocks with a swiveling cleat, intended to be used in a 15:1 (3 x 5) system, which is how the kits are supposed to be rigged. The rules allow for many other purchase options, but it's maybe best to start out with the default setting.

You can make a loop handle in any control line, and reinforce it with a plastic or rubber tube. Some kits include it, some don't.

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AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
Interesting fact by the way: West Coast Sailing seems to sell the exact same Allen vang kit as a "practice" part, although it's actually completely legal. That's another common fallacy, that is, when you don't know the rules, you tend to think they are stricter than they are in reality. (This just came up the other week, concerning the clew tie-down.)
Possibly, possibly not. Unless you know the construction manual contents. I can't speak about the Holt fitting as only once was one presented for measuring. However the manufacturer supplied Harken fitting is stamped with "Laser" and the Laser Symbol and this stamping process may form part of the agreement of Harken to supplying the fitting to the Laser manufacturers as an official Laser component. An un-stamped Harken Vang fitting, although identical in all other ways has missed one manufacturing process and that may make it non-compliant. I know this is being overly pedantic, but it would need the officially brought to the attention of the World Measurer and for it to be discussed with the Technical Committee to get clarification on whether un-stamped Harken fitting was legal.

You need to remember that the manufacturer i terms of the class rules, is PSA, JSA and formerly LP, not Harken, Holt, North, Hyde etc. A bit like Ford, Volvo etc is the manufacturer of your car and not Michelin, Dunlop or Pirelli how just supplied the tyres, just like the company that supplied the nuts and bolts or the windscreens.

I'd also say that many ISAF measurers, actually only think they know the class rules, each time you see something different, you really do need to refer back to the class rules and work out whether what you are seeing is class legal or not. "A line" means "one line". "May" is optional. "Will" is compulsory. The trouble when I was a ISAF measurer for the class was that half the ISAF measurers were not native english speakers and didn't understand the subtleties of the language.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Alan, as you know, the vang rule only shows the pictures of the Harken and Holt/Allen cleating fittings, and then says, "don't change anything". That's a special example of bad rule-writing as the photos don't show every detail, and at the same time may show something that may be overinterpreted. The Allen picture shows that it says "Laser" on top of the fairlead, so is it illegal if it says "Allen" instead, or has faded away (like mine has)?
On the Harken side, the picture clearly shows a composite cleat. However, the same fitting with an aluminium cleat has been for sale for several years, and seem to be de facto legal. (This was discussed about five years ago, but I don't think anything came from it.)

Agree totally with not even the measurers knowing the rules. Then people come home from major events and say, "my boat passed measurement at regatta X, therefore it's totally legal!" Try to argue with that...

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AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
I'd suggest you re-read the rules.
3.a.ii. For the purpose of these definitions, the Standard Fittings are the:
Plastic cunningham fairlead
Plastic cunningham clam cleat
Mainsheet block
Plastic outhaul clam cleat
Plastic outhaul fairlead
Vang cleat block
Vang key block
Vang key
Plastic traveller fairleads
Plastic traveller clam cleat

3.a.iii An “Optional” fitting is a fitting or block that replaces, or is additional to, a Standard Fitting as allowed by these Rules.

3.a.iv A “Builder Supplied” fitting replaces a Standard Fitting, and is supplied only by the Builder, as allowed by these Rules.

3.a.x.“Builder Supplied” Vang Cleating Fitting
  1. The vang cleat block may be replaced with a “Builder Supplied” vang cleating fitting which incorporates “Turning Points” and a cam cleat.
    These photos show the 2 Class legal “Builder Supplied” vang cleating fittings:
So the standard vang fitting is the old brown Holt-Allen fitting. That I assume we agree on.
The new fittings are the Harken Vang fitting and Allen Vang Fitting. As I said, I've only seen the Allen fitting once, so I can't comment on it. But the Harken fitting when supplied by the builder (sorry I used "Manufacturer" incorrectly before) has Laser stamped on it. It really doesn't matter if you can see the details in the pictures. The builder supplied fitting has laser on it and are legal. Other Harken Vang fittings not supplied by the builder won't be stamped with Laser on it and therefore they are illegal. If the Laser builders suddenly started to supply Harken Vang fittings without the Laser stamp, then suddenly as a measurer, you could differentiate between builder supplied and non builder supplied fittings and then you would need to pass the fitting, whether or not it had been "builder supplied".

As I said previously, the rules were becoming totally unworkable before because of the amount of new equipment coming along, combined with a whole heap of "practice" equipment, it's partially why I got out of being a measurer.

I've argued with competitors many times over whether their boats were legal. The basic thing was at a specific inspection, nothing illegal was detected. Give me 6 hours I can thoroughly check to see if a boat is legal (a copy of the builders manual would help). I will want to lock your boat up for 24 hours for it to come into temperature etc equilibrium (STP - Standard Temperature and Pressure) so all the measuring equipment is calibrated etc, a top section can alter in length by several millimetres depending on the temperature. Typically I would do a boat fully rigged and then fully unrigged in under 5 minutes, I know I will miss things, I know the people assisting may not be fully aware of the rules and pass things I would fail and I know different chief measurers will focus on different items, that is life. I used jigs for a lot of the measuring and those jigs were pass or fail and that was principally where I let assistants help. I've also had many competitors change their boats around after going through measuring (a whole national squad team, for both Women's and Open Radial Worlds, Takapuna NZ), resulting in their boats being illegal when they were being launched on day 1.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Alan, I am quite familiar with the text (and pictures) of the class rules, but one still runs into grey areas when people ask "is this piece of equipment legal?" Ideally, the rules should be formulated so that a boat owner doesn't need any extra information for rigging one's boat legally. You can't expect everybody to know how a given part is stamped or not, especially when these have changed over the years.

Concerning the vang (and staying on topic), I don't believe anyone has copied the legal "Builder Supplied" cleating fittings yet, so if it looks like a Harken or Allen fitting, it's very, very likely ok. The most widely available not legal alternative on the market is made by Holt/Nautos, and that one is simply so awful that you can't mistake it for the real thing.

I have no reason to doubt that you have done a great job as a measurer (and sometimes probably made more enemies than friends doing it). You've surely encountered the misconception that from passing the five-minute check at a championship it follows that a boat is 100 % legal. Any suggestions how to convincingly debunk that?

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Alan, I am quite familiar with the text (and pictures) of the class rules, but one still runs into grey areas when people ask "is this piece of equipment legal?" Ideally, the rules should be formulated so that a boat owner doesn't need any extra information for rigging one's boat legally. You can't expect everybody to know how a given part is stamped or not, especially when these have changed over the years.

Concerning the vang (and staying on topic), I don't believe anyone has copied the legal "Builder Supplied" cleating fittings yet, so if it looks like a Harken or Allen fitting, it's very, very likely ok. The most widely available not legal alternative on the market is made by Holt/Nautos, and that one is simply so awful that you can't mistake it for the real thing.

I have no reason to doubt that you have done a great job as a measurer (and sometimes probably made more enemies than friends doing it). You've surely encountered the misconception that from passing the five-minute check at a championship it follows that a boat is 100 % legal. Any suggestions how to convincingly debunk that?

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There are a lot of grey market items in this area out there. I have a class illegal version of the Holt vang. It is identical in every way except for the fact that it lacks a class stamp. I know that it is not legal and that it only cost me about $100, but the average Laser sailor could easily be fooled into thinking it is the real deal. Nobody who examines my boat even catches it as being a class illegal item of equipment-- it even came with the same stock line you'd get from the official version at the time.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
Alan, I am quite familiar with the text (and pictures) of the class rules, but one still runs into grey areas when people ask "is this piece of equipment legal?" Ideally, the rules should be formulated so that a boat owner doesn't need any extra information for rigging one's boat legally. You can't expect everybody to know how a given part is stamped or not, especially when these have changed over the years.
Which is part of the reason why I got out of the measuring game. I absolutely blame the Laser sailors who purchase "practice equipment" and those that sell it. If people refused to purchase this illegal stuff, then there would be no question if the equipment was originally supplied by the builder, like the old days.Second aspect of that is just because a builder supplied it, doesn't make it automatically legal, it may still need to measure in. And for those that say it should measure before it leaves, a laser sail needs to have the sail numbers on to be legal and they generally leave the builder with no sail numbers. If you want to know if the equipment you are using is legal, buy it through authorised dealers who source their equipment from the builders and then check it yourself to make sure it measures in.

Concerning the vang (and staying on topic), I don't believe anyone has copied the legal "Builder Supplied" cleating fittings yet, so if it looks like a Harken or Allen fitting, it's very, very likely ok. The most widely available not legal alternative on the market is made by Holt/Nautos, and that one is simply so awful that you can't mistake it for the real thing.
However the Harken vang (not supplied by the builder) built on the same production line as the builder supplied vang and using the same specs is effectively a copy, is illegal.

You've surely encountered the misconception that from passing the five-minute check at a championship it follows that a boat is 100 % legal. Any suggestions how to convincingly debunk that?
Show the person the rule, if it's out of tolerance, get them to measure it themselves. If it's a case of number of turns, get them to count them etc. They need to convince themselves that they are wrong. But ultimately at a regatta as a chief measurer, you say it doesn't measure, if it not fixed you will be protested by the race committee. The protest committees will generally side with the measurer, particularly a senior one. I've found that under the circumstances the individual will back down. As an individual at club level, take pictures and send it to the world measurer and get them to adjudicate.
 
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