Please select your home edition
Edition app (top)

Harken Product Focus: The Cam-Cleat

by Alice Markham, Harken UK 11 Dec 2018 12:00 GMT
Harken Cam-Cleat © Harken

With such a huge range of hardware out there, the Harken Tech Team would like to help untangle the different options available. Every month we will be producing a product focus article, giving advice on how to pick the right hardware for the job.

This month, we're focusing on cam cleats: whilst often overlooked, it is actually very important to have the right cleat for the job! Using the wrong cleats can result in imprecise sail trim and lines slipping or not un-cleating.

FUN FACT: There are twelve standard Cam-Matic cleats (150) on an AC45, some of which are used alongside X-Treme Angle Fairleads (375), for controlling the wing, gennaker and dagger-boards.

What makes Harken cleats work so well?

There are a few elements of the Harken design that differ from other cleats on the market:

  • Firstly, it is the only cleat with three tiers of bearings which ensures a very stable but still low friction cam. As a result of the high-efficiency bearing system, a less powerful spring is required to engage the cam.

  • The design of the teeth and shape of the cams are also unique: the cam shape means that regardless of the rope diameter or the angle the rope is pulled through the cleat, the same number of teeth on each cam will engage, which gives a very effective grip of the rope with no slip. The top of the cam is a V-shape to guide the rope into the cam.
It is easy to see just a cleat, but when all the small details of the design are brought together, the result is a cleat which engages with minimal line load – which is great in light winds, particularly for accurate sail trim – but also engages and releases brilliantly when you have maximum line load.

Most importantly, the line does not have to be moving to engage the cams: even with light line load the sheet can be lowered into the cam and the cleat opens and engages. In short, you are able to put the rope into the cleat exactly where you want it to be cleated, and un-cleat without compromising sail trim.

How do you decide which cleats and which accessories to use?

There are two different ranges of cleats in the Standard and Micro sizes:

  • Carbo-Cams (Micro 471, Standard 365) are made of the same fibre-reinforced, UV-stabilised composite as our Carbo blocks, which is very light-weight. These cleats are ideal for control lines.

  • The aluminium Cam-Matic cleats (Micro 468, Standard 150) are the best choice for higher loads and faster line speeds, meaning they work well for the spinnaker halyard and jib and spinnaker sheets, as well as the control lines which are constantly adjusted, like the kicker.

The accessories you need depends upon how the line will enter and exit the cleat:

  • If the line is entering from above the height of the cleat or not from directly behind the cleat, a wire fairlead (Micro 475, Standard 298) can be used to align the entry angle of the rope.

  • If your sheeting position in the boat relative to the cleat is not directly in line then an X-Treme Angle Fairlead (Micro 476, Standard 375) can be used to align the rope with the centre of the cams.

There is a huge variety of accessories available to set the height and alignment of the cleat to get the best performance, including wedges, risers and fairleads. If you are unsure which to use, the Tech Team at Harken UK are happy to provide advice!

TOP TIP: Do not overtighten your screws when fitting your cleats as this may crush the ball bearings and stop the cam of the cleat from moving freely. The rule of thumb for installation is to tighten the screw until the cam doesn't move freely, and then ease it off slightly. You should be about there!

Maintenance: Harken hardware is designed to work in harsh conditions with minimum maintenance. The materials selected were chosen because of their ability to perform in a salt water environment over a long period of time, and are also UV stabilised. Just make sure you wash every cleat with fresh water after sailing on the sea to prevent a build up of salt and grit within the cleat.

Related Articles

15% off Winches, 10% off Furlers at Harken UK
Offers running in line with Southampton International Boat Show This autumn, Harken UK is offering discount on furlers and winches for a limited time only! These offers run in line with Southampton International Boat Show, which takes place at Mayflower Park from 10-19 September. Posted on 3 Sep
Harken UK's Cowes Week Regatta Support
Drop off service in Lymington, Hamble and Southampton for parts and equipment With the countdown on to Cowes Week, the Harken UK team is determined to do all we can to help customers stay out on the water and enjoy their sailing. Posted on 28 Jul
Harken Product Focus: MKIV Ocean Furler
Designed and manufactured specifically for cruising sailors Furlers have come a long way in recent years, driven by their uptake in racing as technology allowed them to be used in a greater range of wind angles and conditions. Harken have been at the forefront of this uptake. Posted on 28 May
Harken UK Job Opportunity: Marine Account Manager
Harken are looking for an experienced account manager to join the team This position will suit someone who has a couple of years sales experience in the marine industry and is looking to take the next step in their career. Posted on 10 May
Winning the Y88 Nats a family day out for Barkers
Dean Barker put together a crew that included yachting icons and his daughter to win the Y88 Nats. Last weekend's Harken Young eight8 Nationals followed hot on the heels of the Southern Champs held in Lyttleton a week prior. Both events featured a quality fleet of fifteen boats, challenging conditions, and world class talent. Posted on 21 Apr
Gizmos: Harken's growing line of rigging solutions
Engineered soft-attach terminations and through-deck pieces Harken now offers Gizmos, a growing line of engineered soft-attach terminations and through-deck pieces. Gizmos acknowledge riggers' desires to minimize weight and eliminate as much heavy metal as possible. Posted on 20 Apr
Harken Product Focus: The CLR Winch
An uncluttered deck is the goal of every yacht owner and boat captain An uncluttered deck is the goal of every yacht owner and boat captain, and Harken are constantly innovating to help them achieve that goal. The CLR Winch provides a new option for yacht architects to maintain form without compromising on function. Posted on 16 Mar
The Vendée Globe: Out there all alone
With 2,000,000 people hanging on your every gybe There's nothing like following this race in France. The distance is estimated at 40,075 kilometers or 21,638 miles. In reality, during the seven previous editions of the race, competitors have sometimes covered more than 52,000 kilometers (28,000 miles)! Posted on 1 Nov 2020
Peter Harken: "Winning is in the details"
So much of the AC75 rigging is below deck-level that we usually can't see what's rigged where I was looking at some photos a couple days ago, taken by American Magic at speed aboard "Defiant," their first AC75 boat they've shipped to Auckland. It's sailing on the same race courses that will be used in the America's Cup match next March. Posted on 2 Oct 2020
Harken US Sailboat Show press briefing
Harken is excited about keeping our annual tradition alive Harken is excited about keeping our annual tradition alive by holding a press briefing the opening morning of what would have been the United States Sailboat Show on Thursday, October 8. Posted on 1 Oct 2020