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:

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

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more