Swivel cam cleat install

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thread starter #1
Added a swivel cam cleat to our 1965 Sunfish. These older Sunfish have about 2 inches of clearance under the cockpit lip vs 2 3/4 on newer boats, so measure carefully. Taking pics and posting on facebook took more time than the install :)

Kent
 

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#2
A swivel cam cleat! I have one on my '69 Sunfish that came with the boat. I never hear talk about this type of cleat, only the 'spring loaded' type. I was wondering if there was an advantage to either. I just never hear of talk about the swivel. I like it on mine, but it's all I've ever used, I have wondered if the other type is more user friendly.
 

signal charlie

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Thread starter #3
Never used the newer setup so I don't know. I liked the tip that you can run the halyard through the block the other way and skip the cleat, if you are out in condition where accidental cleating could be trouble.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#4
A swivel cam cleat! I have one on my '69 Sunfish that came with the boat. I never hear talk about this type of cleat, only the 'spring loaded' type. I was wondering if there was an advantage to either. I just never hear of talk about the swivel. I like it on mine, but it's all I've ever used, I have wondered if the other type is more user friendly.
Racers strongly prefer a block. Mostly, I think, because a cleat may lead to unintentional cleating of the sheet. If this happens during a gust, you are over :eek:
 
#5
I don't race (yet?), but another big advantage of the blocks is they can offer additional holding power - the sail pulls on the mainsheet, but the grooves in the sheave on the block "grip" the line, and reduce the amount of line pull that your hands see. I use the Harken 2135, which can offer up to a 10:1 holding power... so if the sail is pulling with 100 lbs of force, you'd only see 10 lbs at your hands (if the 10:1 is realized).

 

baseman

On the Water
#6
I use the same block Tag uses. It takes a lot of pressure off my hands, plus, it allows quick release of the mainsheet if I need it. I also have a horn cleat installed on the front wall of the cockpit that I only use in very light air or going downwind so I have a free hand to grab my drink (of water or whatever).
 
#7
I capsized many times due to the swivel clam cleat. Another big problem with the cam is that the sheet can still be stuck in it when you upright the boat which causes it to capsize again while you're trying to get in. After the fourth or fifth time this happened to me I used a metal grinder to saw off the cam leaving me with only the "bullseye". I reinstalled the cam cleat on the inside lip of cockpit like I saw someone here had done.

I will invest in the Harken 2135 soon.
 

Kevin Mc

Active Member
#8
I installed a swivel cam cleat on my first Sunfish (early 80's) as soon as I got it. The boat I have now came with a ratchet block, but I replaced it with a swivel cam cleat. When sailing single handed I couldn't find a reasonable way to haul in the mainsheet under load using the block - what am I supposed to do, hold the line in my teeth while I get a new grip on it? I'm sure there's a great way to do it, but it escaped me. When I had just the block I tried installing a cam cleat on the cockpit vertical lip, just behind the block, but it was too difficult to use if there was any decent wind; I had to lean well inboard to set the line in the cleat which doesn't facilitate remaining upright. I usually have another person aboard - one steers, the other handles the sail, and even in heavy winds the cleat gets used frequently to take a load off the hands of the sail handler. In these instances the block would be better, and I've toyed with the idea of attaching the block to the bullseye on the swivel - a "best of both worlds" result. I admit I've had one capsize due to the cam cleat, but it was while my passenger was having trouble dropping the sail prior to landing (boat was going backwards, heavy gust hit, over we went - everyone should try "sailing" backwards, it's a real hoot).
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thread starter #9
Worked great when we took it out yesterday, 8-10 knot winds, light chop in the bay. Sheeting in I liked it, no issue in light winds with accidental cleating. Actually in these winds I might not have even needed a sheet :)
 

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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#12
I installed a swivel cam cleat on my first Sunfish (early 80's) as soon as I got it. The boat I have now came with a ratchet block, but I replaced it with a swivel cam cleat. When sailing single handed I couldn't find a reasonable way to haul in the mainsheet under load using the block - what am I supposed to do, hold the line in my teeth while I get a new grip on it?
You have to (learn to) use your 'tiller hand' to (temporarily) hold the sheet in those situations.
 
#13
The previous owner of my Sunfish put clam cleats on either side of the boat, so I use them when I need an extra hand too. They are to the front of the cockpit and to each side. (However they aren't nice to sit on.)
 
#14
Here is my cruise control the Harken 2627 modified by turning the cam cleat mount over and removing the fair-lead. This gives me the ultimate mainsheet setup for all wind conditions. Going from the hook cleat to this was awesome but when I put on a universal joint aluminum tiller extension that reached to the front of the cockpit that made a huge improvement in regards to body position in cockpit. I could hold the mainsheet un-cleated with my tiller hand. I have posted a thread in the past on inexpensive tiller extension for those who want to make one.
 

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