What's New at Allen
Author: Allen Brothers Date Posted:26 June 2017
One of the interesting things about hardware design in the sailing industry over the last few years has been the development in rope technology. Previously block ranges faced an unchanging demand and lightness was the only desirable characteristic, however this is no longer the case. With new low stretch Dyneema® the demands upon the hardware have increased exponentially and lightweight blocks are no longer suitable.
When the current Allen dynamic block range was originally brought into the marketplace they were the highest performing blocks in their category, with regards to low friction and load capacity. To this day we feel that they haven’t been beaten and their great value only amplifies their worth. The design decision at the time to implement stainless steel balls and axle has proven to be prescient as they are constantly pushed ever further by new technology. The design challenges to pursue ever better performance are as insistent now as ever.
This led to the development of the HL range and more recently the XHL range, both driven by the foiling revolution currently sweeping through the sailing industry. Demand from Team Allen sailor Chris Rashley forced us to re-examine what was required of a modern block. The development of the XHL range is ongoing and currently we are looking at expanding the range with regards to both size and performance improvements. Working closely with leading rope manufacturers we are currently experimenting with the effect of different sheave scores upon Dyneema®. The traditional v’d or radiused scores do not always promote the best performance of Dyneema®. This has led us to some very interesting designs with which we hope to challenge the norm.
Feedback Led Design
This is only made possible with our customer and Team Allen feedback, an invaluable resource for keeping up with development in sailing and hardware demands. In the last edition of Performance Sailing you might recall discussion of a new inspection hatch design. We received constructive feedback of the old design, having taken this on-board a redesign was undertaken; the new design harks back to the classic look and usability of the Allen hatch, but has the benefits of a modern internal seal. The new design has now been implemented and is available now under the codes A1737, A1837 & A1937 which fit in the standard cut hole sizes of ø108, ø138 & ø154mm.
A new product launched last year which resulted from customer feedback was our new aluminium through deck bush, this has proven very successful. Having taken this positivity for new products with a higher quality and longevity on board, we are expanding our range to include two part threaded through deck bushes. These will be the A8439 & A8539 and will be available in various lengths and the same popular colours as our XHL blocks, thimbles and other bushes. We have managed to maintain the dimensions and sizes of the standard bushes, whilst introducing a threaded design for ease of fitting in double sided applications.
A continuation of this design philosophy is the new range of “dogbones”, also available in the variety of anodised colours offered by Allen. Development of this range was preceded by customer feedback with a requirement for a simpler and more user friendly means of rope attachment to blocks and sails. They are available in various sizes; ø6, ø8, ø12 & ø16mm and marketed as A8606, A8608, A8612 and A8616
Despite the new technologies and developments in the sailing world, here at Allen Performance the mantra still remains the same; innovation, reliability and quality. Development of the new 45mm Auto- Ratchet is ongoing, currently on test with Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell just some of our Team Allen sailors using them.
Expected launch is Autumn (UK) ’17. We look forward to the challenges the new season will throw at us.