Snatch Block Test Update

Practical Sailor evaluated six snatch blocks in August 2007, with the Harken 1609 receiving the nod as the best all-around snatch block. As a follow-up, Practical Sailor compared two Ronstan snatch blocks, the Ronstan 6831 and the Ronstan 6751, to the Harken block. The Ronstan RF-6751 sports an investment-cast stainless-steel sheave, a heavy-duty latch, and side plates covered with thick, thermoplastic rubber cheeks. The block’s ruggedness and user-friendly latching function make it ideal for heavy duty applications on a cruising boat. Ronstan’s RF-6831 has a stainless-steel frame and tough PVC cheeks. It is representative of Ronstan’s alloy-sheave blocks with its high-quality construction, mid-range cost and working load. Although Practical Sailor prefers the Harken for everyday use, both Ronstan blocks are well-suited for cruising sailors.

Stainless Steel: Advantages and Ailments

When it comes to stainless steel, nothing seems more baffling than the latest array of alloys that have migrated into the marine market. Not so long ago, stainless steel was referred to as 302, 304, and 316. These differing grades of stainless varied according to chrome and nickel content and the corrosion resistance they afforded.

Online Help for Autumn

Its getting to be that time of year, when many skippers haul out or head south. Fall also heralds the beginning of boat show season. Here are some PS articles from the online archives that are suited for the season.

Headsail Roller Furlers

Time was, roller-furling systems were regarded as fragile, fair-weather gear. Now they're a must-have for most—even offshore. Here's a scan of major manufacturers, and the results of our reader survey.

Setting an Anchor in a Small Boat

In our ongoing study of ways to compare, and hopefully improve the way our anchors set, weve learned that it takes time and slow, delayed setting to make best advantage of very soft mud. However, firm sand and weeds can have the opposite character-making it hard for the anchor to penetrate.

Mast Steps: No Perfect Design

High on the list of chores for which its difficult to find volunteers are trips to the masthead. But aboard most boats, it sooner...

PS Advisor

Dutchman vs. Lazy JacksIm in the market for some kind of sail flaking system and need advice. Have you compared the lazy jack method...

Fixing Tears in Sunbrella Boat Canvas

Sooner or later, chafe, UV rays, and sharp edges take their toll on our canvas. A misplaced screw or simple friction will eat holes in a dodger. A seam gives up, a boom rubs through the fabric, and a few snaps come loose.

Used Nylon Three-Strand Rope Faces The Ultimate Endurance Test

The nylon three-strand dock lines used for this test had weathered significantly, and chafed noticeably where the lines exited chocks and made contact with cleats. We put these lines under increasing tension in laboratory conditions and tested them to destruction. Our test shows that even when the effects of chafe were eliminated, up to 75-percent of the original tensile strength in our sample ropes was lost. These findings fly in the face of the conventional rhetoric that views nylon as such a strong material that one should always opt for thinner line due to its better elastic effect. To the contrary, within reason, this overly springy, rubberband-like function is a foe rather than a friend. We left the lab realizing the importance of taking a close look at dock lines and other nylon-line applications, noting the last time they had been replaced and why tropical storms and noreasters take such a heavy toll. A new set of dock lines is cheap insurance, and money well spent.

Overheating in Docklines and Rodes

With hurricane season hitting full stride, many of us are going over our rope inventory, making sure we have more than enough lines to secure the boat. Chafe gear fights external friction on our lines, but how do we combat internal heat build-up? Dock lines are particularly susceptible to overheating. If the boat is exposed to short-period chop from the side, the frequency can be high and the force can exceed the 10:1 safe working limit, and even with rain or spray to cool the rope there may be significant weakening due to internal friction.