Photo credit: Paul Wyeth

Stevie Morrison and Chris Grube Show Harken some of the Systems and Gear onboard their 49er!


Hi there, I’m Stevie Morrison, part of the British Sailing Team and I sail with Chris Grube in the 49er class.

So we are going to have a look at our 49er. The interesting thing with the 49er is that you can’t really be all that clever, so what we are actually trying to achieve is to add up small gains. We cannot put a new block on the rules are very tight so we look at little gains. One of the big areas for us is in the way we arrange the jib sheet, making sure we have got the lightest and lowest resistant blocks which is going to take a lot of load out of the system. This will make sure we can be a lot more precise with the sheeting of everything.

One of the little things we have done is with our jib sheet. We have got the standard feed and the standard Harken cleat and we’ve stuck it on a slightly different base. What we are looking to achieve there is for it to be free running so it twists nicely but that actually there’s no play in it. So when I’m standing right out here on the trapeze I need to be sure that when I move it the blocks not going to move with me at all, so taking all the rigidity out of it. By having the low friction lightweight blocks it means that the whole system will release when I need it to.

The other main area on the 49er is the spinnaker halyard system. Obviously the crews have a pretty hard time of it, it’s a very physical role and again it’s looking to just remove friction from the system to take the load out. We have the Harken piggy back block here, it’s lightweight but strong, there’s an awful lot of load going through that system. Again on the bow the blocks are as light and as free running as possible.

The other main way of course for getting rid of friction in systems is by using McLube. We will tend to get through tins and tins of McLube. Every block, through the halyard system and in the whole set up works well. The spinnaker pole, we’ll McLube that to make sure that’s going to run in and out properly up here. All in the sock and anywhere we think there’s potential for a bit of friction we put in a decent amount of McLube. That just helps make sure that the load going on with Twiggy (Chris Grube) at the front of the boat is reduced because, as I say, the 49er is hard enough to sail without the systems on the boat making it harder for us.

I would like to thank Harken for coming down here to Santander. It’s great to have the guys turn up and give the boat a look over and make sure we haven’t done anything too stupid and making sure all our products are working as they should be.

We are looking forward to a great event and I hope people will be watching the ISAF Worlds here in Santander and with a bit of luck we can make something good happen!

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