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How to Choose Harken Ratchet Blocks


Ratchet blocks allow you to hold much load with little effort and easily manage the loaded sheets with good control. The Harken Ratchet Blocks provide resistance in the direction of the load with two essential elements: the grip of the sheave on the line and the pawl that prevents the sheave from turning. This means that a sailor can hold the load on a line for much longer, reducing fatigue and making constant trimming easier, while easily loading line with more precision and control. Understanding ratchets and effectively using them into your hardware systems will allow you to trim and make adjustments with more precision!


Selecting the correct size is an important step while taking into consideration the loads the blocks will be subjected to. Remember that a 180 degree turn on a block doubles the load! Also, it is worth noting that a larger diameter sheave produces more contact area with the line, which in turn provides more holding power. This is why ratchet blocks are more effective with a 180 degree turn because the line is then in contact with as much of the sheave as possible.

Switchable or automatic

An important number of sailors prefer to turn their ratchet function on and off. For that, a switchable ratchet lets you to select between having a free-running block in lighter airs when there is not enough pressure to pull the rope through the block or to have the block engaged when the wind gets up. The switch is easy to use, located in the center of the block so that it cannot be switched accidentally. The other option is the Ratchamatic Block. The mechanism in these blocks is only engaged when the block is loaded. Meaning that when the line is loaded, the block helps you hold the load. But when the load is removed, the ratchet mechanism disengages and the block becomes free-running. It is possible to change the pressure at which the spring engages using the hex-key that is included in your Ratchamatic block to suit your strength, style and system in which the block is used. Simply turn the hex-key anti-clockwise for heavier weights and clockwise. Harken also recently released the HTE (high-threshold engagement) option, that uses a 20% stiffer spring at the point in which the ratchet engages. This allows the block to remain free-running for a longer amount of time.

Shackle or soft-attach

If you are looking for a lightweight ratchet block, the 40mm and 57mm T2 Ratchamatic blocks are the perfect option for any sailor. A soft fit block gives the option to lash the block at alternating heights to keep a perfect lead. The T2 Ratchamatics also features 50% fewer components, which ensures it remains lightweight and reliable.

We at MAURIPRO Sailing constantly go on-to adventures and test the products we sell to help you and all sailors worldwide about selecting the proper sailing equipment.
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