Mast Cleat

Thread starter #1
Ok Guys, this is how I did it.

Get your cleat (4 or 4-1/2") of choice, stainless steel bolts (long enough to go thru the cleat, mast side and nuts, plus a little) and nuts, small fish line or dental floss, 4" of 1/8" solder, sealant (3M 4200/5200), drill, pliers, wrench, a piece of aluminum step flashing and a clothespin.

You will have to remove the mast base cap and any cork to do the rest.

I used a piece of flashing (2" L x 3/4" W) to wrap the heads of the bolts to keep them from turning. Place the cleat over this piece of aluminum and drill your holes in it. Use the cleat as a drill guide on the mast also. Insert your bolts (with a bit of sealant under the heads) thru the aluminum and fold the aluminum over the the bolt heads (crimp tight with pliers). From the holes in the mast, drop the strings (tied to 2" pieces of solder) out the bottom. Tie (or glue) the string to the threaded end of the bolts. Apply sealant to the area of the bolts and flashing that will contact the inside of the mast and gently pull the bolts thru the holes in the mast. Put a clothes pin temporarally on the bolts to keep them from falling back into the mast and remove the string. Put a bit of sealent under the cleat, place over the the bolts, add your nuts (nylock recomended) and tighten.

Reinstall the mast cap and you are done. This method can also be used to attach cleats for an outhaul or cunninham or to replace the mainsheet blocks on the lower spar.

Wind Line Sails ( has a jens rig kit that includes every thing you need for about 12-13 bucks. Placement pictures are found under the Tips and Tricks Section and FAQs on the SF Class page. ISCA Rule 3.5.9 specifies the max height of the cleat on the mast. Wind Line also has an outhaul/cunningham kit and APS ( has a similar kit for the mainsheet blocks. Good Luck


Yikes ! That's a lot of fuss.

I put a cleat on my mast 12 years ago with stainless pop rivets. Took all of 10 minutes to install. Still holding tight today.

Reattached a strap on the boom spar after the aluminum rivet pulled out. Used stainless there too. Strong and tight to this day.
Thread starter #4
I agree that it is a bit more complicated, but I did have a rivit failure before. I wasn't able to get stainless rivits long enough at the time (for a nylon cleat) and used aluminum rivit. After the failure of the aluminum rivits, I used the above method to attach the cleat. It took longer to write up than to do. Thanks for your alternative method.
THat's why I just bought the Hobie 16 mast cleat repair kit. Came with the cleat, stainless pop rivets and rivet cups to waterproof them. Two drilled holes and in 2 minutes it was done with no searching for parts or fussing around.
John, any good marine supply store wil have them in stock. They might not have the waterproofing cups though. That's the main reason I bought the kit. Pop Rivets will leak through the center
St. Louis Sailing Center on St. Charles Rock Rd. would have them. Check their site. I think they close at 3 on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays.
Thread starter #11
I've tried the StL Sailing Center, West Marine and a few other "marine" places and the only ones they all had on hand were too short (longest 3/4"). I needed 1" plus, I probably should have changed to a lower profile cleat. My cleat is well secured now, but I will keep the other info for further reference and repairs/upgrades (boom cleats and blocks). I'll be restoring my brothers 1963 SF soon. It sails ok, but... it needs some work. Vanguard has brought back a red/white sail to go with his red deck, so it will be good project

Since you live in the St. Louis area, will you be at Creve Couer Lake on Sunday, the 17th for the CCSA races? If you are, I have an all white SF and launch from the beach area. Stop by and say hello.
mike4947 said:
THat's why I just bought the Hobie 16 mast cleat repair kit. Came with the cleat, stainless pop rivets and rivet cups to waterproof them. Two drilled holes and in 2 minutes it was done with no searching for parts or fussing around.


This Hobie 16 mast cleat repair kit sounds like a perfect solution for me. I've worried about drilling holes in my mast.

Do you have an online source for this? I've check APS but could not find it.



beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Or buy stainless steel wood screws and be done in 2 minutes too. Much simpler and just as effective as the first approach. I doubt the screws will cause me a problem, and if they do, its not like I don't have a deck cleat to get me thru the day. BB


Regular Member
I would not recommend using self tapping wood or sheet metal screws in the mast as there will not be enough surface contact bethween the screw and the mast wall thickness to effectiveley hold the cleat. I chose to drill and tap the holes I drilled in the mast and then use SS machine screws. The cleat is not going to work loose and because the holes were threaded with the tap then you have more metal contact between the screw and mast. Thats my two cents. Good luck to all you guys using rivets and self-tapping screws.

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Wood screws will be fine. All the force is shear force, not force trying to pull perpendicular to the mast, so there will be no issue with the wood screws. Plus the mastwall is thick. You would need A LOT of force pulling perp to the mast to pull screws out. Since this is a Sunfish and not an offshore yacht, I will be fine. BB
i just used stainless steel screws from the hardware store :eek: with a little bit of marine caulk for good measure and have not had a problem in 2 seasons. well no problems with the mast cleat anyway... :confused: what's the big deal?
Mine are screwed in with stainless machine screws and lok-tite'd (no nuts). I agree with Beldar - almost all of the load is in shear - the pullout strength is not a factor. We'll see how they last. One season so far.