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December 17, 2021 3 min read

Harken UK Training Day

In November the Sailing Chandlery team went down to Harken to improve our knowledge of the product range to support our customers with the purchasing of new Harken products.

Here are a few things we thought would be useful to tell you.

Types of Bearings and their uses

Harken use a range of different bearings for different applications around your boat from plain sleeve bearings to caged roller bearings made from Titanium to Torlon.

Plain / Roller Bearings Performance Under High Load. 

Roller bearings are great for use on applications where the load is high and static. An example of this would be Boom Vangs, Halyard blocks and Cascade systems.

The Harken Element block is one of the best plain bearing blocks on the market.

Roller Bearings High Load Capacity

In the Harken range, roller bearings are found in winches and the biggest and strongest yachting blocks. The cages hold the bearings to a tighter tolerance than un-caged bearings stopping them from moving around and hitting each other when under load or rolling.

Black Magic, V Blocks and Winches all use roller bearings to work under and withstand the load that big boats have.

Ball Bearings very low friction, low to medium load capacity

Ball bearings are by far the most commonly used bearing they can be found in anything from cleats, swivel bases, travellers, 16mm air blocks and mega yacht blocks. There are a few different types of materials for different ball bearing applications:

  • Hardened Steel - Poor corrosion resistance
  • Stainless Steel -The best bearing material, great corrosion resistance
  • Torlon - Great friction resistance, minimal rolling resistance and durable for heavy long term use
  • Delrin - low to medium loadings and cleats. Cheaper than Torlon  

You would find Torlon Balls in traveller and genoa systems to work under substantial loads for longer-term use.

You would find Delrin balls in the Harken Micro blocks that are not under great load but are adjusted regularly whilst under load on small dinghies.

Materials and Construction 


The Carbo blocks range from 29mm to 75mm. They can be ordered in a range of different specifications from cheek to triple block with a cleat and floppy spinnaker halyard blocks. 

Carbo's reinforced glass fibre nylon is extremely durable and eliminates the need for stainless steel side plates. This all comes together to make the Carbo blocks 30% lighter and 60% stronger than the classic blocks.


The Classic range has been with Harken from the start. Therefore they come in at a lower price compared to the Carbo range as they are an evolution from the classic. One key difference between them is the bearing race, having the balls on a flat race causes a small contact patch whereas the shaped race of the carbo allows for more strength and friction, increasing the working load substantially.

Fly and T2

The Fly blocks are a relatively new design from Harken. The soft attach blocks are slowly working their way into more boats and people are seeing its advantage. For example, the 18mm and 29mm Fly / T2 blocks are now the blocks every Laser sailor is fitting to their boat as they are stronger than the air blocks they were using previously. Mainly due to the shaped stainless steel bearing race and the use of stainless steel ball-bearings to cope with the load of the 8 to 1 downhaul systems on the boats.

View Our Range Of Harken Blocks

Harken UK don't just help us with Harken.

Harken UK is a distributor for many of your other favourite sailing brands:

Harken works with these smaller brands to help our customers and us get these great products quickly and regularly.

Harken UK supports these brands to help them grow and get new products out for people to see.

Attention to detail

Whilst spending the day with Harken you can see the lengths they go to create great products. For example, the Harken Marine Grip isn't like any ordinary grip that ruins sailing clothing at the expense of grip.

Marine Grip can come in 1 or 2-inch widths sold by the meter it's also available in different shapes and sizes like hexagons.

The marine grip was originally designed by surfers to replace surf wax. It's a thin design whilst remaining non-abrasive and grippy. The thin design also means you are less likely to catch the edge of the grip when moving around your boat and less likely to cause it to lift and come off meaning your grip will last longer on your boat. Different colours and shapes mean the design of the grip you can create on your boats are endless. 

View The Complete Harken Range

Harken Questions?

Get in touch with our team who are happy to answer any of your Harken related questions.