Outhaul FAQ

If you are unsure exactly what you should order, below is a list of commonly asked questions that will hopefully help. If not, please contact us at sales@southeastsailboats.co.uk as we are happy to help answer any rigging related question.

Outhaul FAQ’s:

  • You offer both normal and ‘quick release’ outhaul systems – can you explain the pros and cons of both and how I should decide what is best for me. Like a lot of choices when it comes to rigging your Laser a lot is down to personal preference, often based on what we have got used to using. Both the normal and ‘quick release’ are popular ways of rigging the outhaul. The normal version has the primary line fixed to the boom end eye and relies on a clew block as the way of releasing the sail. There are numerous clew block options to choose from including the ubiquitous hook, or a captive shackle. The ‘quick release’ system was developed as top sailors wanted to have a clew block permanently tied onto their sail, and needed a way of releasing the sail from the outhaul system – which resulted in the large loop that fits over the end of the boom. It is very quick and easy to rig. Both systems work just as well as each other functionally. From a rigging and derigging perspective the ‘quick release’ version is marginally easier. From a security perspective, the normal version is less likely to fail – the ‘quick release’ version can get accidentially pulled off the end of the boom if it got snagged on a RIB or other boat for example (some sailors put a wrap of tape over the loop, but this seems to detract from the rigging simplicity). Personally, having used both, I use the normal version with a captive shackle/clew block.
  • Should I choose a Harken 18mm/Allen 20mm or Harken 29mm block for the outhaul system? The loads on the outhaul system are low in comparison with the downhaul system and as a result we can use a smaller block for the outhaul. If the budget allows, then using the Harken 29mm block will result in a better system as ropes run better through larger sheave blocks, but priority should always be using the available budget on the kicker and downhaul before the outhaul.
  • You offer both top of boom and side of boom centre blocks for your outhaul systems. Why? What is best for me? Again this is down to personal preference, but the top of block version makes it easier to see the outhaul calibration on both tacks.
  • Why is there only a Ronstan 20mm version of the spliced clew block when every other clew block has Harken, Allen and Ronstan versions? The spliced clew block is designed for use with the quick release version of our outhaul system which has a large loop that fits over the end of the boom. The spliced clew block is ‘permanently’ fixed to the sail – i.e. it can be removed when the outhaul system is rigged. The large loop on the end of the primary line has to fit through the opening in the clew block and the Ronstan 20mm block as the largest opening of all the small 18-20mm blocks. I did try using the Harken 18mm block originally but got frustrated trying to thread the loop through, particularly when trying to rig when it was windy. An obvious question would be why not use a 29mm block? The answer is that a 29mm block can be used successfully if it is physically tied on close to the sail, but with a spliced loop version the block ends up too far away from the sail and will ‘bottom out’ by hitting the boom end eye before the outhaul is fully on.
  • Should I choose Harken or Allen blocks for my system? Harken T2 Carbo blocks are the ‘de facto’ standard on the Laser, being provided with all new Lasers built in the UK. The Allen blocks are more economic, but are slightly heavier. Functionally they are very similar.
  • Your range of clew blocks is a bit daunting – what is the best solution? Firstly it important to distinguish between the two fundamental types of clew blocks: the first type are designed to be released from the clew of the sail every time we rig (using either a hook, shackle, or in some cases toggle); the second type are designed to stay ‘permanently’ fixed to the sail, and are used in conjunction with a ‘quick release’ type of outhaul system which has a large loop that slides over the end of the boom which act as the release mechanism. For the first type, personal preference on what we are happy with is a major factor – some sailors are perfectly happy with the Harken type hook, others prefer the security that a shackle or toggle brings. For the second type, the Ronstan 20mm spliced clew block is arguably the best and the most economic solution.
  • Can I see the instructions as to how the systems are rigged? Yes, follow the following links: Outhaul Installation Guide or Outhaul Installation Guide with Quick Release

General Questions:

  • I am unsure of what is best for me – do you offer free advice? Yes, we offer free advice on what we feel is best for you, based on years of sailing the Laser at championship level. Just contact us at sales@southeastsailboats.co.uk
  • You list Harken and Allen based systems – which is best? From a weight perspective, the Harken block are much lighter. From a strength and functional perspective both are very similar. The Harken blocks are by far the most popular, and are the block type supplied with new UK supplied Lasers. The Allen blocks are an excellent economical solution.
  • I like to rig my Laser differently. Do you offer custom systems? Yes. A quick walk around the Laser boat park at even a world championship will show that there is no ‘right way’ to a rig a Laser – a lot is down to personal preference, and we are happy to build up exactly what you want.
  • Do I have to have everything spliced together? The answer is no, but there are a number of reasons why we splice our systems together. For the primary lines, the fixing to the new ‘soft attach’ blocks is important that it is done correctly, as an incorrectly fixed primary line can pull apart the head of the block. For the secondary lines, particularly the smaller Harken 18mm and Allen 20mm blocks, the size of the sheave makes it difficult to thread a 4mm control line through when a 3mm primary line has already been threaded through.
  • Having a spliced system is great, but what happens when the ropes inevitably wear out? If you liked the original spliced system that we supplied we can rebuild the system using your original blocks. Just send the blocks back to us and we will replace and re-splice the lines for the listed price/metre of the ropes on our website – we can’t say fairer than that!
  • I have just bought a new Laser and I have the bag of blocks and ropes that comes with it. Can you put it all together for me? Yes, we have done this for a number of customers. The bag of ropes that comes with a new Laser can be daunting. We can turn all those ropes and blocks into a ready to fit system from just £60.
  • Can you fit your systems with other types of control line? Yes. Our standard secondary control line rope is FSE Robline Dinghy Control (which is standard on new Lasers) but we can supply most ropes that you may want. Other popular choices are English Braids continuous control line, naked 4mm Dyneema. We can also fit ropes from Gottifredi Maffioli. Some other rope types are not amenable to splicing and would be tied.

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