Blocks and main sheet

I also changed to a two speed mainsheet. I used the 4:1 /8:1 setup incorporating the cam on the traveler. The amount of line in the cockpit may not be much less but I did reduce the sheet dia. from 1/2" to 3/8". Also the continuous sheet is nice and may reduce the clutter.


I have a bronze boom bale on my spruce boom. What block arrangement should I use? I had planned on using a traveler on the taffrail with a double wood block but am worried that a normal shackle will wear the boom bale thin or put too much point loading where the bale and the shackle touch.
Thank you for your help.

I also have a bronze bail with end-boom sheeting. I had experienced wear from a stainless shackle and went with a bronze shackle. The shackle was sized for the load ~1500lbs and a safety margin. The shackle was bought from Port Townsend Foundry and their’s are rated. Many available bronze shackles are not rated and made of questionable ingredients more suited for display rather than function.


Thank you Tom for the reply.

A couple of questions.

Did you use 1" or 1 1/4" T track?

Why didn’t you run the track further outboard?


Hello @Terrier & All,

I am planning on replacing all the mainsheet hardware on my BCC - Calypso. She has the traditional Hess designed arrangement at the moment with 3 single and 1 double block terminated on deck mounted cleats. Looking through old posts on the forum, I see you installed a Harken 383 dual speed 4:1 / 8:1 mainsheet system on a traveller (presumably) on Terrier. How has that worked out for you?

I’m contemplating the options:

  • Just buying new blocks for the original sheeting arrangement
  • Adding Harken 1574 cam bases to the above
  • Switching to a traveller and mainsheet kit


Hi Jeremy,

I’ve never sailed a BCC in rough conditions, mine was pretty rough so we babied it. I do sail racing dinghies and keelboats so I am familiar with the Harken systems and can give you some opinions.

The Harken 1574 cam base is a standard on keelboats and large dinghies. A racing traveller is quite different because the mainsheet tension is set to shape the mainsail leech. The traveller car is moved to adjust the mainsail angle while tensioned. On a three man crew the middle guy plays the traveller and watches the boat’s balance, if the boat heels too much or develops a weather helm he lowers or loosens the traveller car thereby “dumping” and depowering the mainsail. The dual speed mainsheet system is great for micro adjusting a heavily loaded main, and still have the ability to move a lot of line quickly during mark roundings. We would to weld gussets on the sides of the swivel cam bases to handle these heavy loads.

Vixen has I guess what you would call the traditional mainsheet hardware without a traveller like yours. I came across a picture of Sarafin which has the same system and utilizes a cam cleat. I’m thinking of replicating this with an old bronze cam cleat I found. I’ve got a spare old bronze cam cleat if this is what you are looking for.


Hi Rich - We’re not averse to adopting modern blocks and other rigging on Calypso. Having just replaced the wooden mast with a Selden mast last summer, we are already pretty far down that road. So I am generally not looking for traditional looking hardware anymore.

The Harken cam swivel bases are made in several sizes and the 1574 is the beefiest - using 4 x 1/4" fasteners to secure it. The previous blocks that we are replacing were on bronze padeyes that also used 4 x 1/4" bolts. So this seems like a reasonable match. I gather Sumio built many of the last BCCs with 1574s as delivered from the yard.

The 1574 is a pricey piece of kit clocking in at $320 each (excluding the block). Right now I am favoring starting with just one (on one quarter) and securing the other end of the mainsheet to a padeye on the other quarter. If we like the 1574 and value sheeting from either quarter we can look at adding a second 1574 later.

I’ve pretty much ruled out a traveler as we generally never point higher that 50 apparent which hardly brings the boom inboard of the quarter. So the promise of leach control afforded by a traveler is largely lost. Besides, “gentlemen don’t sail to weather.” :slight_smile:

I’m still debating blocks. I don’t like the aesthetics of the Harken Classic blocks. I’d prefer aluminum cheeks rather than plastic - so don’t like the Harken Carbo blocks. I like the construction of the Antal blocks, but they get pricey. I might need to stick to a Harken block for the 1574 to ensure compatibility in the geometry. I hear some folks have used non-conforming blocks for swivel bases like the 1574 and had issues with the block making contact with the cam - which is not good.


Received my Harken 1574 swivel cam base and 1540 76mm blocks. The combination looks tough enough for the job. 76mm might be overkill. My initial impression is that the block and cam cannot come into contact and bind. Will have to see in a few weeks how this looks on the new taffrail.