Spring Commissioning: Cam Cleats

Sometimes you have to pass through complexity on the road to simplicity, as one sailor found while rethinking his sail-handling systems.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Although many of us say we like to live by the KISS principle, sometimes it’s not so easy to Keep It Simple, Stupid. On sailboats, this is evident in the endless quest to make sailhandling more efficient. Well, it’s my endless quest, anyway. Sometimes it doesn’t pan out that way, and I end up overcomplicating what should be a simple issue. For instance…

Ostara has always had a winch on either side of the companionway to handle halyards and other lines. During a refit a few years back I ditched the aging banks of jammers that dealt with these lines and installed four Spinlock XTS clutches per side to cope with the anticipated reefing lines and halyards. The starboard clutches handle the genoa, staysail and spinnaker halyards.

Then I decided to reef at the mast, so the port side clutches were instead relegated to serve the vang, Cunningham, outhaul and topping lift (the latter led aft to minimize mast clutter, while the other lines were left at the mast to minimize cockpit clutter… ).

Before— the winch was redundant, and the clutches were not right for the job

Before— the winch was redundant, and the clutches were not right for the job

These lines, being relatively lightly loaded, did not really warrant rope clutches, but hey, they were there, right? Same with the winch—I haven’t used it once in five years. And—annoyingly—the Spinlocks’ levers fouled the dodger. I never sail with the dodger up except in bad weather, so it wasn’t that big a deal, but I was always aware of it, because I’m constantly fiddling with the vang, outhaul and cunningham.

So, during this year’s spring commissioning, I decided to strike. Off came the winch and Spinlocks, and on went four cam cleats, nicely color-coded to eliminate confusion, since all four lines are the same color. The most heavily loaded lines will be the vang and the Cunningham. The vang has a 4:1 purchase so its load is well within the 300lb safe working load of the Harken cam cleats, and by the time there’s enough load on the Cunningham to be a concern, it’ll be time for a reef in the mainsail anyway.

After—a nice and simple setup: black for topping lift, green for outhaul, red for Cunningham and yellow for vang—or was that the other way round?

After—a nice and simple setup: black for topping lift, green for outhaul, red for Cunningham and yellow for vang—or was that the other way round?

The new set-up is an absolute joy to work, and I feel much less Stupid for having Kept It Simple. Anyone want to make an offer for some lightly used rope clutches?

Related

20190614_131026

Kiwi Spirit Takes Line Honors in Bermuda

Mark Riley’s Farr 63 Kiwi Spirit secured line honors yesterday in the Marion to Bermuda race, finishing off St. David’s Lighthouse at 0227 local time. Francis Seldorff’s Kinship, a Baltic 52, was second in the 40-boat fleet, crossing the line at around 0500. With 18-year-old ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No cracked skulls please Modern boats with aft bathing ladders offer a big advantage when it comes to rescuing crew who have fallen overboard. Not all casualties are basket cases unable to help ...read more

01-Lead-show

France’s Annual Multihull Show

If a boat show could be described as intimate, the annual Salon International du Multicoque in La Grande Motte, on France’s Mediterranean coast, is it. Held in the latter part of April, the multihulls-only in-water show is a boon for builders, because the people who attend come ...read more

Furlex-Electric

Gear: Seldén’s Furlex Electric

Furl Power Seldén’s Furlex Electric offers an easy path into the world of sweat-free headsail furling. The compact unit can be retrofitted to an existing manual Furlex unit or installed as a replacement for whatever you’ve got now. Its DC-DC converter accepts your boat’s 12V or ...read more

11_DSC8423Tom-Zydler

Cruising: Nova Scotia

There’s a unique cruising ground that combines access to urban locations with easy escapes to wilderness and nature. Its native people may be the friendliest on the east coast of North America. Its coastline runs 250 nautical miles in a straight line, but that should be ...read more

01-LEAD-shutterstock_727849660

Boat Monitoring System

Boat Oversight In a world where you can track your friends’ locations in real time and stream yourself live on the internet, it should come as no surprise that you can also keep a close eye on your boat from the comfort of home. In fact, not only is there a plethora of options ...read more