Fitting a Cleat/Fairlead tow system to a plastic boat?^

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Cornholio
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Fitting a Cleat/Fairlead tow system to a plastic boat?^

Post by Cornholio » Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:00 pm

I've got a plastic Capella RM166, and was wondering if anyone out there has any advice on fitting a cleat and fairlead to the boat?
Obvious apprehensions over putting a drill near it(!)- but can anyone advise on what would be appropriate on the inside. I'm thinking of using an aluminium strip- 3mm thick , 30mm wide and length wise cut and bent to any necessary shape the deck may need, drilled at appropriate centres as to spread any load.
Would this be enough?- I hope that any force that was capable of pulling that through the boat never comes my way though...
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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Tue Mar 20, 2007 7:46 am

I did something similar - seemed to work ok - Mike

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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:36 pm

Consider using wood or plastic/nylon to back up the deck- aluminium+salt+water is not a good combination.
Geoff

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Cornholio
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Post by Cornholio » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:42 pm

Cheers, never considered the corrosive aspect of using aluminium, will have a scout about for something else. I've ordered the bolts erring on what should be the long side, so a thicker "washer/spacer plate" of some more inert material should probably be ok. Obviously I don't want any sharp edges/bolt threads etc where they could snag/rip any kit inside, so some careful bolt cutting/packing out will probably be necessary- or improvise some drilled out solid rubber to screw on exposed bolt ends as a last resort...
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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:01 pm

Wood, plastic, stainless steel (many cleats and fairleads can be bought with a suitable stainless backing pad) are all good, if you can find some sheet rubber to make a nice gasket as well it will not only help with waterproofing but conform to the hull shape a little and add some flexibility (polythene hulls flex, well all hulls flex, polythene ones more so).

Jim

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Cornholio
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Post by Cornholio » Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:39 pm

Thought about using a spot of translucent bathroom sealer on the last few threads/underside of the countersunk head prior to nipping it up. the 5mm drill bit is a good tight fit on both components though, so in reality any water ingress should be negligible for both cleat/fairlead. Good idea on gaskets Jim- thinking some neatly trimmed innertube may do- salt water will no doubt perish that over time, maybe a synthetic alternative is out there!? (hmmm..bathroom sealant and polythene- any chemical scientists out there with any warnings of a meltdown?!.. probably won't risk that!)
I'm using nyloc bolts though for security and in case any temp changes cause the deck to flex and allow the bolts to slacken if not on a perfectly flat surface...probably getting carried away here...?!!!
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Post by NeilG » Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:02 pm

Speaking from experience on a sailing yacht, you want the biggest backing pad you can reasonably put in. Anything too small and you drag the fitting through the deck under a snap load. I ended up with a large hole in my deck (on the yacht) when a shroud wire came under massive load and ripped through - the packing pad was big but had gone rotten. Major repairs!
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Keith MacKechnie
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Post by Keith MacKechnie » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:29 pm

I've got an older Capella and used a section of translucent plastic chopping board, cut to shape and drilled appropriately, as a backing pad. It still flexes to conform to the curvature of the deck but is pretty robust and should be fairly inert in a salty environment. A layer of Sikaflex between pad & deck helped keep it watertight. The protruding ends of the bolts were cut to size and fitted with domed nuts.

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adrian j pullin
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Post by adrian j pullin » Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:51 am

Drill the holes for the bolts a fraction tight. That way, the bolts will self seal as you screw them in. Works on my old Capella.

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Post by Cornholio » Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:44 pm

Got the job done ok- used 40mm pan head screws for the Holt bullseye, and 60mm countersunk screws for the Harken cam cleat. Ended up with the "fitting>rubber gasket>DECK<rubber gasket<Nylon chopping board(shaped for decent area without stressing the deck on curves etc)<3mm aluminium sheet<washer(s)<nyloc bolt". It was a bit of a nuisance that all bits were in the day hatch so getting a look was impossible. Having to make decisions by feel alone is dicey, but aside from the bullseye being a couple of mil off centre(Just how did that happen I keep wondering? used the "measure twice cut once"rule and it still drifted somehow. Annoying for a perfectionist but thankfully means nothing for it's functioning..)all is fine- the bolts didn't need cut either- the bullseye fitting was perfect length insofar as the bolt is just emerging from the nut, but no sharp edges. The cleat one needed 2 extra washers on each bolt to achieve the same effect.
The gaskets/board/sheet were all cut to the same pattern to keep it neat too.
Anyone got any ideas for making up a rope/bag/karabiner system? The ones that retail for £50 seem well pricey- 15m of floating rope wouldn't be that dear surely(£15-£20?), plus a karabiner for £7 out of a hillwalking shop. Just need a stuff sack and some velcro after that..
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Post by miko » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:59 am

Cornholio wrote:Anyone got any ideas for making up a rope/bag/karabiner system? The ones that retail for £50 seem well pricey- 15m of floating rope wouldn't be that dear surely(£15-£20?), plus a karabiner for £7 out of a hillwalking shop. Just need a stuff sack and some velcro after that..
You can use a bumbag.
Discard the strap and cut slits to allow a diver's weight belt to fit through (these have a quick release fitting) . Attach the tow line driectly to the belt. Use some bungy as a shock absorber by coiling some around the tow line.
The bum bag is just used to store the bag it does not have to take any load.

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Post by AllanC » Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:04 pm

I've made quite a few tow lines now, all have had change out of £20. Just remember to put some elastic in as a shock absorber.

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Post by Cornholio » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:04 pm

I'm a bit confused now- I thought a cleat tow system was without any form of elastic shock absorber as the boat is taking the strain, not like with a belt system which can damage your back/waist?
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Chris Bolton
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Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:17 am

Always a good idea to have some shock absorbing capacity - the boat might be more robust than you are, but the less load the better. There's the other end to think of as well; you don't know what you'll be towing or how robust is the item the line's attached to.

Chris

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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:30 am

Boat tows either rely on the towing rope for their elasticity, or have some sort of stretchy bit incorporated into them - not right at the towed boat end as this can interfere with releasing. This is because the tow length is adjusted by the cleat. Waist tows are normally of fixed length and the shock absorbtion can be at the towing end. As waist tows are of fixed length there is generally less faff involved with their deployment and the tow can be passed to another paddler quite easily. As someone with a waist tow you can jump in any boat and be ready to tow, or if really quick witted you can pass your tow to a nearby sucker and tell him to go and tow that bloke over there. If you also infer that the size of his genitals will be assumed to be hopelessly inadequate and that assumption will be broadcasted to everyone with access to a mobile phone, land line or internet, off he will pop. Job done.
By the way a boat should be towed by the weight of the tow, this is why my tow rope normally follows a nice quaternary curve, it's not because I'm not putting enough effort in.
Geoff

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NeilG
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Post by NeilG » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:30 am

My tow rope (home made) is much like those commercially available. It is deck mounted (in front of me). I open the bag and the first thing that comes out is a stainless steal snap hook, a small float follows with a yard of heavy shock cord. The shock cord is looped on to about 8 metres of floating yellow multiplat 6mm rope. The other end has a small loop tied in it to give more options.

One the hook is attached to boat needing the tow, I pay out the line as required and jam it in an open top clam jammer next to the cockpit. Just behind it is a stainless steel guide to keep the pull on the rope in the jammer true. The line is fed in to the bag so that it will run out with no tangles.

The whole rig seems to work well but I have never tried it in anger or any sort of sea way. I have had to gauge it on it's similarity to commercial systems.
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Owen
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Post by Owen » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:41 am

Your towing point really needs to be on or very near to the centre line of your boat. If it's off to one side you'll find stearing a real pain. The most popular set up is to put a fairlead on the centre of the deck just behind the seat with a jamming cleat to one side of the cockpit. This way you can grab the loose end and pull it out of the cleat if you need to drop the tow.

Another way is to put an eye in the place of the fairlead (some boats now have a secure point already fixed here) and attach a quick release shackle to it. You put a loop in the end of you tow line which goes in the shackle; put a small loop of cord onto the release pin to drop the tow.

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:49 am


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Adrian Cooper
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Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:00 pm

Owen wrote:Your towing point really needs to be on or very near to the centre line of your boat. If it's off to one side you'll find stearing a real pain.
Too late Owen. He's drilled it! :-)

Advice on lines only please.

I agree with the elestic bit. A loop of bungey attached to two loops sewn in the tow rope a little longer, then, if the bungey comes away, the tow line is still intact.

I was pleased with the advice on the nylon chopping board. I bought a set of three for camping (only needed one) in Tescos for just a couple of quid. I will make sure I hang on to them for spares.

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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:09 pm

At 8 metres your towline is a bit short, ie. you are only going to be 6 metres or so in front of the towed boat, that might well not be enough to prevent the ba****d you are towing (and they will be perceived as such after only a minute or so) surfing onto your back deck or into your ear. Go for at least one wave length. Longer tows help with manoevering too. The downside is they take about a week and a half to pack away.
Is the loop in the end of your towline guaranteed to pass through your fairlead when released?
Geoff

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NeilG
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Post by NeilG » Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:09 pm

No - It would jam. The loop is a left over from a belt system I used on another kayak. I have thought about unlooping it so that it would run free, but as the fairlead is only a vew inches behind the jammer I have left it. Having pulled the line from the jammer it would be free of the fairlead too.

I have got a fitting on the centre line, but when I tried the line from that point, it kept fouling the stern anyway as it does from where it is now.

The funny thing is that the jammer was already there when I bought the kayak (second hand). The cleat was fitted back to front. I presumed that it must be so that the original owner could control the tow when he was the victim! On second thoughts......
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