Where is The Best Place to Fit Cleats on a Small Sailing Boat?

Having recently replace the gunwales on The Lune Pilot it came time today to fit the cleats. This prompted the question of where is the best place to fit them? Well the starting point is to consider what the purpose of having them is in the first place. Well I use them for tying off the mooring lines, for lashing on fenders and for securing the “cargo”. Its an open sailing boat and so there is no “safe” place inside for bags of clothing, food and essential items you never use but might.

I plumped therefore to place a pair of cleats either side towards the stern 600mm up from the transom. These are pimarily for mooring lines and springs which of course are fed out through open fairleads on the transom. I then fixed a pair amidships each side 200mm back from the rowlocks. These are primarily for fenders and for securing “cargo” but can also be used for temporary mooring off to pontoons. I next fixed a small pair to the leading edge of the forward thwart because forward of this thwart I stow things I carry every trip (honest) – spare life jackets, bucket, anchor, chain and warp, small tool box and wet gear. These will be used to secure all this clobber (such respect) into the bows of the boat.

There used to be a pair of cleats up front about 500mm aft of the bow. I have decided I don’t need these. Firstly, there is a very strong samson post which is much the better securing point for most things and secondly, the jib sheets can from time to time snag round these cleats when tacking so if they are not there then they won’t be a problem. Forward fenders can be tied off to the new cleats on the forward thwart.

Finally, and this one is really important, I placed a very small cleat starboard side under the gunwale just aft of the mast. This is for tying off the courtesy flag. That’s important isn’t it – flag etiquette?

Lune Pilot Thumb

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