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  #11  
Old 04-29-2009
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I've seen a horn break on an aluminum cleat. The boat in question had its cleats installed on the topsides rather than deck. That is, they were mounted on a vertical surface. This caused the horns to carry almost the entire dock line load.

We figure the broken horn flew about 100 yards before hitting the water. We were extremely lucky that it didn't hit anyone.

I don't know if a stainless cleat would have done any better under the circumstances.
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Old 04-29-2009
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Aluminum vs. alloy

Cleat size is surely a central issue. That's not a concern on Aeolus because my cleats are 8" and my dock lines appropriately sized. I've also seen that people beef up their dock lines on puny cleats which has the double whammy of stretching less and putting more force on the cleat.

That question of alloy vs. pure aluminum has me interested because I've long thought my cleats were some kind of alloy. The surface is not a normal oxidized aluminum surface like the mast, and yet they are not steel. I've never seen a source online that labels them as anything other than aluminum but I wouldn't be surprised if one of the gurus here said they were 2% zinc or molybendipendigorganium or something.

I hear the views that the cleats, if properly sized/installed with proper lines, are not the weak point in the system. Makes sense. My cleats are the type that have two holes down the center of the legs and stainless bolts go through. I've removed, rebedded, inspected and corrosion protected them all last year. The way they are rigged with the dock line loop fed through the middle and around the horns per usual, all the force is really right at the base of the cleat and not at the horns.

I appreciate the shared experiences and perspectives. I'm off to keep installing a new forward hatch to replace the old slider. Oh the fun never stops.
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