Towline & Clamcleat^

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Towline & Clamcleat^

Post by MikeD » Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:29 pm

I am in the process of mounting a towline onto my Quest LV, and have read the discussions & articles here on the site (Thanks Mike Buckley et al...) and would like to hear your opinions on the placement of the Clamcleat: Should it be as close to the cockpit as possible:


or further back:


Also, is it a good idea to strengthen the deck of the kayak before mounting the Clamcleat & Fairlead ?



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Post by Cornholio » Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:21 pm

Hi Mike- I'm no expert but in the first picture the cleat and bullseye look too far forward. It might be too close to you/cag/BA/movement and be dislodged(the bullseye is also way off experience there (and a ribbing for 2mm out!!)). The second picture looks better but I'd probably put it further back on the boat still- just make sure you can reach it ok. I posted requesting advice about fitting to a plastic boat, not sure if strengthening a composite is a must but it'd be peace of mind anyway- just ensure whatever material you use to distribute the load doesn't deform or damage the boat internally on any curved areas.
I'll try and post a link to the picture I got on Ebay- it's the one I used as a template for my Capella.
Suppose the bulkhead positioning on the Quest will dictate positioning also.
PS- what type/make of cleat is that? ... &rd=1&rd=1[/img]
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Post by MikeD » Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:14 pm

Hi Cornholio,
thanks for the reply. This is exactly why I posted, I thought that having the cleat as close to the body as possible would be an advantage, but I can also see the logic in it being too close and possibly getting tangled with a cag.
I have not yet mounted the fairlead or the cleat, they are just sitting on top of a slippery, newly polished boat so getting them to behave to take pictures was not really my priority :-) . I thought about moving the fairlead even further towards the cockpit but this would interfere with the day-hatch.
As for strengthening below the deck, I have considered cutting a piece of 5mm plastic chopping board to bolt the fittings to that and then glassing over the whole area.
The cleat is this: ... ?theid2=17

As long as we are discussing this, what is the best line ? 6mm floating or a 3 - 4mm dynamic line ??


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Post by geoffm » Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:18 pm

I would suggest that the cam cleat you show will tend to re engage the rope continuously unless you hold the rope clear as it slides through, not ideal in an emergency disengagement. I use a Harken cleat
Very compact and strong and easily released under load. Last week I had to tow 3 sea kayaks for a distance and all worked well (rescue practice scenario, one paddler seasick, one damaged arm and third paddler supporting while I towed). Reinforced under deck of the Bach with plastic and just put the cleat in a comfortable, reachable position behind me.


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Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:47 pm

I agree with Geoff and would go for a Cam cleat not a Clam cleat. I have know Clamcleats pull through under shock load, but the real problem might be releasing under load. You want to be able to tug the line up and know it's clear to run.

For position, I would say as far forward as possible provided you can avoid tangling - recent experience (line not in cleat properly, jumped out) has made me wonder whether it should actually be in front of the cockpit, although I can see that might be tricky.


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Post by Geoff Seddon » Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:37 am

I'd put the jam/cam cleat about half way between your two shown positions and the fairlead further forward, at the front of the grey rectangle and angled to bisect the angle from the cleat to the stern of the boat. Yes your fair lead would be off centre but the turning moment would in my opinion and experience, be neglgible. All that means your cleat is reasonably accessible and the deck under both items fairly flat, leading to less distortion. I would not glass the backing plate in. Nylon is good. What a lovely way to relax-drilling holes in a new boat. Oh 3-4 mm is a bit skimpy and may give problems with rope handling

You could of course go down the waist tow route.

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Post by Jim » Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:13 pm

I haven't seen the term "clam cleat" before, thats what I would tend to call a jammer rather than a cam. Cam cleats are much more expensive because they have moving clams and springs and things. The issue of paying out through the jammer is worth considering, another thing worth considering is that 'in my experience' they aren't very strong. I am of course thinking of a kiting scenario where failure of 2 of these type of devices (which I was told were the good ones with the right material) left me in a potentially dangerous situation..... the shock load from towing a kayak can be quite high. I would strongly advise switching to a cam cleat.

Other than that look in Cornhoilio's thread for general tips. Exact positioning becomes a personal issue, if you carry splits or anything else on the rear deck the line will always deploy to one side or the other so some people find offsetting it deliberately works well (keep the fairlead near your pivot point, which is generally about the seat). If you can stick your cleat on the deck with double sided tape and sit in the boat and mimic paddling you might get an idea of where will be comfortable and where it snags your elbow frequently. As for the fairlead getting too close - who cares? The line should be rigged before you launch and if you have had to release it and need to reset the victim should be able to give you some help, if only their boat to lean on whilst you fanny around behind your back!

My only other thing would be to fit some elastics next to the day hatch to retain the stuff bag full of towline, there are other ways to achieve this if you don't want to be drilling for topcleats, everyone has their own preference. I have just made a new stuff bag for my long line rather than just having it chain knotted under the elastics - bag has velcro bits so I can attach it to the elastics, rig the line and then if I deploy it the bag shouldn't fall overboard.

Waist tow - I thought we were into using them as well as deck tows? :-)


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Post by MikeB » Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:36 pm

Mike - you'll be restrained to a great extent by the actual space available, notably as regards where the recessed mouldings are. As to strengthening, I can only tell you that my fittings (on a Quest) are just reinforced with large washers.

That was done for speed of getting the fitting onto the boat, with the intention of adding something to reinforce later. If you've read my towline articel in the Almanac, and also the linked article about a fun wee day out in the Forth, you'll have seen that the fitting was subjected to one hell of a shock load, and was (and is) fine!

I've still not got round to adding reinforcement. But I guess it'd be good practise to have something.

I'm not sure about the use of the jamming cleat either - I'd suggest a good cam-cleat. For me, positioning was dictated by the need to have enough space to mount the line bag.


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Post by ChrisS » Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:57 pm

You could attach a "flying fairlead" with a piece of line to that security bar behind the cockpit.

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Post by JulesT » Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:38 am

I fashioned a piece of aluminium to fit under the deck skin as strengthening support. The clamcleat and fairlead then bolt down through the deck and the aluminium plate. My deck is flat in that area but even if the deck is curved aluminium can be easily shaped to suit.

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