Peter Harken first designed the now iconic six-sided Hexaratchet® block in 1971. With a 17:1 holding power ratio, this meant that the trimmer had only to exert one (1) pound of force to hold 17 pounds of load. This leverage provides much-needed relief when conditions are breezy. As Peter said, “(it) has made every ratchet block in existence obsolete including our old one.” Fast forward forty-six years and Harken Ratchet blocks are found aboard nearly every class of boat across the sport of sailing.

Learn about key features of Ratchet blocks from Matt Schmidt, Harken Product Manager for Small Boat blocks:

Header Photo: © Billy Black

RECOMMENDED

Regatta, Video

Keeping It Fair and Square

Before any major international one-design class championship, competitors’ sailboats must pass a measurement check to ensure it complies

Repair, Video

Fired Up For Fiberglass Fixes

With help from Columbia Yacht Club Sailing School, this group of high school sailors is learning the skills

Rigging, Video

Customizing the Engage Point on your Ratchamatic Blocks

Did you know that you can customize Harken Ratchamatic blocks to better suit your strength and sailing style?

Rigging, Safety, Video

How To Care For Your Blocks

Dirt, sand, and grime can accumulate in your blocks over time. To prevent this, the best sailors keep


What exactly is a Blockhead? If you are totally obsessed with how to rig and sail your boat, you might already be one! Join the community of Blockheads to learn more about the sport, engage with others and share sailing experiences. This site serves as the hub for Blockheads globally, where you can discover how to join, media, tips and tricks, contests, and events. This program is all about YOU and we want to hear from everyone! Not seeing something? Your feedback is crucial, feel free to shoot us a comment or message.