Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 36 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

My complaint around clam cleats isn't that they don't last long, it is that most designs are self cleating. That is good for fine adjustment lines like an outhaul, but super annoying for a line that needs to run free.

The non-self cleating ones might be fine, I just don't have a lot of experience with them.

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post #22 of 36 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

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"Clam" cleats.
Oops, the numbers I gave apply to Harken 150
CAM cleats (without the "L")
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post #23 of 36 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

On a smaller boat, below about 30', I think most serious sail trimmers would prefer clam cleats - not the cheap plastic ones that wear out quickly, but the aluminum ones. A serious sail trimmer is constantly re-trimming the jib in the puffs and lulls. What is important to him is that it be easy to cleat and uncleat the line.

If you have cam cleats, you have to lay the line on top of the cleat and pull it back far enough to open the jaws so that they can grip the line. When the line is under a heavy load, such as on a very gusty day, it becomes difficult to pull it that extra little amount, to get it to open the jaws of the cleat. With a clam cleat, all you have to do is lay the line in the Vee of the cleat, and it will grip the line. Likewise, when you want to release the sheet from a cam cleat, you have to first pull in on the line a bit, in order to open the jaws of the cleat. Then they will release their grip on the line, and you can lift it out of the cleat and then you can adjust the sheet. With a clam cleat, all you need to do to release it is to lift it out of the Vee. These are small differences, but when you do them over and over during a race, a hundred or more times, it matters a great deal that you can do them easily. The advantage of clam cleats is also their disadvantage. Because they are so easy to cleat and uncleat, they can occasionally become uncleated accidentally, just by bumping the line, but you quickly learn how to avoid such things, and, since the line is constantly being attended while racing, it just isn't a problem. On my 25' boat, I used mine for both racing and cruising, and almost never had them release unintentionally, after I learned how to avoid it happening.

My 35' boat has cam cleats and jam cleats. I usually use the jam cleats when singlehanding, because I don't adjust the sail trim nearly as often, but when I do, it is easy to just wrap the line around the jam cleat and, with a slight tug, the line is held securely. Likewise, another small tug will release the line. I wouldn't like jam cleats very much for serious racing, because wrapping and unwrapping the line around the cleat a hundred or so times during a race would require too much motion, and would be inefficient.

I'm trying hard to think of a use for which cam cleats would be more efficient, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. I'm not a fan of cam cleats.

Last edited by Sailormon6; 03-12-2014 at 05:09 PM.
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post #24 of 36 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

Use a cam cleat, it's a no brainer, easy to release and they hold fine if sized correctly..

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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

If anyone in Canada has an old metal jam cleat or two, or a 1970's large cam cleat, let me buy it.
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post #26 of 36 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

I had horns on my old boat (actually I put on a pair of Winchers which were OK in moderate conditions), on my current boat I have self-tailing winches so they look after it for me although not ideal for letting sheets out. On every smaller boat I have raced on, we have cam cleats properly placed. Never had any problem getting the sheets in or out of them, if you are having trouble then it is usually the lead not quite right, even a few degrees can make a difference.

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post #27 of 36 Old 03-13-2014
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

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Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
On a smaller boat, below about 30', I think most serious sail trimmers would prefer clam cleats - not the cheap plastic ones that wear out quickly, but the aluminum ones. A serious sail trimmer is constantly re-trimming the jib in the puffs and lulls. What is important to him is that it be easy to cleat and uncleat the line.

If you have cam cleats, you have to lay the line on top of the cleat and pull it back far enough to open the jaws so that they can grip the line. When the line is under a heavy load, such as on a very gusty day, it becomes difficult to pull it that extra little amount, to get it to open the jaws of the cleat. With a clam cleat, all you have to do is lay the line in the Vee of the cleat, and it will grip the line. Likewise, when you want to release the sheet from a cam cleat, you have to first pull in on the line a bit, in order to open the jaws of the cleat. Then they will release their grip on the line, and you can lift it out of the cleat and then you can adjust the sheet. With a clam cleat, all you need to do to release it is to lift it out of the Vee. These are small differences, but when you do them over and over during a race, a hundred or more times, it matters a great deal that you can do them easily. The advantage of clam cleats is also their disadvantage. Because they are so easy to cleat and uncleat, they can occasionally become uncleated accidentally, just by bumping the line, but you quickly learn how to avoid such things, and, since the line is constantly being attended while racing, it just isn't a problem. On my 25' boat, I used mine for both racing and cruising, and almost never had them release unintentionally, after I learned how to avoid it happening.

My 35' boat has cam cleats and jam cleats. I usually use the jam cleats when singlehanding, because I don't adjust the sail trim nearly as often, but when I do, it is easy to just wrap the line around the jam cleat and, with a slight tug, the line is held securely. Likewise, another small tug will release the line. I wouldn't like jam cleats very much for serious racing, because wrapping and unwrapping the line around the cleat a hundred or so times during a race would require too much motion, and would be inefficient.

I'm trying hard to think of a use for which cam cleats would be more efficient, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. I'm not a fan of cam cleats.
I am with you on the aluminum over plastic cleats. The disadvantages you list of cam cleat applies to "old" style cleats like the ones commonly produced in the 70-ies and 80-ies, but not to the likes of the Harken 150-ies. That doesn't mean you have to like them, but the people I know that race prefer cams over clams. Sport boats I know, like the Ultimate-20 and Blusail 24 have cam-cleats standard for sheets (and a bunch of other functions). The new J-70 comes standard with cam-cleats for the sheets. Each person has their preferences, and diversity is a good thing, but the mainstream cleat for serious trimmers on small boats is the cam cleat from what I have seen.
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post #28 of 36 Old 03-13-2014
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

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You don't have those on your C22? I thought they were standard equipment, but I didn't really think about it that hard.

That's what I have. I run the sheet through the middle of the legs, then you only have to to go once around to get it to hold (unless it's really fierce weather, then you can do a cleat hitch).

They're ok. They're not as fast or as quickly adjustable as a cam cleat, but they're way, way less annoying than a clam cleat.
I have clam cleats on mine, but it's a 40-year-old boat so who knows what came standard and what was added later.

It also has cam cleats, but from where they're mounted I don't think they're for the jib sheets. Maybe they're for the spinnaker? They're far enough back they might even be for the tiller tamer. I bought the boat in the fall and haven't actually sailed it yet, so I don't really know what goes where... The month of May will have a steep learning curve for me.
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

WaterGeus - During the summer, I race about 3 days a week on competitive boats from 25' to over 40', and you're right that almost all of them use cam cleats. I don't recommend clam cleats for big boats, but for smaller boats than about 28-30', they work very well. I don't expect many people to change over to clam cleats, but if anyone isn't satisfied with the way their cam cleats have worked for them, i want them to know that, on a smaller boat, they might want to give clams a try. For the reasons I mentioned, I liked them better than cam cleats.

Most of the boats I race on are equipped with Harken 150s, and they are much better than the cams of old, but, IMO, they still have the drawbacks of the old ones that I described previously - just not as bad. For big boats, I think they're the best device available for the purpose, but that doesn't mean I like them.
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post #30 of 36 Old 03-14-2014
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Re: Cam or Clam Cleats, re: Jib sheets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
On a smaller boat, below about 30', I think most serious sail trimmers would prefer clam cleats - not the cheap plastic ones that wear out quickly, but the aluminum ones. A serious sail trimmer is constantly re-trimming the jib in the puffs and lulls. What is important to him is that it be easy to cleat and uncleat the line.

If you have cam cleats, you have to lay the line on top of the cleat and pull it back far enough to open the jaws so that they can grip the line. When the line is under a heavy load, such as on a very gusty day, it becomes difficult to pull it that extra little amount, to get it to open the jaws of the cleat. With a clam cleat, all you have to do is lay the line in the Vee of the cleat, and it will grip the line. Likewise, when you want to release the sheet from a cam cleat, you have to first pull in on the line a bit, in order to open the jaws of the cleat. Then they will release their grip on the line, and you can lift it out of the cleat and then you can adjust the sheet. With a clam cleat, all you need to do to release it is to lift it out of the Vee. These are small differences, but when you do them over and over during a race, a hundred or more times, it matters a great deal that you can do them easily. The advantage of clam cleats is also their disadvantage. Because they are so easy to cleat and uncleat, they can occasionally become uncleated accidentally, just by bumping the line, but you quickly learn how to avoid such things, and, since the line is constantly being attended while racing, it just isn't a problem. On my 25' boat, I used mine for both racing and cruising, and almost never had them release unintentionally, after I learned how to avoid it happening.

My 35' boat has cam cleats and jam cleats. I usually use the jam cleats when singlehanding, because I don't adjust the sail trim nearly as often, but when I do, it is easy to just wrap the line around the jam cleat and, with a slight tug, the line is held securely. Likewise, another small tug will release the line. I wouldn't like jam cleats very much for serious racing, because wrapping and unwrapping the line around the cleat a hundred or so times during a race would require too much motion, and would be inefficient.

I'm trying hard to think of a use for which cam cleats would be more efficient, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. I'm not a fan of cam cleats.
Maybe you have old cam cleats or they're at a weird lead angle... you should be able to lift the line right out of them. On my 28ft boat, with the main loaded up more than it should be, I can still pop the main sheet out of the cam cleat easily. Same with re-cleating, a downward pull of the line/sheet will re-engage the cleat.

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