New Spinlock cleat

We’ve been sailing Freya for a few months now and noticed a few areas where we could improve sail handling. One of them is the single sheet for the club jib, which was controlled by a winch on the cabin top and secured with a traditional cam cleat. When the sheet is under a lot of tension (not uncommon with the 20+ knots of wind we often get here), it can be hard to tail the sheet while winching and eventually secure it in the cam cleat. To alleviate this problem, a Spinlock PXR “roller action” camcleat would be perfect: the sheet is fed continuously through the cleat while tailing and the roller prevents it from releasing; when needed, the sheet can be easily released by shifting the spring release on top (with little force needed).

I started by removing the old cam cleats from the cabin top (there were two, the purpose of the leftmost one was unclear – I decided to get rid of it altogether). I then plugged the four bolt holes with epoxy and re-drilled two new holes for the PXR. While it is described as having holes fitting a “standard” cam cleat, it turns out the one Cape Dory installed was slightly wider. I therefore re-used one of the previous holes and drilled a new one with the right spacing. The cabin top is really thick where the cleats are attached, with uncored fiberglass between the top and internal liner to provide sufficient backing (another good construction technique from Cape Dory), I didn’t have to install a backing plate. However, this also means that extra-long bolts are needed: 4 inches in this case, and they were not stocked in the M5 I needed at any chandlery. A friendly employee at Pagano’s (a great neighborhood hardware store in Alameda) suggested I try Bay Bolt, a local company specializing in… bolts, of course. And indeed, they stock pretty much any fastener in existence, a great find!

The pictures below show the old setup and the new one. I plan to put it to use this coming week-end but it definitely feels like an improvement already.