Best Blocks for the Money?...
I''m not sure what is meant by "best" - best value? If some kind of absolute ''best'' is meant, what''s the context: racing? strength for weight?
I made the same decision Paul did when upgrading all our sailing hardware and replacing the mainsheet traveler (and for the same reason: ease of use by my wife when on-watch alone). My conclusion at the time was that the Garhauer products were the best value available and also entirely suitable for our application (cruising offshore). I compared our choices with Harken and Lewmar (from Defender) but, while prices were higher, being able to handle the hardware (which is abundant at boat shows and on every new Catalina plus other boats I could go aboard) was also very helpful.
OTOH I''ve consistently been underwhelmed by the whole process of buying - and eventually, some day...maybe - receiving a Garhauer order. Perhaps things have changed from 2000 and 2003 when I placed big orders (with one exception, of very common components) but I had to make repeated calls, nag and plead in each case, and eventually got one order with an improper main block on the mainsheet track. I would probably do the same thing again next time - which says something about the value and performance I think we got - but boy, they could sure clean up their act.
And BTW I''ve heard this same story from many, many other customers. My advice is to not put yourself in a position where you are in a hurry for them to fill an order.