Cheap Cleats
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By Martin Welby - Christchuch, New Zealand

I am always interested in ways of saving money, and one of the biggest money burners on a sailing boat are the insignificant little fittings. I took my Navigator to a classic and wooden boat show the other day, and although the weather wasn't great for sailing I saw some interesting boats, and came away with some good ideas.

One good idea was a cheap cleat that I saw on an old, immaculately restored Frostbite. The owner had obviously spent a long time sailing. He took his boat out and raced in conditions that were too hairy for me. He told me these cleats had never let him down, and they were the only type he had on his boat. He used aluminum tube, as I have for mine, but copper or brass would look good, and you vary the diameter of tubing for size of rope.

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The tubing is simply cut at the angles shown...

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... and then a v carefully cut with a small hacksaw.

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The angle of the v may require some experimentation, but the ones that I have shown seem to work fine. The only other critical thing is to spend some time with emery paper, getting the cut part of the v nice and smooth, with no sharp edges.

For the fixing holes I started to drill the with an oversize bit, to give some countersink for the screws, and then drill all the way through with appropriate size bit for the clearance hole.

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It took about 15 minutes to make these 2, and cost me nothing (just stuff lying around the shed). The other thing I like about them, is they don't catch things they're not supposed to.

We don't get many of these gatherings down here in the South Island of NZ, and that is the first that I have been to, but I shall be going again!