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post #827 of Old 09-02-2013
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
A friend sailed to New Zealand and back, with stock "yachty" style blocks. They had black anodized aluminium cheeks with stainless straps over them. The corrosion between the SS and the aluminium swelled the cheeks tight against the sheaves, causing them to freeze solid, in such a brief, one year trip. That is the kind of perfectionism Smack advocates. As long as it has a brand name on it, it must be perfect. My blocks have had no problems in decades . That is my definition of perfection, not decorative priorities over reliability. I still see those failed blocks for sale in yachty stores ,for high prices, for those knuckleheads gullible enough to judge marine hardware by the price tag and it's decorativeness. I see some lewmar blocks with 1/4 inch stainless shackles with 1/4 inch pins, and flimsy plastic cheeks , for $40 each.
How does the high price tag and brand name make plastic and tiny shackles stronger than the amount of metal holding my blocks together? How dose the tiny amount of stainless around the shackle pin get strengthened to more than the amount of aluminium in the beckets on my blocks, by adding a brand name and high price tag? They give the safe working load at 900 lbs, a fraction the strength of the half inch line going over it. I believe all blocks, cleats and mooring bitts should be stronger than the biggest line that will be used on them. That is simply good seamanship ( unlike what Smack advocates|)
You can easily make a strength comparision between my blocks and commercially made blocks . Just tie a loop of rope around a tree and the other end to the becket of one. Then tie another loop of half inch Dacron around the two blocks and tie the other becket to the back bumper of a car, with lots of slack . Then get in the car and put the pedal to the metal, and see which one breaks first. If your theory holds, then you believe that mine will break first, and you will be out 20 minutes and $2. So why don't you try it? Because you know full well that your commercially made block wont stand a hope in hell!
What is your theory on that? Or do you simply believe that mother nature is kinder, and more gentle, to materials which look like something out of a blister pack from a yachty store?
Didn't know mother nature was that consumer biased .
You sure do like putting words in people's mouth bro. I didn't say a brand name was necessary. I didn't say your block would break first. And I didn't say that aesthetics should trump functionality. But I will say this, the "$2/20-minute" mantra is complete crap for anyone in the real world (e.g. - not on the BrentBoat).

At the end of the day, your blocks are metal and plastic...just like the ones you think are "yachtie". Are they "stronger and more durable"? Probably...just in the same way these are stronger and more durable than yours:

Same tree, same car, yours definitely break before these. Every single time. So why not use these on your boat? At some point...strength and durability are not the main point.

I do agree with you that much of this hardware is way overpriced. And I really like the ingenuity that has gone into your blocks above. But yours ARE NOT "better" all-round than those from the major manufacturers...which can also last decades if taken care of (I have many such pieces of gear on my boats).

Compared to these main-stream products, your blocks are definitely cheaper, similarly functional, but way more bulky, way heavier, and far uglier. Again, nothing wrong with that if the tractoresque motif is what you're after. That's not what most sailors are after however.

Homemade blocks could be done a lot better than the ones you've shown if you ask me...if one cared about "perfection"...and still be reasonably cheap and nice looking. Do you think you could make one that looks as nice this 3/4" Garhauer that's about 8" long, weighs almost 2 pounds, runs $98, has a SWL of 5K?

What would that cost to build for the typical homemaker?

Last edited by smackdaddy; 09-02-2013 at 05:18 PM.
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