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July 02, 2020 2 min read

2698 vs 2161 - Harken 18mm Fly Blocks

Harken 18mm Fly Blocks have become very popular since their initial introduction to the market and are used as standard on many boats such as the Laser.

Made from reinforced fibre composite these blocks are designed to provide excellent strength without the bulk of a traditional metal block. The 18mm fly block has an integrated stainless steel inner and works using stainless steel ball bearings. Together these features mean you get high load capacity along with a small lightweight block that won't damage your boat.

There are three versions of the 18mm Fly Block:

In this article we are going to focus on the two single blocks, the standard soft attach and the narrow version looking at the main difference between them.

Harken 18mm Fly Block - Soft AttachHarken 18mm Fly Block - Soft Attach Narrow

The first block seen above is the 2698 single soft attach block, the second block is the 2161 narrow version. If you look closely you'll notice the main difference is at the top of the block where the rope goes through the head on the 2698 but not on the 2161.

The top of the 2161 is solid and the rope can't get through, instead the rope should run up the side of the block and should be secured using whipping twine. With the 2698 the rope runs inside the blocks head.

The advantage of using a 2161 narrow version is that it can be secured closer to the location.It also has two holes at the top for twine to go through to hold the rope close to the block.

Both blocks come with a length of dyneema core rope so you can secure the block to your boat.

18mm Fly Block Specifications

Both blocks have the same specifications:

  • Sheave 18mm
  • Length - 28mm
  • Weight - 7.2grams
  • Max line size - 5mm
  • Max working load - 125kgs
  • Breaking load - 450kgs

Fly blocks are also available in 29mm and 40mm versions. Explore the full range of Harken blocks that we stock and supply.

Top Tips for Attaching Harken Fly Blocks

When you purchase an 18mm block from us you get a little leaflet with the block which explains the dos and don'ts of attaching them.

Here are our top takeaways from the leaflet:

  • Only tie the block to a rounded eye strap, don't use one with hard edges as the rope will wear
  • Always run the rope through the middle of the block as this is where the strength is built in
  • Always go inside the head when using a 2698
  • Always run the line through the block twice to match the working loads of the block to the rope
  • Use a Carrick knot to tie the knot for the blocks
  • Don't let the rope pull the block apart when attaching, cross over the rope to avoid this happening 
  • Check your blocks and rope attachments every so often for wear