X-treme angle fairleads/Acme cust.service?

Thread starter #1
The new Harken x-treme angle fairleads raise the cams up so that it appears the wire guide which comes with the new cam cleat base then ends up too low to feed line through properly.
Anyone had experience with this? Use the wire guides or not?

E-mailed Acme last week about getting a replacement traveler block guard plate for their tiller, but, no response yet. Anyone ever had to order one or know if they're even available?

This forum's pretty quiet. Everyone must be sailing..............
Thread starter #2
The stock wire guides..........

.......work just fine with the x-treme angle fairleads and the extra height they impart to the cams.
Bent them forward to approx. 50 degrees, apparently this is recommended anyways(by whom I don't know), and some other guys around here had already done the same.
Just so you know.............
I have been following the Harken line for years, but I don't remember seeing this "X-treme angle" term in their literature or website. It may be a marketing term. It's not part of their official product description. I presume this "X-treme angle" fairlead mentioned here is the standard Harken 328 fairlead (for the H356 aluminum camcleat) or the Harken 329 fairlead (for the H423 Micro Carbo camcleat).

I don't know where to start. In tandem, both the first message by "hoipolloi" (whoever he/she is) and the follow-up are full of misleading inaccuracies.

1. The wire faireleads that come with the Laser deck cleat base are too HIGH for the Harken cleats, not too LOW!

2. Bending the wire guides on the deck cleat base down naturally LOWERS the wire guide, and hence can not be a solution to the extra height added by using a Harken "x-treme angle" fairlead. Just the opposite! Bending cures the problem of too low Harken (and Ronstan) cleats.

3. Not using the wire guides is not an OPTION! They are required by the rules. Nor can you replace them with other wire guides.

From the "drLaser" website, the article titled "Deck Plates & Upgrade Kits
for Laser 2000" notes:

............. QUOTE ...............

As the deck cleat base is an item that is supplied by the builder, removing or altering these "rear fairleads" comes under the umbrella of the Fundamenatal Rule of the Laser Class Rules, and to alter or remove the Builder Supplied rear fairleads in any way would be a breach of that Rule. Thus, currently, we are effectively banned from using other rear fairleads specially made for the various brand camcleats in the market. (Note the contradictory Australian evidence above.)

The deck cleat base is raised and angled so that you do not need a raised base or wedge kits for the HOLT Alanite cam cleats for which this cleat base was designed. However, the HOLT Alanite camcleats have bases (the part right under the jaws) which are about 3mm higher than the bases used by Harken or Ronstan. Thus, experience in Europe and Australia has shown that the metal fairleads that are (Builder-)supplied with the deck cleat base are too high to keep the control line sufficiently down and low in the jaws if Ronstan or Harken camcleats are used. When the control line is led too high into the cleat, it is reported that the jaws do not always positively cleat the line, and occasionally the line gets pulled free of the jaws after you cleat it.

As a cure, some sailors (including all those served by Steve Cockerill's "Rooster Sailing" in the UK) have started using a 3mm flat spacer/riser or two opposing (cross mounted) 3mm wedges (as shown in photo to right) between the deck cleat base and the cleat. Another trend in Australia has been to bend out (and thus lower) the metal aft fairleads so that the line is led lower into the Ronstan camcleats.

It is reported that without a spacer, your pull on the control line must be parallel to the deck for Harken or Ronstan camcleats (without spacers) to work positively. After adding the spacer, you don't even need to even think about how you pull on the control line: it always cleats when pulled.

.............. END QUOTE ..........

Use the resources you have!

Thread starter #4
Wire guides........

Shevy, you can find an image of the 'X-treme' angle fairleads at www.apsltd.com . Click the 'Hot New Items' tab and scroll down........
It's true, bending the guides forward does effectively lower the point at which the incoming line is fed into the cam, but, it does also move it forward away from the cleat somewhat. The fact that the wire guides are too high for Harken and Ronstan cam cleats obviously explains why people are bending them forward.
Having never used the system how could I have known? Hence my questions.
Thank you for your succinct comments, Shev.
It appears also that the too new for the Harken website X-treme angle fairleads solve this issue of the guides being too high because they raise the cams UP approx. 4mm.
Had I known about these issues I wouldn't have bothered bending the guides. In any case, they work great bent the way they are but would probably work just as good with the 'X-treme' fairleads if left at 90 degrees.
And not only are the wire guides required by the rules, after dry-fitting the unit to the deck and running a line through it it was pretty obvious that they're also required by the laws of physics! heh heh.....
Clever marketing by those folks at Holt too...........
Originally posted by Shevy Gunter
I have been following the Harken line for years, but I don't remember seeing this "X-treme angle" term in their literature or website. It may be a marketing term. It's not part of their official product description. I presume this "X-treme angle" fairlead mentioned here is the standard Harken 328 fairlead (for the H356 aluminum camcleat) or the Harken 329 fairlead (for the H423 Micro Carbo camcleat).

The X-treme Angle Fairlead is part of Harken's official product description. It is not the same as the 328 or 329....

Link to Harken web page with fairleads
Thanks, guys!

The 372 Micro Cam X-treme Angle Fairlead is indeed a brand new product.

Yesterday, when I visited the on-line catalog, and selected "Complementary Hardware" > "Ball bearing cam-matic cleats", fairleads were there among the "cleat kits". Today, fairleads are a in a special section. Today, even the item specifications reported are different!

Last year, I had mentioned to Peter Harken and Dan Rondeau of HARKEN the alignment problems when Harken camcleats were used with the Holt Deck Cleat Base. Peter had noted it would be addressed. This may (or may not) be a response to that public concern.

I just wrote to Peter and Dan, and if I find out any details about the "intent" behind the new design, I will let you know.

Note that the new H372 fairlead is a completely different design. First, it is twice as heavy as the older H329 fairlead (28 g versus 14 g).

Secondly, the new H372 fairlead sits much higher on the camcleats than on the old H329 (22 mm versus 14 mm). This will make the routing of your daggerboard shockcord and the adjustment of your rubber daggerboard break more crucial.

Third and most important difference is in the geometry of the fairlead bridge itself: it looks like the new H372 will not allow the control line to jump up and over the cam's jaws; the line is restricted to stay down low above and in front of the claws. This will make re-cleating easier-- always a one pull job rather than the two pulls in two different directions occasionally necessary with the H329.

Finally, it also looks like the cams DO sit higher with the 372. This should solve the problems noted in the past year. Obviously I have not bought it yet to replace my own H329 fairleads, but I would think that the metal wire guides should NOT be bent forward to lower them if you will use these new fairleads. (Bending them forwards was already an inferior solution to adding spacers under the Harken cams, since the control lines would then rub against the wire guides, especially if you were using the longer Holt turning blocks at the Deck Block Fitting.)

Now, off to update the website, I guess.

Thanks again for the "heads up".


PS. Can we have some first and last names so that we know whom we are corresponding with?
It's not merely a matter of "lines" but rather "line angles", Mac.

I contacted Peter Harken and Dan Rondeau at HARKEN', and they were as prompt as ever with their customer service for Laserites. Peter passed the ball to Dan for the details. Here's the scoop:

Harken "Technical Service & New Products Manager" Dan Rondeau notes that the "drLaser" comments last year about the line alignment problems when Harken camcleats are used on the Holt-manufactured Deck Cleat Base were "very instrumental to the design ". The "first priority" in the new design was to have the Harken cleats work with the height of the bail on the Laser cleatbase.

That is, you should probably not play with your wire guides on the Deck Cleat Base if you will switch to H327 fairleads. The fairlead base height is optimized.

Apparently, the design project was assigned directly to Chuck Lob, the Harken Senior Engineer for standard products. (Chuck is also the designer of the Carbo Cheek Ratchamatic, etc.) To me. that signals the value Harken assigns to satisfying Laser sailors' demands.

In his mail, Dan Rondeau confirmed the importance of my third point above about the "geometry of the fairlead bridge". In his words:

<<< There are two advantages of the X-treme Angle fairlead compared to other fairleads. [First,] Any of the fairleads let you uncleat from an extreme angle. The X-treme version lets you RECLEAT at this extreme angle. ...<snip>... On the Laser, that means that you can be hiked and FORWARD [of the camcleats] and can operate your outhaul and downhaul.

[Secondly,] ...<snip>... The stainless steel bail is bulletproof and slippery. Not only do you save wear on the plastic parts but you also save wear on the line. >>>

The terms in square brackets and emphasis in capital letters above were added by me.

The second point Dan makes addresses the concerns reported by some sailors that the fiber reinforced plastics used on the bails of some fairleads could wear your control lines in a single heavy air regatta.

Dan also weighed production versions of the new H372 X-treme Angle and the older H329 fairleads. They weigh not 28 and 14g., respectively (as published in the Harken Catalogue), but 27.2 g. and 16.3 g. precisely. So, there is a 66% increase in weight, but Dan says that's the opportunity cost of a bail "made beefy to hold up to the sideloads that it will take when an adrenaline charged Laser sailor is tightening his outhaul as the wind builds."

More details, the snipped parts and related photos showing the new H372 in action next to a Holt Alanite cleat will be offered in the drLaser website.

You can say you read it first on "The Laser Forum"!

Editor, drLaser
Does this fairlead also server as a clam/cam cleat? I'm still a bit confused. And just for the sake of it, what is the difference from a cam cleat to a clam cleat??
The fairlead is not a cleat, merely a fitting that fits around the cleat to make sure the rope passes through the cleat at the right angle and keep the line in place.

A clam cleat is like the outhaul cleat on the laser boom. (Cast aluminium alloy fitting with jaws on each side.)

A cam cleat is like the new deck cleats, with two jaws (cams) which pivot on sprung centres to grip the rope.
Just for your information, there is an add for the new 372 Micro Cam X-treme Angle Fairlead in the April 2003 eddition of SAIL Magazine.

But I'm still wondering, if you have the "old" rigging, would one of these replace your downhaul clam cleat??
No it wouldn't. The old cleat for the cuningham is a CLAM cleat so you cannot attach a fairlead. The new cleats (CAMs) are attached to the same holes in the deck using an injection moulded plastic plate with bolt holes to attch the cleats to. The fairleads fit over the new CAM cleats to keep the lines in place.
I had written;
> Secondly, the new H372 fairlead sits much higher
> on the camcleats than on the old H329 (22 mm versus 14 mm).
> This will make the routing of your daggerboard shockcord
> and the adjustment of your rubber daggerboard break
> more crucial.

Well, the word is in today from HARKEN. I will organize all of this as a new article, but here's the scoop for now...

Chuck Lob, the Harken Senior Engineer for standard products, was in charge, but the inventor of the design is actually John Christianson.

Christianson noted that "There never was an attempt made to design the X-treme Angle fairlead to avoid the Laser daggerboard shockcord, or to be less of an obstruction as to height."

It was impossible to meke the assembly lower, and hence, you Laserites are going to have to work around the problem.

Some suggestions were already provided last year in the drLaser web site (for the standard fairlead that already caused problems). Your design goal should be to route the shockcord so that when the daggerboard is fully down, the shockcord does NOT rest on top of the camcleat fairleads.

Shevy Gunter
Editor, drLaser