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What's so special about the Ronstan Orbit Range?

by Aleix Escorsell 12 Mar 09:00 UTC
What's so special about the Ronstan Orbit Range? © Ronstan

Well known around the world, Ronstan is a great choice for blocks and sheaves for a variety of sailors. They have developed a number of ranges from the basic Utility range to the advanced precision Orbit range.

If you are interested in learning more about the features of the Orbit range and how it varies compares to the other blocks available from Ronstan, this article offers an in-depth look at the Orbit block range to help you determine the best blocks for you and your boat.

The Ronstan Ranges

Ronstan has five main block ranges appropriate for all boats from the smallest dinghies up to super yachts.

See the table below for a top-level overview

RangeSheave diameter (mm)MWL (kg)Price*Weight (g*)
Utility (BB)15‑50120‑50097
Ball bearing Orbit20‑70200‑70099
Utility (PB)40‑50400‑7501871
Core Blok45‑100700‑325044104
Orbit Blocks60‑2001800‑15000180260

* Entry level price (approx. 2019 €) / weight for single block at smallest sheave diameter in range

The Utility Block range, in both Plain and Ball Bearing variations, are a simple, durable and hassle-free design. They are a solid, reliable, cost effective choice for dinghy's and small boats up to 33-34ft.

The Ball Bearing Orbit range is then clearly designed as the modern alternative at this size, covering the sheave diameters and loads of the two Utility block ranges (20-70mm).

The bulk of the sailing market consists of boats from 30-55ft and this is exactly the target for the Core Block range. A more affordable option to the Orbit range (see below), the Core block is robust, durable and trouble free. More information can be found on the website.

The Orbit Block Range

Finally, the Orbit range represents Ronstan's no compromise, top-of-the-range solution. These blocks are designed for performance sailing and racing for boats from 40 to 100ft.

Key Features and benefits of the Orbit Block

- Efficient design

The Orbit block range has been completely stripped of all parts which do not contribute to load carrying. This reduces the block down to only three parts. The twin side pieces, which are sculpted from a high-grade alloy and a one-piece sheave with captive Torlon® ball bearings.

This gives the Orbit block the highest strength to weight ratio of any Ronstan block and reduces the amount of potential break points.

- Strong bearing system The Torlon® captive ball bearings eliminate the need for side retainer plates and allow for a wider bearing surface that can accommodate longer needles, improving the strength to weight ratio substantially and ensuring minimal friction loss, especially at high loads.

This advanced bearing technology means that the Orbit range can have up to a 20% higher working load with a 27% lower weight than the Core block range.

- Universal Head

Made from 17-4PH stainless steel, the shackles are extremely high resistance. The head posts on the swivel blocks can be locked at either 0 degrees or 90 degrees. Many of the blocks in the range also feature a removable pin to allow easy attachment.

- Easy to maintain

The cutaway design means that it's very easy to rinse salt and debris out of these blocks with fresh water, helping you to get more out of your blocks.

Main Applications

Halyard Blocks

These blocks have a wide range of applications, but they are designed primarily for attachment around the mast collar to lead halyards aft from the mast base to winches.

Strop & Lashing Blocks

These blocks are specifically designed for a rope lashing attachment, passing through the hub of the sheave. This is an increasingly popular attachment method for blocks providing security at very high working loads. The have four lashing guide holes allow for single, parallel and split lashing options which provides considerable flexibility in application. The central hole can also be used to configure a becket for a 3:1 purchase system.

Foot Blocks

Sitting flush against the deck or occasionally on the mast, these blocks can be prone to excess amounts of saltwater and dirt ingress.

The top cover plate protects the sheave against direct impact or grime, but can be removed without unmounting the block, making for easy cleaning and maintenance.

Stand Up Blocks

These blocks feature a lockable swivelling head post and are primarily used for applications where you need the block to be aligned, regardless of rope tension such as when running a backstay system or spinnaker sheet.

Is the Orbit block the best choice for you? The main attractions are their high strength to weight ratio, durable material and an elegant design created with both longevity and serviceability in mind. The Orbit blocks are the top of Ronstan's block ranges, and the quality certainly reflects that. However, like all good things, that comes with a price premium over the more affordable Core block range.

Find out more information on the Ronstan Orbit block range, or if you have any questions regarding any hardware or rigging issues complete the running rigging enquiry form. Alternatively you can contact with your questions.

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