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A question that we get asked a lot.  Is the new Ronstan kicker/vang lower assembly any better than the Harken assembly?  I have provided my thoughts in previous newsletters but I thought it was about time to ask Micky Beckett his thoughts – he has sailed with the Harken assembly day-in/day-out for over a decade, but has recently switched to the Ronstan lower.  Why?  Read on…


“Ronstan have recently introduced a new class legal vang (kicker) base unit, as an alternative to the existing Harken unit which has been around for some time. The immediate difference is a more compact set-up, with the 4 turning-points and cleat contained in a much smaller piece of hardware. The matt-black finish looks quite smart too.

The achilies heel of the Harken block was always the single block that the primary line ran through, which was insufficient for the load it was carrying and so contributed to the lion’s share of the friction – which for a system that is often used as a 15:1 setup – there is already plenty of. This has been replaced by a wider diameter block which provides a much lower-friction turning point. The other main change is that there are there are two small blocks to carry the secondary line out of the unit through the cleat, rather than having a single block then a fairlead which would cause a large amount of friction when you pulled the kicker line at any kind of angle to the boom (e.g just before rounding the leeward mark).

These two changes do amount to the vang being a lower friction system, which is a good thing. There are occasional moments where the two side blocks for the secondary line protrude out and interrupt the outhaul or downhaul which run next to it, which whilst inconvenient isn’t disastrous. Equally there has to be a crossover in the threads of the secondary line due to the changed position of the blocks; annoying but not prohibitively so.

On balance the block is, not surprisingly, an improvement, and in the time I’ve been using it hasn’t showed and signs of breakage or undue wear.”Micky Beckett


The only thing that I would add to what Micky has said is that I have found the Ronstan unit to be much easier to uncleat than the Harken, especially when you have a lot of kicker on.  I had a ‘scary moment’ a few weeks ago coming into a crowded windward mark on the port layline, where the combination of my weaker/golfers elbow left arm struggled to uncleat it whilst I was concentrating on the line of starboard tack boats just ahead!!

We stock the Harken and Ronstan lower assemblies and also have a wide range of fully rigged kicker/vang systems using both the Harken and Ronstan lower assemblies.


  • 2 min read

“It’s been a really busy year so far with the Olympics fast approaching. Starting it off in Argentina for the Worlds was amazing!  Massive waves made for epic sailing and Argentina’s hospitality was incredible. I ended up in 16th overall and despite this being one of my best Senior performances so far, I couldn’t help but think about what I had lost out on the final day of fleet racing as I had dropped from the top 10.

Shortly after, I received a call to say our Olympic trials had ended. I was really gutted to hear that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to compete again for the 2024 spot. With it being my first trials, it was a whirlwind of emotions – disappointment, yes, but also a strange sense of relief. The weight of expectation lifted, replaced by some clarity.  And after a couple weeks of reflecting, I was soon excited by the opportunity to learn as much as I could from the lead up to the Games which I will take onto the next Olympic cycle.

It has been really cool to continue working hard with my teammates Daisy Collingridge and Hannah Snellgrove as we push and help Hannah as much as possible towards a medal this summer. It’s an exciting time to work with each other without the trials looming over us. We have all been training hard over the last few months and I had been really looking forward to racing at the World Cup in Palma.

This event is almost as big as the World Championships, drawing in all the top ILCA sailors, making it a key competition in the calendar. It was also the final major competition ahead of the Olympics where every nation with their top sailors would be attending. I was really excited by this opportunity to compete against everyone really pushing ahead of the Games. I managed to kick off the week with a race win in proper survival conditions – massive waves and wind averaging over 25kts!!


The following few days saw some light to medium strength conditions. After day 2, I found myself wearing the red bib - this was only the second senior regatta I’d been in a medal position!  My coach told me I had to go and make it one better and we joked the blue bib would suit our BST kit much better. The next day was the first day of Gold fleet so racing became even tighter and harder with the top sailors in one fleet. And with a solid day I managed to do it, I was going into day 4 wearing the blue bib!

Day 4 proved to be a tricker, lighter day where I struggled but remained in the top 10, tight on points. Going into Day 5 I knew I needed two top 15s to keep myself in the top 10 ahead of the medal race. Race 1 I finished 14th only to discover I had been called over the line in the race. With a UFD on my score line I knew I had to just go out and smash the final fleet race of the regatta. The wind had slightly picked up and we were back to hiking. I can’t remember the last time I’ve hiked so hard in a race with max power in the rig just thinking I need to send it!  I crossed the finish line in 3rd and had made it into my first ever Medal race!!!!

Not only had I made it into the medal race, but I was going into it in 4th place with the potential of moving up to a medal position. That evening, I was reading up on all the different rules for medal racing in preparation for the next day. It’s times like these where it is so cool to have such talented and experienced sailors in my team. I was messaging both Hannah and Micky Beckett for any tips or different rules to be aware of and they both were super helpful and kept me calm going into the race!

Medal race day begins with an inspection of our boats by the measurers. The boat park feels very different with only you and your nine competitors lined up next to each other. After measuring we were quickly postponed due to a lack of wind and 5 hours later they launched us! A light breeze had filled it which made it very good medal race conditions for some boat-on-boat action. I switched on my focus for the racing and before I knew it we were off. I had a tricky 1st upwind putting me in 6th in the race but there was still lots to play for with us all so close together. After a good gate decision, I was up to 2nd in the race and manage to finish there. After all the others finished and a bit of maths with my coach we worked out I had moved up to 3rd. I had just won my first Senior medal!!

It was so nice to come back ashore and have so many friends, teammates and competitors come up and say well done. With our sport being so competitive on the water, it’s really cool to see the support we all have for one another once ashore. It was a quick turnaround to the prize giving which was held under the stunning Cathedral in the centre of Palma. I will be reliving these incredible moments of the last week for a long time! It’s great to see all the hard work coming together and proving to myself I can be at the top of our fleet.

It isn’t long now until I head to Hyeres for the French Olympic week. It’s a bit of a different set up this year with limited entries as the Last Chance regatta for nations looking to qualify for the Games is also happening at the same time. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to another week of tight racing. Then next stop Marseille! We will be training in the Olympic venue all summer to support Hannah in the build-up to the Olympics. Thank you as always to Max at Southeast Sailboats who has supported me for 5 years now and has always believed in me!"

Many thanks Matilda!

Photo credit: Sailing Energy


  • 5 min read

Massive congratulations to Micky Beckett on his 3rd consecutive win at the prestigious Princess Sofia regatta in Palma with a day to spare!  Just awesome...  Sponsored by Southeast Sailboats since 2016 Micky has been comprehensively testing control systems at the toughest championships and providing ideas for incremental improvements. Micky will represent Great Britain at the 2024 Olympics.


Photo credit: Sailing Energy

  • 1 min read

We have a range of four travellers to choose from.  Why; what’s important; and which one is right for me?   

Firstly, why? – Because of performance and resultant price, we offer travellers that fit your budget and performance requirements.

Secondly, what’s important?  Low stretch – you want to be able to get your traveller tight and know that it won’t elongate under load, as any elongation can cause the traveller block to come inboard. Smoothness – you want minimum friction between the traveller line and the tiller.  Thickness – sufficient to mimimise stretch, but not too thick or the knot can hit the underside of the tiller.  Durability – we want our traveller to last and also be resistant to damage especially when sculling when the traveller line may rub over the transition between the tiller and tiller wear plate.

Let’s look at each of our travellers in detail from the most economic upwards:

5mm Dyneema Traveller – the ‘original’ one.  Up until we developed our high performance travellers this ‘simple’ 5mm Dyneema traveller was actually the traveller used by sailor such as Micky Beckett.  We chose the type of rope carefully as not all 5mm Dyneema cleats well.  Our one does and is the perfect traveller for club sailors upwards. Some of the top sailors use this traveller at world championships.

ZeroKink Traveller.  This has a Dyneema core and cover.  Hard wearing, round and smooth.  Cleats extremely well. Smooth over the tiller.

ProMAX-DURA:  Using a similar cover but a slightly better core than ZeroKink, this traveller is designed to offer exceptional performance in terms of low stretch, but with good durability.

ProMAX-99 traveller – the choice of champions and increasingly being used by the worlds best sailors, including Olympic gold and silver medallists!  This is our ‘ultimate’ traveller offering exceptional performance, but at the expense of long-term durability.


Finally, make sure that you are fitting your traveller well.  This video shows European champion Micky Beckett explaining how to do it.

  • 2 min read
Micky Beckett has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Paris 2024 Olympics.  Sponsored by Southeast Sailboats since 2016, this selection is a fantastic achievement for Micky, off the back of some truly impressive performances in 2023.  Selection for the the Women's is still open and our other Team GBR sponsored sailor Matilda Nicholls is still in the running.
  • 1 min read
Congratulations to Thailand’s Weka Bhanubandh on an impressive win at the ILCA4 World Championships. Southeast Sailboats is proud to have supplied the custom set of rigging that Weka used for the event!
  • 1 min read

Chartering an ILCA for your next event and unsure what you need to take?  I have put together the following to help remind you what you may need to take.  Charter boats may come with more than we are assuming, but in recent years what comes on/with your charter boat seems to be reducing so we have erred on the cautious side.  Let’s start with the obvious and then move bow to stern over all the smaller bits that you may forget to pack, and finish up with a few spares that you should consider.

  • 2 min read

A great write up by Southeast Sailboats sponsored sailor Matilda Nicholls on her first major events of 2023.

After a long winter of training, I was really excited for the first major events of the season to begin. It’s only my second year competing in these major Senior competitions since moving out of the youth fleets which made me even more excited to head back to Palma for the first competition, the Princess Sofia Regatta. It was also great to see so many familiar faces again with this being the first competition of the year where all the Olympic classes compete at the same venue.

  • 2 min read

A great write up by Southeast Sailboats sponsored sailor Micky Beckett on his first major events of 2023..

Palma World Cup and Hyeres Olympic week

Palma World Cup is normally the first highly anticipated regatta of the year, the first real occasion to put the winter’s training to the test and it is an event that indicates the competitive season has begun. Except this year it wasn’t the first event. Most competitors arrived directly from the ILCA Europeans in Andorra, Italy. The other Brits and I chose not to attend in favour of doing some additional training in Palma, from the outside it appeared to be a turbulent regatta with exceptionally long days on the water.

  • 4 min read

Southeast Sailboats may be based in the UK, but for years we have been providing our custom rigging solutions to sailors worldwide.  Southeast Sailboats is therefore excited to add Chapman Petersen as a sponsored sailor.  At just 19, Chapman is now part of the US Sailing Team and will represent the USA at both the Pan American Games and the Olympic Test Event in 2023.

Chapman studies Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University.  Southeast Sailboats has been working with Chapman since 2018, providing custom rigging solutions to his exacting needs. 

Chapman joins Matilda Nicholls, Micky Beckett and Jon Emmett as sailors sponsored by Southeast Sailboats. Welcome to the team, Chapman!

  • 1 min read