Like most sailors I know, you most probably have not checked the condition of your blocks and rope clutches systems over the winter. It's definitely worth doing before you set of on any extended cruises this summer.
For blocks and sheaves:
Flush through with fresh water only and as often as you can, which helps dislodge and remove salt crystals
You can also periodically clean through using a mild detergent with water, but make sure it is ecologically friendly
Do not oil or grease as this attracts dust and salt, which is abrasive.
Check the sheave rotation. Excessive movement on the bearing would suggest it is worn out.
Check also for signs of elongation around the fixing holes and shackle at the head of the block as this would suggest overloading.
If in any doubt replace it with a higher load block, this especially applies to mast head blocks which are not so easy to inspect.
Look at the block side plates for wear on the inside edge. Excessive wear suggests a foul lead and you may need to replace with a swivel head for better articulation.
For ball bearing blocks, the sheaves should spin freely. Again flush through with fresh water. Any graunching or uneven spin after flushing would suggest the block has been overloaded.
Ball bearing blocks are not suitable for high static loads as the bearings will distort, replace with a plain bearing block or one with a higher rolling load rating
For rope clutches:
Flush through with fresh water and let dry.
We then recommend a silicone based grease for the handle and cam pivot points only.
If the halyard or control line is slipping, try and look at the cam face inside for wear, the handles can also fail on older rope clutches, tell tale signs are fractures around the pivot point, repair or replace as necessary, the best rope clutch manufacturers will offer spare handles and cams for you to install
Make sure your lead deflection into the rope clutch is within 10 degrees. Any more is putting excessive side load on the unit and you may need to purchase a deck organiser to address this.
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