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Preventing jib sheets snagging on mid-ship cleats

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What is the issue?
Mid-ship cleats are excellent for securing a vessel when alongside. But once under sail, they tend to snag the jib sheet causing a tack failure.

Why address this?
A fouled jib sheet is more than just annoying. A snagged jib sheet holds the sail to windward and will transform a tack into hove-to, stopping the vessel dead in the water. This is more than embarrassing for those who take pride in their sailing skills and could lead to a potentially dangerous situation when navigating in restricted waters.

How to address this?
Make covers for the mid-ship cleat horns and cover them whilst under sail. These can be accomplished by taking a standard 40mm PVC drain pipe, available in any household hardware outlet or indeed an off-cut that you may already have to hand.

Simple low cost cleat covers
Image: Tony Gibson

Cut a pair of pipe cylinders to the full height of the deck cleats and then cut out an inner section to allow them to slide in and under the cleats horns until they nest snugly in as shown above. Then run a retaining shock cord loop through a set of holes to hold the pair in place.

With these snapped onto the cleat there is no possibility of the jib sheet snagging underneath the cleat. They may also be very easily removed when the vessel is coming alongside. The extra covers also make the cleats slightly more prominent which also helps prevent one stubbing ones toe on them, something I have a personal penchant for.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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