Blocks and main sheet

Hi all,
The stainless steel/wood blocks on my taffrail are getting ready to fail. Have I mentioned how much I hate stainless? Shanti is 21 years old now and all my stainless is going. In the last 2 months I have had 2 snap shackles, a turnbuckle, and my main sail outhaul fail.

Ah but I digress. I want to replace the blocks with wood/bronze. Anybody have sources they have found. Also I am thinking of changing the sheeting arrangement. May go to a traveler back there. Any picks of some good setups will be appreciated. I would like to have a cam cleat in there some where for quick dumping of the sheet.


Ahoy Gary, I share your disdane for SS on our boats and have endevored to replace as much SS as I can with Bronze.

I will try to attach a pik of Calliste’s main sheet block , jam cleat, and traveler.

The traveler on the taffrail design, I copied from Norm Reynolds BCC ( a former yard forman at SLM ) .
I purchased the bronze “T” track from Port Townsend Foundry.

The South Coast block arrangement I fabricated in my shop.

The jam cleat I purchased from Bronze Star, but they are out of business, now.

Mike Anderson may also still have piks of Calliste’s main sheet arrangement.

There are some v nice blocks still being manufactured in the UK , I think , try this link.

I think some of the Wooden Boat Forum threads have references to speciality blocks, too.

Sounds like BCC Elizabeth has plans to sail down your way, this winter, have fun.


Hi Douglas,
Nice arrangement! I have seen that before and was wondering who’s that was. Are you happy with the length of the track? anything you would have done different?

Does Norm still have his BCC? I always liked his interior arrangment.

I don’t have a shop to use, but maybe I can get Mike to make one up for me.

Thanks for the pic.

Ahoy Gary , I made a mistake, remembered later his name is “Herb” Reynolds, not Norm Reynolds, sorry about that.

I can’t remember Herb’s BCC’s name, but in 1995 when I was actively looking for a BCC , his former BCC was for sale, in San Diego.

At that time it was owned by an airline pilot, and he had listed it for sale.

I got some v good design ideas from that boat, like my bow pulpit, stern pushpit, mainsheet traveler track,
and a yet to be completed port side cockpit seat hatch, similar to the lasserett hatch, for exterior access to the engine compartment, where I want to place my watermaker.

I think that Pete Langly of P T Foundry told me that his mold patern for the “T” shaped cast bronze track, was only 3’ long, but if I needed longer, I could have two 3’ long tracks joined or welded together.

I have had only one functioning problem with this mainsheet systen, since it was installed in 1997,
(eventhough it is just a bit “clunky” looking)

I did have to replace the ss springs in the cam cleat, once, but I had replacement springs on hand, like you’re and my ss parts, my internal cam springs rusted away .

I found the track car and track spring-pin stops, as used surplus at Minny’s in Newport, but these can be machined from bronze solid stock.

I got the silicon bronze plate from Alaskan Copper and Brass in Seattle,and bent them in my vice , the bronze bolts from FASCO in Oakland.

I am not a competative sailor, so I don’t have to adjust the track car very often, so don’t need the extra track car adjustment lines and pulleys, that Harken or Schaefer uses.

I absolutely love those South Coast Blocks, and these I also found at Minny’s , sure would like to know just what type plastic was used for the block cheeks, as that plastic is soooo “bullet proof” ???

It was back in 1985 at Isla Pardita, that Doug Schmuck of BCC Puffin, told me how to climb back onboard, climbing up through the “Vee” opening in the boomkin, but that the mainsheet lines to the blocks located at the taffrail corners always seemed a problem to me, to step over when re-entering the cockpit.

Like you, Herb Reynolds was an active scuba diver, back then, so I just bet that he climbed back on board this way after swim call, and welcomed the absence of that “triangle” mainsheet arrangement.

Sure hope that you are enjoying BCC Shanti , as much as we all enjoy, ours.



Arthur Dauphinee & Sons in Lunenburgh, Nova Scotia still makes nice Ash and Lignum blocks with stainless or bronze straps and sheaves. They’re not cheap, but are excellent quality. Plus, he’s a wonderful man to talk to.

You can also get all-bronze blocks from Bronze Blocks ( They’re pretty and, being all silicon bronze, will last forever.


I recently purchased three sets of blocks from Arthur. He does a nice job and he is great to deal with. I ordered three different sizes and specified Black Locust shells. All of the metal is bronze and the sheeves are bronze with bronze roller bearings. He can also do Teak shells if you wish. Most of his clients are commercial fishing people so the blocks are made to take it.
Good luck,
SV “Grey Seal”

Here is block construction recently purchased from Arthur Daphinee. The shells are Black Locust , this block features a becket which I asked for.

I am restoring a wooden BCC and have had to make a new taffrail (among other things). As a result I have the opportunity to go with the traditional arrangement of main sheet blocks or a traveler. I thought I had seen a discussion on the problems\benefits of each but can’t find it. Any help finding the discussion or thought on the choices would be greatly appreciated.

My only experience with the traditional arrangement has been limited to a much smaller craft. I was surprised that the location of the blocks did not allow the boom to be centered as well due to the pull from both sides. Is this true or am I doing something wrong?

The other question was regarding the focused strain placed on the taffrail in using a traveler. It seems that the traditional arrangement distributes the load over all the blocks and therefore puts less strain on any one section. The traveler seems to place all the strain on the two bolts adjacent to where the traveler is stopped.


Hi Drew , Good Luck and Happy Times during the restoration.

I sailed my BCC from Honolulu to Seattle with the factory installed blocks and main sheet arrangement, and had no problems during a heavy blow on that trip.

During a re-fit in Newport Beach, I changed the main sheet to a DIY traveler track, and got in another heavy blow midway to Tahiti, and had no trouble from this arrangement.

I didn’t really notice any real difference in handling or performance between the two different arangements.

Re: " The traveler seems to place all the strain on the two bolts adjacent to where the traveler is stopped.

It seems that you are assuming that the cast bronze traveler track doesn’t help spread the load to the other bolts along the track ???

If you notice in the photo, that there is a missing bolt in the track just over the tafrail suport knee. I had intended to place a bolt there, but not discovered a need for that yet.
A bolt at this location would indeed transfer most of the track load from the tafrail to the knees. When or if I discover the track trying to lift the tafrail away from the knees, then I will install that missing bolt in each knee.

What size line do you use for your main sheet. I’m having a hard time finding a bronze cam cleat for anything larger than 3/8.



DAVEY & COMPANY make Tufnol cam cleats. We installed two of these cleats for our 1/2" main sheet. RW Rope is the importer -

see BCC project album -


Hi Gary and Rod , I think my main sheet is 1/2" diameter, what ever came with the boat .

Gee , Rod , that cam cleat photo that you directed us to , makes my DIY Rube Goldberg main sheet block look every bit as clunky as it really is, Ouch !

Like Gary , I would rather have clunky bronze any day then have a SS look good jam cleat there .

When comes the times to “Sheet Out” , I want it quick and easy , not the time it takes to un-cleat it from a fixed cleat .

The bonus I got was , when I climb back onboard. I climb up through the middle of the bumkin “vee” , standing on the rudder shoulder. This main sheet arrangement stays out of my way, when re-entering the cockpit .

To each , his own , I am not going to change back to the original main sheet arrangement , so am happy with what I got .


I like your bronze traveler and especially the main sheet block. It looks functional and robust, just the sort of hardware befitting a Bristol Channel Cutter.


Thank You Rod , most everything on my boat is a copy of what I saw on other BCC’s , and then adapted to my BCC . I am not creative or an engineer , drats !

I did a heap of research , eleven years worth , before I could feel that I was ready to cut those dock lines and get gone.

What is really important to realize is that our boats are always , “a work in progress” , as we constantly try to reduce that, " To Do List " , and get our boats and ourselves ready for the big pond experience .

What we can " Bank On " , is that our boats will get us through , no mater what , and that is the best insurance a marine life onboard , can give , all Thanks to Lyle , and his vision .

We are Blessed to be owners of these boats , and I enjoy every moment of that priviledge .


Thanks for the great photo. Did you make the hardware, buy it or have it made?

“it seems that you are assuming that the cast bronze traveler track doesn’t help spread the load to the other bolts along the track ???”

I assume the strength of the bronze traveler track wouldn’t come into play until the fasteners on each side of the strain would begin to fail. Considering how easily I can bend the bronze track I assume the fasteners are taking most of the strain.


Ahoy Drew , so sorry for any misrepresentations, from my juvinal explanations.

I do think that the bronze “T” track does indeed spread the load quite well.

Even in the most sever weather that I have encountered so far , the main sheet to the boom has never come to the “Bar-Tight” streatch , that my anchor chain snubber, has come to . Not even in full gale knockdown conditions, of the two or three that I have experienced already .

I was a dinghy sailor first before my first keel boat , and I recognized the need to be able to sheet out as quickly as possible to avoid capsize. I wanted the same quick release on the main sheet as I had on dinghys , maybe not the best for all the BCC owners and sailors , but it was for me .

Like Gary of BCC Shanti , I profoundly dislike SS structural fittings, which motivated my decision to invent this rig .

My set up as pictured in a previous post is a “Rube-Goldberg” DIY , mish mash of stuff I could acquire at a local used parts marine chandlery in Newport Beach Ca , named “Minnies” , back in 1998 .

I was luckly to find a bronze track car that fit the bronze track I purchased from P T Foundary , along with two track stoppers. I mated the South Coast Blk to the track car with bronze sheet that I bent to be a platform for a bronze jamb cleat.

So far the only failures have been the internal ss springs in the jamb cleat, of which I fortunatily had spares.

As said previously I copied this idea from a previously and similarily equiped BCC.

Of course many other BCC owners do not need to change their existing main sheet riggs , but they usually have more onboard crew than me who has had to sail solo for way too long .

Most all of us set-up our boats for easy handling , well , me too ! L O L

Thanks for the additional info.

Just a quick follow up question…

Do you find the power of the multi part purchase on the traveler sufficient to adjust the mainsheet by itself or do you combine it with a winch?



Hi Drew , handing in on the main sheet, even close hauled, to put the rail under, there is no need to “winch in” , the main sheet, just haul it in by hand.

So , Yes , is the answer to your question .

In case you are still in the market for wood blocks R&Wrope represents Ording a German block maker and if you can break through the language barrier check out Dryade and Solimar.

I am going to try a two speed mainsheet and traveller if the swivel cam base will fit in front of the track on the taffrail. Attached is a drawing from Harken’s cataloge.

Harken 2 to 1 4 to 1.jpg