Cleat Terminology – Sailing Psych

This week the hearty crew at Sailing Pysch gave us a brief breakdown containing some of the common terminology used to describe cleats. Warning the experienced sailors might find this one a tad on the boring side!
Let's talk about securing our lines!
  • You folks should remember some lines attach to sails to raise them (halyards)?
  • Some attach to sails to trim/shape them (sheets)
  • Some attach to various other things (like the dock to keep our boat from floating away!
But what about the other end?
How do we secure that line?  Well that is the functions of CLEATS. Notably, cleats have many names, but we'll share the names Sailing Pysch learned first.

Table of Contents

Horn Cleat

You wrap your line around this to hold it fast. This particular knot goes by the name of CLEAT HITCH, which does a great job when using this device. It holds the load of the line, but is also easy to untie! There are plenty of videos out there, but maybe we'll demonstrate it one of these days. The below picture shows one of our dock lines. Notice the loop on one end. This is so it can feed through, then over the horn cleat on this end and then use a "full" cleat hitch to the horn cleat on the dock.
Horn Cleat

Cam Cleat

We use these for headsail sheets (also used for roller furler line, main sheet, the line operating my swing keel, and to lock the rudder in place. These have one directional springs, so we can pull a line back through the teeth and the cleat "bites" the line not allowing it to move forward again. All you have to do to get the cleat to let go of the line is to lift up! Simple and brilliant!
Cam Cleat

Jammer Cleat

Another simply design, when the lever is down (as is shown in the photograph), it clamps the line in place. If we lift the lever up and forward (a full 180°) it lets go of the line. These are the only two jammer cleats on our yacht New Beginnings, they are used on our mainsail halyard and the headsail halyard.
Horn Cleat
Something to keep in mind folks...CLEAT can also be a verb! "Ahoy Shipmate...please cleat that line off!" Then it's just a matter of cleating
to the correct cleat.
Fair winds, following seas, and don't forget to FIND YOUR SAILBOAT!
~Cap'n Doc - Sailing Pysch

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