Installing cam block, with reinforcement underneath

Thread starter #1
Hello--I purchased a cam cleat/cam base (photo included) to install on my new-to-me Sunfish. (It's not the Harken Carbo Ratchet Single Block w/pulley like some forum members have). My dad installed the cam base on the Sunfish I sailed as a kid, and since it helped a ton, I figured I'd just go with that. I assume that I should lessen the load on the underside of the screw holes, with either a plate or washers, etc. At first glance the installation looked pretty easy, but there are a couple of factors that seem to me like they may complicate things. I'm planning on installing it directly in front of the centerboard slot, as shown in attached photo (I also included one of my boat, and another of the cam base). The cockpit lip exposes the bottom of part of the area to which I'll screw the cam base, which will allow me to reach underneath and reinforce with washers and a plate, etc. (quite a bit of the bottom is actually exposed, but since the deck flares up abruptly close to the point that it meets the cockpit, I will have to install the cam base closer to the centerboard slot than I initially figured (otherwise, the bottom of the case base would not sit flush against the deck). This means there won't be that much exposed cockpit lip for me to work with when installing a plate/washers, and I'll just barely be able to reinforce two of the three screw holes. I did just install an inspection port on the forward cockpit wall, so that will theoretically allow me to reach up and install a washer on the back of the remaining screw. My dad isn't around anymore, and I have a feeling he just screwed the cam base on without any reinforcing on the back. But that sounds like it could be a recipe for disaster. I'm thinking I shouldn't use wood as a plate, since that could rot (since underside of cockpit lip is exposed). I suppose I could varnish it, which would help preserve it. What have people from the forum used? (sorry for the lengthy explanation-- I wanted to make sure people got a clear cam cleat.jpg cam cleat_2.jpg cleat.jpg picture of what I'm talking about.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#2
I probably shouldn't be answering here, as I've never installed one! However, I have owned six genuine Sunfish, where each has had a unit installed like yours is to be...shortly. Each was attached by over-long s/s machine screws and nuts, which may have come with the part originally. I would not use rivets or any other screw (metal- or wood-screw) in this application.

Two ex-racer Sunfish of mine have (or had) gelcoat cracks that we've been terming "spider-cracks" for their spiderweb-like appearance. One, I've ground down to 'glass, and reinforced with a "mat" glass mound on the exterior/uppermost surface. If your 'Fish is stored indoors, there's less likelihood of spider-cracks there, but consider some kind of "compliant" spacer top and bottom, anyway. (Cutting-board, vinyl, nylon, teak, hard rubber). McMaster is sure to carry the inch-long nylon nut I'd mentioned earlier (as "ideal").

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#3
L&VW mentioned it and others on the Sunfish Forum have used a piece cut from one of those hard plastic cutting boards.

I personally think if you can get a fender washer on 2 of the 3 screws, you'd probably be fine enough, especially if the 3rd straddled the deck-to-cockpit wall joint, which would be a naturally stiffened area anyway.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
Good morning all,

Don't overcomplicate it. Do NOT drill into the interior of the boat. All you need is a proper size small stainless washer under each stop nut. There is a lot of reinforcement in that area that comes from the stiffening provided by the daggerboard trunk, deck and cockpit seam, vertical wall of the cockpit and the rolled edge of the cockpit. And all of the load is spread over those nearby areas by the base plate. That is how the factory installed them.

Measure so the screws are just a tiny bit closer to the cockpit wall that the cockpit lip, and you may want to drill holes so that the aftmost screw does not come through directly next to the hardware for the sheet hook..

One of the kets is to buy the right size and type stainless machine screw, we used #8-32 1 inch stainless flat head screws with washers and nylon stop nuts. Should be available at Lowes/HD/Ace etc.... A proper size socket makes it easy to hold the stop nuts while they are tightened.

To be real technical, the base of the cleat is just over one finger width back from the lip....

swivel cleat sunfish.jpg

Check out our blog for a few more pictures: http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2013/05/swivel-cam-cleat-installation.html

20 minute job.

Post pictures on the water :)

Good luck.
Kent and Audrey
 
#5
Ah I misunderstood. I thought everyone was installing it and placing the washers from the inside via the inspection port. But I suppose there is enough lip over the cockpit that you can just place the washers there without getting on the inside.
 
Thread starter #6
Good morning all,

Don't overcomplicate it. Do NOT drill into the interior of the boat. All you need is a proper size small stainless washer under each stop nut. There is a lot of reinforcement in that area that comes from the stiffening provided by the daggerboard trunk, deck and cockpit seam, vertical wall of the cockpit and the rolled edge of the cockpit. And all of the load is spread over those nearby areas by the base plate. That is how the factory installed them.

Measure so the screws are just a tiny bit closer to the cockpit wall that the cockpit lip, and you may want to drill holes so that the aftmost screw does not come through directly next to the hardware for the sheet hook..

One of the kets is to buy the right size and type stainless machine screw, we used #8-32 1 inch stainless flat head screws with washers and nylon stop nuts. Should be available at Lowes/HD/Ace etc.... A proper size socket makes it easy to hold the stop nuts while they are tightened.

To be real technical, the base of the cleat is just over one finger width back from the lip....

View attachment 26282

Check out our blog for a few more pictures: http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2013/05/swivel-cam-cleat-installation.html

20 minute job.

Post pictures on the water :)

Good luck.
Kent and Audrey
 
Thread starter #7
Hello-- thanks all for their comments and help! I did have a few pretty quick follow-up questions, but I won't have time to post/reply with those until tomorrow. Just wanted to give a quick thanks now. I think this goes out to all who replied...?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#8
Ah I misunderstood. I thought everyone was installing it and placing the washers from the inside via the inspection port. But I suppose there is enough lip over the cockpit that you can just place the washers there without getting on the inside.
Yes, there is enough room. No need to drill into the hull.
 
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