Harken Laser Blocks Tested | Expert Advice

Laser ACC Regatta Wrapup and Harken Block Test Drive

The Laser ACC (Atlantic Coast Championship) regatta was held this past weekend one block from our APS offices at the Severn Sailing Association here in Annapolis. It was a fairly light air event with a total of 5 races held. Even though it was light it was a great regatta and I think everyone had a good time. The Laser Radial event was won by Christopher Stocke and the Laser 4.7 winner was Mary Hall.

Here in the US a Laser Radial is primarily a junior and women”s dinghy boat so there were a lot of young sailors out for the event. Out of the 63 competing radials 32 were juniors including all of the top 5. There were also eight 4.7″s racing, all of whom were juniors.

Standing around the keg Saturday night a number of us were lamenting how badly we were being beaten by kids from high school with our only consolation being that we were old enough to drink the beer. I certainly have a lot of admiration for all the younger sailors who were all very fast (more so than your author who finished in the back half).

Saturday we got in 2 races in super light conditions and both races saw big ups and downs as puffs filled in from different sides of the course. The second race was shortened at the 2nd weather mark after the breeze died and then filled in from the right side causing a bit of reversal in the middle of the fleet.

Sunday we had a bit of a sea breeze and got in 3 races in probably 6-10kts. There was a lot of mixed up chop on the course which made keeping the boat moving fast forward and finding clear air key. Overall youth clearly won out over experience – although the honest truth is that a lot of the younger sailors probably had both in their favor having sailed on high school or college teams.

Laser ACC top 10 competitors

Here”s the top 10 competitors from the Laser Radial fleet.

What about the blocks?

Those of you who were reading last weeks post on Harken Laser Traveler and Boom Block, a First Look know that this weekend was my first real experience using the new equipment. (Harken Laser Aft BlockHarken Laser Forward Block and Harken Laser Traveler Blocks)Harken Laser Traveler Block

I thought they worked really well. Did I honestly notice a vast improvement over the old blocks? I wouldn”t say vast, but there”s only so much you can change and they were never going to be light years ahead of the old ones.

The ball bearing blocks do run better, but I also think the block itself moves more freely – it is more open at the top and doesn”t bind against the boom as much as the old ones. The new traveler block is also a nice improvement – doing away with the shrink wrap / tape to hold it together. It stands much straighter than the old block which I think might offer advantages in leech tension when the sheet is eased but I don”t have any data to support that. The small traveler sheave is the only non ball bearing one – which is no big deal since it”s stationary most of the time anyways.

Overall I think it was a great event and I had a lot of fun. I thought it was awesome how far people traveled to sail – I know there were people from Texas and Canada who made the trip. Even though the conditions were tough it was a great weekend to be out on the water.

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