Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Moderator: GreenLake

Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby docbick » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:38 pm

Hello Everyone,

My first post on here. Towards the end of last year I purchased a 50-year-old Daysailer. I played around a bit on her in the Fall without changing anything (sailing out of Kingston, Ontario), but now I'm trying to sort out a couple of issues with the gear so she sails better.

Does anyone recognise this type of jib sheet cam cleat arrangement, please? Do you think it would've been the original?

I found that they don't have much grip any more. They wouldn't hold the jib sheets under any sort of tension, so I couldn't point the boat to windward very well at all unless I held the sheets myself.

The cam cleats, including the teeth, seem to have been covered with some sort of fabric that has worn away.

I have a couple of questions please:

1) I think it might be a long shot, but does anyone know where I could buy just cam cleats that would fit? I have tried looking on a few online stores also gone into my local chandler, but no luck. I guess there's a fair chance this part might be obsolete. However, if I could just replace this part that would be ideal. If anyone could at least tell me its proper name/brand (it’s half a cam cleat really!), then perhaps I’d have better luck searching.

2) Failing that, I was wondering if I could refurbish the existing parts - for example by sanding down the fabric, making the teeth sharp again and then perhaps coating the cam cleat? Has anyone tried anything like this, may I ask? I was wondering if I could paint the part with something like nonslip paint, because obviously I wouldn't want the cleat to be so sharp that it cuts into the sheets.

Any ideas gratefully received.

Great to see there is such an active owners’ association.

Andy
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby GreenLake » Sat Mar 21, 2020 5:09 pm

Welcome to the forum.

About those old cleats.

The material is called "Tufnol" and is fabric-reinforced phenolic resin, but as far as I know, didn't have a fabric layer on the outside.

I believe it is possible to gently restore these, as long as you don't remove so much material that the geometry no longer works. My mainsheet cleat is still original, and the boat is 57 years old.
1832
However, someone had replaced the jib cleats, using a custom support made from aluminum and modern cam cleats. When the aluminum corroded away, I replaced it with stainless steel and new cleats. Doing something like this could be an alternative. (Although, I had to get the SS support piece machined for me - if that's not possible, you could get the same effect with a block of suitable hardwood, for example.)

1034

As for coating, I don't think it needs any.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby docbick » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:16 pm

Ah, thank you so much, GreenLake!

I hadn't heard of Tufnol. I had assumed from visually inspecting the cleat that the material was coating the underlying form, but if it is impregnating it, then it sounds like it would be well worth filing it down gently and testing the result - at least before switching to option b). That's really helpful.

In the event that anyone is interested now or in the future, I have posted another pic of the fixtures in profile (limit of 3 pics per post did not allow this before).
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby tomodda » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:09 pm

Hi Docbik! Welcome to the forums. I have the same cam cleats, as far as I know they are original from the '60's. MIne were kindly donated to me by another local DaySailOr and needed some refurbishing. What I did: Took them apart (as you have), and cleaned everything with a toothbrush and a bath in dish soap and water. Then I gently filed the teeth (with a standard bar file) to give it some grip. A bit of WD-40 on the spring and I put it all back together. Then I wiped down the tufnol material with a bit of wood oil (Penofin, my favorite) to restore some color,back to brown. That's it, they now look great and are ready for their second life. Tufnol, as GreenLake explained, is a mix of cotton? fiber and phenolic resin, it's the same all the way thru. Tufnol is the UK trademark for the material, it has various other names in other countries. It's also closely related to Bakelite.

Anyway, it's a great looking cam cleat, but - IMHO - has two problems:

1) It traps the sheet, as it goes thru the ring. Meaning that loosing the sheet may take a second or so longer than being in an "open" cleat, which can be critical in gusts. Likewise, it makes hand-holding the sheet awkward if you are at angle to the ring. I'm sure it's not TOO bad, but I just don't like anything between me and the jib-block when I'm hand-holding the sheet.

2) As you've found out, the single cam cleat against a post arrangement just doesn't have enough grip for a really taut sheet. I'm using mine to hold my spinnaker downhaul, and the other is a spare, at least for now. If you do want to use these for the jib sheets, a suggestion - rough up the inside of the "post" that the cam closed against. And do use a ratchet block on the jib! Helps keep loads reasonable.

Fair winds!
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby GreenLake » Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:05 am

Looking at the pictures, it looks like my boat never had these. Judging from the way their brackets are riveted to the wooden thwarts. Mine to not have rivet holes, so unless some PO did a wholesale replacement of the thwarts (unlikely) they had some different hardware on my boat. Have no idea what, of course.

I'm with Tom, on the skeptical side of jib cleats with fairleads like that, but with slightly different reasoning. One, it's not so much that release is slower, but that the sheet can "self-cleat" when you don't intend it to. Could be that that is more common with designs that have two opposing cams, vs. this cam & post configuration. The other is that I often sail with crew that needs assistance. With a fairlead, your jib can be controlled only from the side opposite, while without you can rip the sheet free and grab it anywhere along its length for an adjustment.

My jib sheets are tied together, so I can never grab the wrong end - I may have to hand over hand the part I grabbed, but eventually I get the jib under control - and from any seating position.

The one advantage of these fairleads is if you do sit opposite on the deck, hiking out, it is easier to cleat the sheet. (Mine may require a foot to get the right angle . . .)

Anyway, these are lovely old pieces of hardware and all the more power to you if you can get them to work. You may also want to experiment a bit, some types of rope are grippier than others, so a change in jib sheet material may also help.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby tomodda » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:37 am

I just realized that Docbik's cleats are built onto integrate "U-mounts" over the CB turnk. Mine are on their own flat plates and can be reused elsewhere, these can't. Huh, that being the case, you may as well try using 'em on the jib sheets. As GL suggested, try getting rope that is a bit grippier and maybe oversized (1/2 inch or so) to jam into the cleats better. I use Samson XLS, for what it's worth. Robline is nice too, all depends on what prices you can find. If you are on the east coast, I highly recommend R&W Rope, West Coast, Fisheries Supply. Either will answer your phone call with very knowledgeable and patient people.
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby docbick » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:04 am

tomodda wrote:Hi Docbik! Welcome to the forums. I have the same cam cleats, as far as I know they are original from the '60's. MIne were kindly donated to me by another local DaySailOr and needed some refurbishing. What I did: Took them apart (as you have), and cleaned everything with a toothbrush and a bath in dish soap and water. Then I gently filed the teeth (with a standard bar file) to give it some grip. A bit of WD-40 on the spring and I put it all back together. Then I wiped down the tufnol material with a bit of wood oil (Penofin, my favorite) to restore some color,back to brown. That's it, they now look great and are ready for their second life. Tufnol, as GreenLake explained, is a mix of cotton? fiber and phenolic resin, it's the same all the way thru. Tufnol is the UK trademark for the material, it has various other names in other countries. It's also closely related to Bakelite.

Anyway, it's a great looking cam cleat, but - IMHO - has two problems:

1) It traps the sheet, as it goes thru the ring. Meaning that loosing the sheet may take a second or so longer than being in an "open" cleat, which can be critical in gusts. Likewise, it makes hand-holding the sheet awkward if you are at angle to the ring. I'm sure it's not TOO bad, but I just don't like anything between me and the jib-block when I'm hand-holding the sheet.

2) As you've found out, the single cam cleat against a post arrangement just doesn't have enough grip for a really taut sheet. I'm using mine to hold my spinnaker downhaul, and the other is a spare, at least for now. If you do want to use these for the jib sheets, a suggestion - rough up the inside of the "post" that the cam closed against. And do use a ratchet block on the jib! Helps keep loads reasonable.

Fair winds!



Thanks tomodda! And there is me, fresh off the boat, as it were, from the UK having moved to Canada last year and I didn't recognise Tufnol.

I appreciate the tips. I think I have nothing to lose by experimenting with refurb and I hadn't tried a ratchet block on the jib sheet either.

On the handful of times I got out before the weather turned cold on Lake Ontario I was only tacking through about 145 degrees, if that, but it didn't matter because I was enjoying the new place and it was fun, but hoping to improve on that this year which will give me confidence to venture further from my home port.
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby docbick » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:10 am

GreenLake wrote:Looking at the pictures, it looks like my boat never had these. Judging from the way their brackets are riveted to the wooden thwarts. Mine to not have rivet holes, so unless some PO did a wholesale replacement of the thwarts (unlikely) they had some different hardware on my boat. Have no idea what, of course.

I'm with Tom, on the skeptical side of jib cleats with fairleads like that, but with slightly different reasoning. One, it's not so much that release is slower, but that the sheet can "self-cleat" when you don't intend it to. Could be that that is more common with designs that have two opposing cams, vs. this cam & post configuration. The other is that I often sail with crew that needs assistance. With a fairlead, your jib can be controlled only from the side opposite, while without you can rip the sheet free and grab it anywhere along its length for an adjustment.

My jib sheets are tied together, so I can never grab the wrong end - I may have to hand over hand the part I grabbed, but eventually I get the jib under control - and from any seating position.

The one advantage of these fairleads is if you do sit opposite on the deck, hiking out, it is easier to cleat the sheet. (Mine may require a foot to get the right angle . . .)

Anyway, these are lovely old pieces of hardware and all the more power to you if you can get them to work. You may also want to experiment a bit, some types of rope are grippier than others, so a change in jib sheet material may also help.



I think you are right about the jib sheets too, Green Lake. I'm not going to say that they are 50 years old as well, but they're certainly rather smooth. Looking forward to getting on the water and testing some of this out. However, up here there's still a few weeks before we can get out there. I appreciate all this advice in the meantime.
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby GreenLake » Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:19 pm

About tacking angles: 145 sounds a bit much, although my GPS tracks tell me that my sometimes my angles are larger than other times. Many years ago I sailed with friend in another boat following me, and afterwards he asked me why I was sailing 15 degrees off the wind. Best explanation I have is that the DS appears well-trimmed at that angle and can fool you into thinking that you are going close hauled, if you are not paying attention. I may have had the original sails at the time, unbelievable as that sounds.

Good luck having everything sorted before the start of the season and let's hope there aren't any other obstacles to you getting out on the water.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby docbick » Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:07 pm

For some reason, I can only get these photos to upload in reverse order, so from the bottom up:

1) I cleaned the cleats with some warm water and washing up liquid.

2) Then I tried to sharpen the teeth and deepen the gaps between them used a powered multitool ('Dremel') with a fine-grit circular sandpaper attachment at no more than medium speed.

3) In the last photo, the cleat at the bottom has been sanded and the top one hasn't yet. Am I deluding myself to think the teeth are sharpened enough to make a difference? Time will tell....
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby GreenLake » Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:22 pm

Looks pretty good. I would have used a file, not a dremel, but looks like you have that under control.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby kokko » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:28 pm

I have the original tufnol cams, but instead of sharpening the teeth on the cam, I put a piece of rubber tubing over the ss post.
DS1 Truelove
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Re: Cam cleats for the jib sheets - anyone recognise these?

Postby tomodda » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:30 pm

@koko: What a great idea! Thank you, I was wondering how I could put my pair of single-cam cleats back into service, this might do it.
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