Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Morf Block - Evolution in the DNA

by Phil Anniss 17 Aug 08:00 UTC
52 Super Series at Cape Town - Day 4 © Ingrid Abery /

Morf Block - the brainchild of Morfrac Systems - is constantly evolving. Once a DIY block, where the user was free to use the lash thimble of their choice, Morf Block is now available ready-to-run, optimised for either high performance or high load.

In conversation with Nicolas Goldenberg, the founder of Morfrac Systems, this blog post reflects on the evolution of the block over time and considers the future of the product.

"The original aim was to create an all-purpose block - a standard product that was light and could withstand high loads, whilst avoiding complex deck setups," Nicolas says. The premise was simple: customers could attach any lash thimble to the Morf Block parts (the cheeks, plain bearing and Dyneema® attachment) and make a block.

However, despite the success of the DIY concept, Nicolas found having limited control over the lash thimble allowed for too many uncontrollable variables - such as geometry, weight and friction - which could have a damaging effect on performance.

To address this, Morfrac Systems developed their own sheaves and introduced high performance anodising finishes, partnering up with precision machining firm GL for production.

"In light of the positive feedback we received from our customers on this improved version of our blocks, we released the XL range. The sheaves are larger in diameter, CNC machined and made from aluminium or titanium. Our XL blocks go up to 15 tonnes SWL," Nicolas says.

Morfrac Systems also experimented with different 3D printing materials. As a result, high load and high-performance bearings were developed; these bearings utilise the same design, but differing materials allow the bearing to perform optimally for their application.

The high load bearing is ideal for static or semi-static lines, such as halyards, which don't require much tuning. The high-performance bearing is suitable for speed and movement, such as a trim line or spinnaker sheet.

The latest development introduced to the Morf Block is the 'Soft Grip' technology. Morfrac System's R&D team focused its efforts towards increasing the rope traction on the Nituff® anodised sheaves when using small diameter ropes and high-tech covers, such as Dyneema® and PBO. The 'Soft Grip' - a series of dimples on the sheave that resemble a golf ball - delivers a reliable grip whilst being kind on the ropes.

Incremental upgrades such as this are largely possible due to Morfrac Systems 3D printing production methods, which allow for constant incremental improvements on design and materials, allowing innovations to be introduced easily at minor cost.

To ensure optimal performance, minimal wear and reduced weight, the Morf Block is fixed through a textile lashing, allowing it to self-align and twist, and reducing the risk of malfunction and deterioration on the bearing. 'Installation guides are distributed together with our blocks and soon will be available online for all our customers in the form of video-tutorials,' Nicolas says.

The Morf Block has been endorsed by many top actors in the sailing world: TP52's, such as Alegre, have fitted the Morf Block on interior systems. Class 40's - including Veedol, the winner of the last the Route de Rhum - are fans of the XL blocks. Mini's, Open 60's and racing boats all use the block with great success.

Morf Block is available on The standard lash thimble block is available from 150 kilos to 4.5 tonnes SWL, and the XL block can accommodate up to 15 tonnes SWL. Custom products can also be built, for any size.

View the range of Morf Blocks

Related Articles

Composite rigging benefits
A 75% weight saving can transform performance is constantly striving for lighter, faster and safer sailing for all boat owners, regardless of sailing style. Composite (or synthetic) rigging is one of the biggest and most cost-effective performance improvements that you can make. Posted on 22 Oct
Torsional Ropes Versus Cables
Noting the all-important point at which you should change between them In this blog we explore the differences between Torsional Ropes and Custom Torsional Cables, the pros and cons of each and provide guidance on the specification boundaries between the two. Posted on 16 Oct
Adding a Staysail?
Inner forestay setup options discussed by Are you considering upgrading your sail plan to include a staysail? It is an increasingly popular choice, offering considerable performance benefits. In this article we focus on the various setup options. Posted on 8 Oct
Improve Your Sailing Performance
Three simple, cost-effective upgrades from Reducing weight should be every sailors goal, no matter what their sailing style. One kilogram removed from the mast and rigging package is equivalent to adding 4kg to the keel. So, reducing weight aloft increases your stability. Posted on 1 Oct
Stripping and recovering yacht ropes look at when, where and why The majority of yacht ropes are double braid construction i.e. with a core and braided cover. The purpose of this cover is to protect the core from general chafe, abrasion and UV damage but also to provide grip. Posted on 23 Sep
Alphalock Halyard Locks
Simply the best? A close look from The Alphalock brand is a relative newcomer on the sailing hardware scene but its CEO, Eric Hall - founder of Hall Spars and inventor of their renowned Hall Autolocks - is anything but "the new kid on the block"! Posted on 17 Sep
Sailboat Hardware Soft Attachments
Fad or paradigm shift? There is an increasing trend towards soft attachment of sailing hardware and rigging i.e. using a lashing or soft loop, however they are not a catch-all solution. Posted on 10 Sep
Live Rig Load Data at Your Fingertips
Cyclops Marine Smartlink reviewed by In a previous article we looked at the benefits of having live forestay load data using the Cyclops Marine Smarttune load sensor. Now we take a closer look at the sister product, often used in combination with the Smarttune, called the Smartlink. Posted on 3 Sep
An Innovative Twist to the Stick-on Padeye
LOOP Products available at Padeyes are a multi-purpose attachment point, traditionally made of steel and bolted directly on to the deck. With a significant shift to soft connections over the last 5-10 years, the humble padeye has been through its own transformation. Posted on 28 Aug
Nine uses for Millionaire's tape
Excellent value for money, despite the name PROtect Mask, commonly known as 'Millionaire's tape' in many sailing circles, has been an essential part of riggers toolkits for years. Posted on 21 Aug
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER