And there is nothing out there to keep your sails up that boasts fewer moving parts than Eric Hall’s superbly reliable Alphalock system...
Minimise what can go wrong to maximise reliability. Based on that principle, Alphalock’s high reliability comes from utter simplicity. There is only one moving part: the locking flipper itself. No springs, latches, ball detents or anything else that can corrode or wear out during service.
The key to Alphalock’s simplicity is a patented “solid state” combination of shape and magnetism that precisely and consistently guides the locking flipper into its locking (cocked) and unlocking (neutral) positions, season after season. Unlike springs that tend to wear out in a season or two, the strength of Alphalock’s magnetic componentry does not diminish with age. The Alphalock automatic action is simple: hoist to lock, hoist again to unlock. The Alphalock product line covers all halyard and reefing lock applications.
The range includes Block Locks, a multihull favourite. Stropped to masts externally, Block Locks simplify locking on rotating masts and are also used on code zero tack lines.
Internal InMast Locks are designed to automatically lock asymmetric spinnaker and Code Zero halyards after they’ve passed over the halyard sheave and into the mast. InMast Locks are also used to lock reefing lines in booms.
Mast wall ThruMast locks are used to lock staysail halyards and removable inner forestays.
Alphalocks cover all halyard and reefing lock applications.
Main image: a Block Lock for external headsail halyards and code zero tack lines.
Above: a Locking Gaff Car for a square top mainsail.
Below: only one moving part. No springs or other parts.
Bottom: the ThruMast Lock is ideal for staysails and inner foresails
On the aft side of the mast, the Alphalock line includes automatically locking pinhead and square top mainsail cars, the latter allowing automatic mainsail head attachment remotely from the deck.
The range of the Alphalock product line accommodates sailboats of all sizes from 30-footers to superyachts. For instance, in 2021, a Farr 40 used a standard 1.5-ton maximum working load InMast spinnaker halyard lock. Meanwhile, a Judel-Vrolijk Baltic 145 specified a custom made 33-ton maximum working load Headboard Car. Both worked flawlessly straight out of the box.
Alphalock automatic halyard locks will continue their fifth year of reliable service in 2022. Four years ago, Alphalock’s uniquely simple system was more promise and potential than proven track record. Today, the system’s reliability has been proven impressively. Last December the Hoek 80 Oroton Drumfire completed its third Sydney-Hobart Race which included scores of sail changes without a locking miss on the mast crane-mounted Block Locks.
Fitted with InMast locks for its two masthead halyards, the Reichel/Pugh 55-footer Wild Joe completed its third season with InMast Alphalocks including three Middle Sea Races as well as Maxi Rolex regattas during those years. The locks “worked 100 per cent of the time” reported Wild Joe’s captain.
Also, now in their third year of sailing, the 33T Headboard Cars on the three masts of a Huisman-built 280-foot schooner are as reliable as the day they were installed.
The key to Alphalock reliability is the utter simplicity of servicing the locks. In all cases, the locks can be disassembled in a minute or two, serviced, then reassembled, usually in less than five minutes. That includes even the 33-ton MWL superyacht headboard cars, which can be serviced on the mast. Unquestionably, Alphalock halyard locks are very easy to service.
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