Panbo

Good gear: Moonlite rail cleats & V-Lock mount system

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 28, 2010
Moonlite_rail_cleat_cPanbo.JPG

Today I added a new Panbo category for gear I try which is not electronics related, but which is good enough that you might want to know about it.  Like the Moonlite Marine rail cleat above.  I'd never seen one in the aluminum and stainless flesh before taking a $20 chance online, but now I think they're well-designed and built, and darn effective...

As you can somewhat make out in the photo, two machine screws hold the black anodized cleat to the stainless band, and then two set screws tension the cleat against the rail or post...clean and solid.  Gizmo now has three starboard fender cleats placed where they'll minimize strain on the rail bases but also keep line wear off the already abused teak toe rail, and a couple more Moonlite's handling dinghy boom vang lines on the bridge.  (Isn't it funny how ex-sailors like me find ways to expand and improve string handling on power boats.)

Now check out the neat new V-Lock mount system below, which I first noticed in a Panbo ad, of all places (thanks to my deal with Mad Mariner, the ads are as much a surprise to me as to you all).  The photo shows a blank insert in the V-Lock, but I drilled and bolted another one to a Magma "economy" grill (another piece of good gear, so far), and the combination is, again, clean and solid.  In fact, a vise mounted on this blank insert would take all sorts of work strain (especially if I reinstalled the stainless lock pin V-Lock includes and found the extra-long bolt I need to finish the fastening job). 
   Meanwhile, I've installed another V-Lock in a cockpit locker, so I can stow the grill securely, and I'm thinking of putting a couple on the flying bridge because it would be nice to have some fire up there sometimes, and this system is so strong it might serve for testing a sizable multifunction display.  Lots of boat objects seem V-Lockable.  And while $49 for a single insert/lock pair seems a tad high, the quantity breaks are good, and there's also a 15% discount with the code "MadMariner", at least while the ad runs, I guess.  Now, if I can just find a magic product that would make Gizmo's exterior woodwork less embarrassing without manual labor, I'll be all set.

V-Lock_mount_system_cPanbo.JPG

Comments

What is the proper use of the eye on those style cleats. It's never been clear to me.

Posted by: Patrick - sv Deep Playa at June 28, 2010 3:42 PM | Reply

Good question, Patrick. I favor "what works" over "proper" and there seem to be several possibilities here. You can ignore the eye altogether, which is quicker, but your line will partially bear on the ss strap, which could cause premature wear. (Fender lines, like many others, can wear shockingly fast in rough conditions.)

First running the working part of the line through the eye gives the most stressed part a nice bearing but means you'll then find yourself taking it in odd directions to lock it down. You can also use the eye with a stopper knot -- or bowline in lighter line -- so the bitter end is captured and can't go aloft or over board. I'm still in learning mode, but I think I like the eye.

Posted by: Ben at June 28, 2010 5:55 PM | Reply

The "eye" is for a flag halyard. You run the looped line through the eye and then you never lose the end and the flag can be raised or lowered with the line passing through the eye. I have used these little cleats before and they work pretty well. Just be aware that they can slip over time and you should check there tightness occasionally. I used a small piece of bicycle inner tube to line the railing and this helped prevent spinning and other slippage.

Posted by: ArnieH at June 29, 2010 10:42 AM | Reply

Dear Ben, there is a railing cleat of Barton for many years on the market. Barton also has a stay cleat with the V shape. Much cheaper as the one you have mentioned. Best regards, Reinier

Posted by: Reinier Zwolsman at June 30, 2010 7:37 AM | Reply

Thanks, Reinier. The Barton looks interesting, but a less elegant design, I think. Also, I'm not sure it would cheaper here in the U.S. as it may have to be imported:

http://www.bartonmarine.com/html/special_cleats.htm

Posted by: Ben at July 2, 2010 7:40 AM | Reply

Those V-Link brackets look great but how big are they and how strong would they be? Why did you remove the SS Lock Pin included with the V-Link, was it too hard to operate?

Posted by: Colin at July 4, 2010 8:58 AM | Reply

Colin, from the V-Lock FAQ:

"The V-Lock base is 4" across at that top, 3 1/2" height and 3/4" thick. The surface of the insert to which you attach your application is 4" square."

I don't see any estimate of breaking strength but I'd guess the weakest factor in most installations will be the backing plate or washer area for the four fasteners.

The lock pin works just fine, but it was awkward for me to release it and pull the grill up at the same time. I couldn't imagine any scenario where the grill would pop out by itself, so I removed the pin assembly, which just unscrews.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Colin at July 4, 2010 10:43 AM | Reply

A Camden friend just showed some V-Lock love by submitting a photo showing how a couple of sets are used on his trimaran.

Posted by: Ben at December 12, 2011 5:24 AM | Reply

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