Quick Cleat Idea

I was in a hurry to do a sheet test on one of my RG-65’s today, and wanted to be able to make adjustments to the “ring” (bead) that controls the change in direction of my mainsheet from parallel to deck - to vertical to main boom.

I had already determined and marked the Spectra line on each side and just needed a way to easily change tension and allow the “ring” to move higher or lower without fooling with knots tied in a Spectra line. With “fat fingers” I came up with this idea for a quick, inexpensive cleat for line adjustment, and offer it here. Not as “pretty” as the ones you can buy, but I didn’t want to wait until an order arrived. You can try it for your scratch-builds.

Take a sheet metal with fairly aggressive threads. Use a slotted head which you can enlarge the slot width using a hacksaw or a “Dremel” type moto-tool with a cut-off circular blade. A piece of brass brazing rod is cut to needed length with ends rounded off using the Dremel.

Screw the screw into a block of wood - makes for easier holding. Use Dremel to widen the slot to accept the width of the brass rod piece. Fit small rod piece into the screw head to assure a good fit. Remove cross piece of rod and place a dab of 5 minute epoxy onto the screw slot. Replace the brass rod piece making sure it sets into the slot. Add a dab more epoxy on top of the cross piece and set aside to cure.

Once epoxy has cured (I left mine for a few hours) carefully drill a small pilot hole of appropriate diameter on surface for mounting. Must be a size large enough to start the screw - but small enough to allow screw to cut it’s own threads. Screw into place until head is flush with surface. If you know you won’t be removing, put a dab of 5 minute epoxy “under” the screw head and continue to screw down until underside of head is flush. Once that epoxy cures, if on a deck the hole should be water tight. Simply adjust the line to desired length and wrap in a figure “8” pattern a few times around the brass rod and then flip the last three loops to tighten down on themselves. This will hold the line, yet permit easy loosening for adjustments. Doesn’t take up as much room as a plastic “bowsie” and only a bit longer time to adjust. I would still use a plastic 3-hole “bowsie” in lines needing quick adjustment like sheets, vang or shrouds and halyards. Note that a small shirt button will also work as an adjustable “bowsie”.

This type of traditional cleat is good for line which don’t need to be adjusted quickly between regatta heats.
Photo is of screw and piece of rod - second photo has brass rod glued in place waiting for epoxy cure. Final photo is cleat in place on side deck of one of the RG-65 boats.

Hey Dick
good one !
and I see a nice crossover application for this with the tug crowd - it can be
a pain to find scale cleats for powered vessels - like using spring lines and
such when tieing to a barge . one could use the right scale size screws and
rod for the cleat horns to suit the boat … when painted they would look
real nice .


I used brass screws and soldered them, silver soldered the ones on the schooner. I’m a little leary of epoxy on metal. I made the chain plates for the schooner in a similar fashion. I widened the slot to take a piece of flat stock, silvered soldered them together and drilled a hole in the flat stock. Filed it to shape and it’s done.

Whilst probably not the quickest thing to knock together, I have a series of miniature Clutches for “Wildcard”.

These are by far in the way the fastest way to adjust sheets on the run.

Can you post a photo or two?

I have also tried a brass tube, with a “V” notch cut on top at one end. It becomes a “jam cleat” - but is kind of hard on the line if you keep cleating to same basic area of line.

Any additional ideas with photos appreciated.